Business management software is one of the best investments your small or mid-sized company will make – but only if you find a comprehensive solution that works for you. When you're on the hunt for business management solutions, it's difficult to find the software that meets your needs without breaking your budget. Ask these four questions of potential software vendors before you decide to invest in your next solution.
1. How flexible is the cost of your solution?
Business management software is a big investment. The ROI of an effective system is indeed robust (the operative word is effective), but the cost is still a burden for small and mid-sized businesses with tight budgets.
On-premise software vendors need to be upfront with you about the cost of the system. This includes hardware purchasing, equipment setup, software license fees and upgrade costs.
Cloud software eliminates the need for any hardware or equipment, because the system is hosted remotely. You don't need to buy the software licenses, either – you pay the software provider for usage. Cloud software is also typically available through a subscription plan, making it much easier to plan for the cost in your budget forecasting.
2. How satisfied are your clients with your service and software?
Reading customer reviews is a smart way to determine whether a software provider is as great as it claims to be. But it's not always possible to accurately judge others' interactions with a company or the business management software they use.
When companies have positive feedback from their clients, they have no hesitation in sharing it. Ask your potential software vendors for client feedback and reviews on their products – the response you get (or don't get) may be enough to send you looking for another provider.
3. What's included in your delivery and setup processes?
For most software vendors, ERP implementation is a serious hassle. It requires months of downtime and severely impinges on business productivity.
Business management software is designed to improve your company's performance, streamline your processes and boost productivity. While it's true that a system overhaul always comes with some degree of challenge, you shouldn't have to endure endless downtime and hindered productivity just to reach a solution. You need to see improvements soon without suffering in the meantime.
Make sure you ask your software provider what system setup entails. This way, you know what to expect, you avoid scope creep and you uncover any hidden fees that impact your final cost.
4. Who is responsible for software upgrades and system updates?
Business management software is always being tweaked, updated and upgraded. Software updates are expensive – both cost-wise and productivity-wise. You have to pay for the new version of software, and in order to install the updates, you need to shut your system down.
When choosing between software vendors, ask who is responsible for maintaining the servers, updating the system and installing software updates. Make sure these processes are performed regularly, and try to determine a set schedule in advance. Then, you know when the updates will be installed (and whether they'll interfere with your operations during installation) and you know you're getting the updates you were promised (once the system is in place).
The benefits of business management software are well-documented, but choosing the right software provider impacts how robust those advantages are and how quickly you attain them.
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