Deciding Software: How to Choose the Best Solution for Your Business
You want to use the best software for your work—everyone does. Whether you’re a small concrete manufacturer in upstate NY or a Printed Circuit Board material supplier in Arizona, well-made better business tools make your work more efficient, drive productivity and more fun.
But how do you decide on the best software to use—and how do you define “best”, anyhow? In the Marketing and Technology landscape alone there are 7,040 companies alone
Woah that’s a lot of companies
There are more email, CRM, and project management apps than you could ever test on your own. Ask your friends and colleagues, and each one will recommend a different tool.
If you need a hammer, it’s pretty easy to find a nice one. But software is more subjective: the best tool for you may not be the best for someone else.
So how do today’s best companies choose their software stack? As Business Solutions expert for Global Cloud Solutions, we work hand in hand with many companies and have in depth knowledge about what makes their successful companies tick. Here are the ten things we’ve learned from them about how they select software as better business tools and use it to help their teams work more efficiently.
How to Decide on the Best Software:
- Focus on Your Business
- Analyze Your Needs
- Do Research
- Don’t Scrimp
- Ask for Help
- Customize Apps for Your Needs
- Integrate Everything
- Get Everyone Onboard
- Share Your Favorite Software
1. Focus on Your Business
When evaluating any software be careful of the bells and whistles. In the sales world these days, there’s a lot of shovel salesmen– pushing tech and tools that buzz and ding but… for the typical customer like you…. not really much else.
Not to sound like a fuddy-duddy — I like new advances as much as the next guy– but ask yourself: is this new whiz-bang contraption that’s supposed to turn your business on its ear really so great?
How could it be?
Because if it is, wouldn’t everyone have it… and all their revenue problems be gone?
Or are they just shifting the proverbial deck chairs?
What I see are a whole lot of newly-unpacked shovels— and a whole lot of empty holes.
No, you don’t need to send more emails faster– you need to send better ones.
No, you probably don’t need a “power dialer” — not if you don’t use the standard issue one you already have (and you probably don’t.)
No, you most definitely do need “predictive” ANYTHING– no one does!
You need to THINK… because thinking is in short supply these days.
Remember– that which is scarce and useful is valuable by its very definition.
To be clear, the shovel salesmen aren’t bad and the shovels aren’t necessarily worthless.
They are, however, decidedly insufficient providers of solutions to your problems.
Stake the claim first, work your hands to the nub, THEN buy the shovel to do what you couldn’t do on your own.
The fastest way to poverty is to attempt to do that in reverse.
Because then the shovel salesmen are the only ones getting rich.
Takeaway: Software are only tools to help you get stuff done. Try to make do with what you have for as long as you have, and only invest in a software solutions when you really need them.
2. Analyze Your Needs
So, once you’re ready to shop for tools, proceed with caution. Make do with Gmail, Google Docs, and other lightweight or homegrown solutions (*cough* excel) until you have identified your pain points and the real needs of your team. You might not need new software just yet.
Before you even Google ‘How to Decide on Software to Use’ and invest in a tech stack that seem shiny and cool, take a hard look at your existing processes and workflows, and consider which tools specifically match them. Don’t look at features, look at workflows. Workflows are what you are going to have to live with. Features are just bullet points. That will be the difference between being satisfied in a year or looking for another tool in a year.
Takeaway: Seems obvious but worth repeating. Don’t pick a software solution so you can keep up with the Jones and choose to use Salesforce because everyone else is doing it, figure out what you need from a tool, then research for a solution that fits those needs.
3. Do Research
So you’re ready to shop for tools—exciting! But finding tools isn’t about ratings and what’s hot and buzzy. Instead, it’s about identifying the tools most suitable for your team, goals, and workflows.
A simple option is to find out what companies like yours are using. That feedback will be the most objective and relevant to your team, making the tools most likely to do what you need.
So ask around. If you’re interested in a no hassle exploratory call, contact us today. Global Cloud Solutions wants to help you with your decision making process.
