In the past, companies either needed to develop an in-house software solution or hire a company to build it for them. Now, with so many services and platforms readily available, you can take care of virtually anything — communication, accounting, HR.
But all those pros come with one glaring con: When there are countless options available, how do you know you’re choosing the right software solution?
For a lot of companies, it’s trial and error. But committing to the wrong vendor is a lot like making the wrong hire. You’re not just spending money on it — you’re also investing precious time and energy to implement it. If it doesn’t work out in the long run, that’s a lot of wasted resources.
In order to mitigate the possibilities of that scenario. Peter Swaniker, a Forbes Council member, gives you three questions that will help you to choose the right software for your company.
- What specific capabilities are you looking for?
Unfortunately, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution is not custom-made for your company. As a result, an outsourced vendor will likely never be 100% perfect.
Still, your success as a startup depends on the right platforms. Research your options, and really think through the decision. Make an attempt to get as close to 100% as possible.
The biggest mistake people make is allowing themselves to be dazzled by a sales demo. I’ve made this mistake myself. The service does so many useful things, and it’s laid out and presented in such an eye-catching way, but when you actually look under the hood, you realise it doesn’t do the things you need.
Simple, make a list of the non-negotiable capabilities and the ones you would love to acquire. Yes, it may be intuitive and pretty, but if the functionality isn’t there, it’s a waste of time and money. Comparing the software against those selected capabilities will make the journey easier, and it will identify which of them is adding the best value.
- Can you try it before you buy it?
When I founded my startup, we used outside vendors for just about everything. Throughout the growth process, I’ve learned that a firsthand trial really is the best test. But a trial is different than full-on implementation.
So many companies will attempt to sucker you into a lengthy contract. They’ll give you a 25% discount if you just commit to two years. But you’ll know whether or not the service works for you within a few months, and if it doesn’t, you’re stuck with it for 20 more.
A better way to proceed is to ask for the option to cancel within the first few months. For example, you can commit to a two-year contract but with the option to cancel within the first three months. This gives you the ability to really try out the software and to ensure it works for your team because until your team is working with the service directly, it’s difficult to know if it’s a good fit.
For situations in which a trial isn’t possible, reframe the sales demo to meet your needs. Tell the demonstrator, “Here’s a problem my company regularly encounters,” and then ask, “Can this service take care of that? How? Show me.” It will show you whether the company is willing to work with you to fix problems.
At CGA Technology, we offer a four week trial period where the customer can choose the modules of their preference to try. Additionally, Flex Manager allows actual clients to walk away at any time; a month of notice is all they need. That just shows you how much we believe in our performance that it is no needed for us to tie up our customers.
- What sorts of services, beyond the product, does the vendor provide?
A functional, well-suited service is only half the battle. Once you implement a SaaS solution into your company’s tech stack, it becomes essential to your everyday workflow.
Your relationship with the vendor shouldn’t stop once the sale is made. When you’re paying for a subscription service, you’re paying for ongoing quality. If you run into issues down the line, you should have support.
But unfortunately, a lot of vendors fall short in this area.
Look into a company’s customer support and reputation before you commit. Are they known for implementing feedback from their users? Do they perform regular updates and take care of problems within a reasonable amount of time? If you need to communicate with the company, are you talking to a real person or a chatbot?
These are all important questions, and the answers could make or break your experience with the product.
When you outsource services, you free up the time and energy you need to focus on your company’s core purpose. That said, even though these services are secondary to your mission, they should never be an afterthought.
80% of our quarter releases are based on our clients’ suggestions. An Account Manager will be assigned to the client; in that way, they can have direct contact if they need clarification or raise any issue. Last but not least, Flex Manager is known for our reputation as most of our clients come to us as a referral.
The wrong software solutions slow your progress, while the right ones keep you aligned with your True North.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions.
Swaniker, P. (n.d.). Council Post: How To Choose The Right Software Solution For Your Startup. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/11/01/how-to-choose-the-right-software-solution-for-your-startup/#38b92aec2a6f [Accessed 8 Sep. 2020].