Editors Note: This is a guest blog post written by Col Levander, Managing Director of Rec Tech Solutions. His opinions are his own.
When it comes to IT, most business owners just want to know they’re using the right products. They want to feel secure, safe in the knowledge their chosen software is working as hard as they are to make their business a success.
But making the right choice isn’t always as easy as it seems.
Smooth talking super sales people are everywhere. Desperate to sell you the latest and greatest product. They don’t understand your business, and aren’t focused on your needs. So to avoid making a purchase you might regret later, here are the things you should focus on when purchasing software for your business.
Focus on your business’ needs
Start by having a good hard look at your business’ requirements – both now and into the future. As a potential software user ask yourself:
- What problems do I currently have and need to solve?
- What’s the financial impact of implementing specific solutions? i.e. What’s my ROI?
- What are my long term plans? Is the software in accordance with them?
- Keep in mind the latest super software solutions might not suit you – there’s nothing wrong with that! And in any case, if your focus is on finding practical solutions to your needs from the outset, you’re much less likely to be swayed by bells and whistles.
- Look for products automating processes and easing the administrative burden. Less key strokes = more time and more money. By leveraging automation, you’ll drive the human factors that really make your business tick!
- The easiest option isn’t always the best. A plug in and play solution might seem like the best short-term solution to your problems, but it might not serve you in the long-term. Your long-term needs are paramount and should be absolutely front of mind.
Once your needs analysis is complete, you can start thinking about the specifics of each offering.
Pre-sales support and information
Ensure you’re getting all the information you need to make a considered, practical choice. Gather your information from professionals who understand your industry and are focused on finding a solution that suits your needs (not just a quick sale).
Consider web-based versus client-server desk top solutions and customised solutions versus standardised solutions (e.g. you may want to consider a recruitment management system versus an applicant tracking systems. Each will have their pros and cons, and a quality salesperson will guide you through your options.
And remember to consider the architecture in which the system is built. It must have the capability to integrate with your middle and back office software, as well as other software products aimed at helping your business reach maximum efficiency.
Implementation – Pre-emptive strikes
When you’re purchasing new software, implementation must be quick and easy. Consider time frames, user friendliness and adaptability. You shouldn’t have to tinker to get an effective system to work – the best option is easily customisable.
Long-term data migration is also important. Buying a simple and affordable system today is all well and good. But what happens when you grow out of that software and need to upgrade? Migrating data costs time and money – avoid it by buying the right system the first time!
And lastly, don’t forget project management. Choosing the right software is only the first step. Identify the right person within your organisation to manage the software buy and implementation, keeping it in house wherever possible – no one knows your business like your own people!
Post-sales support – Trouble shooting
When it comes to software, hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
That’s why your chosen software should always come with sufficient (and reliable) post-sales support. Look for in-country, personalised support from living, breathing human beings. Your access to their knowledge and expertise should be reliable and freely available – 24/7 if possible.
You should also consider a staged training plan with your software vendor. That way, functionality is understood before implementation – saving you money in the long run. And why not ask if your vendor can provide additional training support – you’re in a partnership after all!
The final word
The best software isn’t always the newest or most complicated. Rather, it’s the solution that’s the most practical for you and your business. It should provide your staff with a sense of ownership and value – if they can’t see the benefits, they won’t use it effectively, defeating the entire change process.
So focus on your needs first – engage your people and share the decision making process. The ideal software is one that meets all your needs, can be customised to suit, and is easy to use.
Col Levander is the Managing Director of innovative recruitment technology consulting firm Rec Tech Solutions – the industry leader in providing ‘best of breed’ technology advice and consulting services to the recruitment and broader HR industries across the Asia Pacific region.