Doing your research upfront will help you avoid the time-sink of switching solutions down the road.
Take your time. Make sure that the solution you choose addresses your specific needs and provides value over the longest period of time.
Takeaway: Don’t settle for the first solution you find—read reviews and ask for recommendations to make sure you’ve picked a great tool.
4. Don’t Scrimp
There are plenty of cheap or free options to get started with, from fully free apps like Google Docs to apps with generous free tiers like MailChimp. Just keep in mind at some point, you will hit a roadblock. Not only by the limit of the freemium model, but you will realize your process needs a solution that will future proof ( i.e. grow) with your company.
Consider cost, but pay for value. Focus on usability, integration capabilities and best-of-breed tools that will help you streamline your workflows and meet your goals.
Takeaway: Software can be expensive, but you have to adopt a comparison analysis to your decision making process. Compared to what? What is the opportunity cost for NOT investing a solution that fits your needs? What’s the most efficient way to invest in a solution that helps you do more, and can more than pay for itself over time.
5. Ask for Help
When you’re getting started with a new software solution, you’re bound to have questions and concerns. So ask. My job is not to sell you but help you determine the right questions to ask in your process and share my expertise in evaluating software to fit your needs. Just like your company, the software developers who make the tools you use want their products to work well for you. You will want to work with a developer that has a rapid product development cycle that allows for flexibility to make software work for you.
Takeaway: Companies want you to love their software, so ask for help when getting started.
6. Customize Solutions for Your Needs
We love hearing about companies who push tools to their limit, using them beyond their intended use case and often accomplishing multiple objectives with one platform. Salesforce’s incredible flexibility means you can modify it into just about anything you want.
Takeaway: Don’t worry about defaults and don’t fall for out of the box solutions—customize your software to fit the way you work.
7. Integrate Everything
We’re all about maximizing the value of the tools we build for businesses—and there’s no better way to get more out of your custom web application than to get them to work together with your existing systems. If you want to automate tasks, copy and paste less, and tweak tools to work the way you want, you’ll often need to connect them. Hook a spreadsheet with your CRM, then connect an email marketing app, and you’ll have your own marketing automation workflow without needing any new software.
“Every day, we just want to come in and focus on building solutions for our clients, so every point of friction along the way really hurts us. The efficiency of getting your tools and processes smoothly integrated really quickly is very important to us.”
Akshay Iyer- Global Cloud Solutions Lead Developer
Takeaway: Integrations can help connect the new software solution to everything else your team is using, to get more done faster.
8. Get Everyone Onboard
If your team won’t use the new solution, there’s no point in implementing it. Adoption is critical.
The way we build our custom web applications is critical. We start with the end user at the forefront of our development and we make sure our sprints provide an increment of value on a weekly basis.
Takeaway: Don’t just implement a new solution from a top down approach: make sure everyone on your team has input and allow for feedback from the people who will use the solution the most.
9. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
You might be using the same tool, but is everyone using it the same way?
Communicate about everything regarding your software choice. Tell your team why you chose to invest in this solution, what problem it solves, and how to use it effectively in your work. Perhaps make some internal documentation that teaches your team about how to use the solution, or work with us so we can provide training to make sure everyone’s on the same page with it.
Takeaway: Make sure everyone knows how to use the new tool—and what they should be using it for.
10. Share Your Favorite Software
Choosing software is an arduous, time-consuming process, involving countless hours of research, trial and error, and, inevitably, some failure. So share your experiences and objective feedback regarding these tools—either on a platform like G2Crowd, or more casually among friends.
When you’re running a business it feel like your entire life is a race against time. So anything that can help me be more efficient, save me time and find the best answer is much appreciated, and anything I can do to help other managers be more efficient I am more than happy to do.
Takeaway: Once you’ve found a solution that works for you, tell others about it to help them simplify the software discovery process.
Imran Battla is a Business Solutions concierge for Global Cloud Solutions. He is a certified Salesforce Administrator that is passionate about helping business maximize solutions that fit their process rather than being sold to by a shovel salesman.