31 Jan

4 things to consider before searching for new software

A guide so you can understand what you need before starting your software search.
Bernardo Borges
min read

What to consider before searching for new software?

When it comes to new software, it is rarely a small investment (with both time and money). This makes it crucial for companies to go in armed with as much information as possible. Let's explore what your team will need before beginning the search for your new software.

To begin, the first piece is understanding what you are looking for. Gather all necessary requirements, information, and wish list items from all stakeholders - whether that’s individuals, departments, customers, or anyone else that may have some interaction with the new software.

This information will help you make an informed decision and ensure that the software chosen is the best fit for the company's needs, which in turn can lead to increased efficiency, productivity, optimization and cost savings.

This involves identifying the following:

  • Specific business problems or challenges that the software will need to address
  • Specific features or functionality that are required to address the challenges
  • Key stakeholders that will be involved in the search and use of the software
  • Budget allotted for the software

Identifying these pieces will allow a clear understanding of the goals for the new software and ensure that the chosen software delivers value while addressing the problem at the core.

4 Things to Consider Before Buying New Software - People looking in computer

What business problem or challenge are you looking to solve?

A mistake that people often make is searching for software that solves the surface problem, but does not delve into solving core issues or challenges that stem from it.

For example, if you are looking to solve the challenge of your sales team tracking their expenses, you should be digging deeper and asking about what they are succeeding and struggling with using the current system. Are they tracking correctly using hardcopy receipts and filling out a form, or are they missing receipts and only filling in half of the information? If the challenge is that the sales team is not properly tracking at all, then simply switching to a digital expense tracking system may not be the right solution.

To gain a better understanding of the root of the problem, think about what the catalyst was for finding the solution. Was it a one time team complaint about the system? Was it a year of A/B testing? Was it repeated customer complaints? The catalyst can help you trace the root of the problem to understand how deep the problem runs and what it impacts. This clarity will help you identify a solution that will solve it at the root.

4 Things to Consider Before Buying New Software - Person Talking in a Meeting about Needed Software

What specific functions and features do you need?

If we take our previous example about digital expense tracking, you would map out all of the functions you require for your sales team, your accounting team, and anyone else that may be involved. If you’re in a heavily regulated industry, you may need customization to add in detailed information about the expense and link to a specific customer. If your team has company credit cards, you may want the option to link directly to the card and simply add in details to the charges.

Whatever your requirements are, it’s important to have a clear outline of what you need. Put together a list of non-negotiable functions and features, along with a list of nice-to-have functions and features. This will help you look for software that fits your needs, rather than adapting your needs to what software is available.

Who's involved?

It’s no secret that getting buy-in from the right people can make or break the adoption of a new software. Before you dive into researching the right software solution, it’s crucial to know your stakeholders and understand their goals.

It’s important to speak with key stakeholders from various departments such as:

  • The department that will primarily be using the software (e.g. sales, finance, human resources)
  • IT/IS (Information Technology/Information Systems)
  • Operations
  • Management
  • Any external stakeholders who will be impacted by or interacting with the software.

Once you identify the right people, you’ll have better parameters for your search and better adoption.

4 Things to Consider Before Buying New Software - Person drawing a prototype for a new software

The search

Once you have answers to those three questions, you can start researching potential software options. This can involve looking at vendor websites, reading product reviews, and talking to other companies who have implemented similar software. Familiarizing yourself with potential options for solutions allows you to make an educated decision on the type of software that will be right for your team.

How can we help?

When you work with The Virtual Forge, you work with a global team of experts that is dedicated to helping you hit your business objectives.

Our team works with a wide range of clients and across varying industries to deliver custom software solutions across the board. With over a decade of experience in industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical, retail, finance, and more, our team understands the complexities of each sector and how to navigate them. Building on our expertise, we are always learning and staying up to date with current certifications, trends, and requirements within the industry - always reaching out to provide the highest quality services to our clients. If you are looking for a team of experts to develop custom software for your business or consult on software solutions, our team of software development experts is here to help!

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