It’s been said that an expert software partner can take moderately adequate software and make it work for a company.
Unfortunately, the converse is also true that an inexpert software partner can take a very solid software package and lead a project to failure. So what are important areas to look for when you are searching for a software partner to assist you with the selection of a new software system?
- Choose a partner who will take the time to understand your needs and thoroughly walk you through the software before you purchase. The selection of software should be about you and your business needs. You should expect your software partner to spend time understanding what’s important to you and showing you how the software will meet your needs in a detailed demonstration. Be sure it’s not a surface level demonstration that only shows the bells and whistles of the application.
- Determine if the partner has your best interest in mind. Are they truly trying to find a solution that works best for your business, or are they just trying to sell you their software package? There is no perfect software solution. In most cases you can expect to make some sacrifices on your “like to have” list. Your software partner should show you the positive features with their software, but perhaps even more importantly, inform you of limitations or areas that are not ideal for your business.
- Ask if the software partner has multiple staff available to support you, particularly in emergencies. How many consultants do they have on staff? Imagine it is 4:30 on a Friday and you have employees lined up at your door waiting for payroll checks. There are times it can be very important to work with a company that has multiple support resources available to you.
- Ask if the partner has the ability to customize the software. It can be very advantageous to work with a partner that has on staff expertise to tailor the software to your particular needs. It not only shows the partner is serious about supporting the application, it can help you get the most from your software investment by making sure it functions the way your company needs it to.
- Determine if the partner understands not only the technical capabilities of the software, but also the practical uses for your business. Can they explain it to you in English? To get the most from your software investment, you need a company that understands the software and most importantly how it can be applied in your particular business. They should be a resource for technical, accounting, payroll, distribution and manufacturing advice as it relates to the software implementation and support.