The Best Way To Buy Software

Is to do it last.

This post remains relevant to my usual themes, if the subject is more tactical than usual.

We all need software tools to run our business, and our choices here can impact business in a good or bad way. The latter happens when the software choice is made first, and business decisions second.

Who is leading

Is the software leading the business, or is the business leading the software?

When a business chooses its software as a first step, then all the decisions about that area of business depend on the software capabilities. If, for example, you choose an accounting software that does not allow for, say, invoicing different projects to the same customer, but you have to invoice separate projects to the same customer, then you either scrap the software or change how you invoice customers.

Both options are unhelpful.

Your software must allow for data capture, tracking, and reporting, at a minimum. What you capture, what you track, and how you report should all be based on business needs, not software capabilities.

If you choose a software before you have determined your need, then your software is leading your business, not the other way around.

You are leading

So make sure the business leads.

Start with a list of desired outcomes. Go back to what is prompting you to buy a software solution, what you want it to replicate in terms of what you do now, and what more you want to be able to do with this new solution.

A helpful exercise can be to write out your needs by hand. On a blank sheet of paper, either sketch your ideas solution or make a list of what you want to be able to do.

Don’t forget the “why”: why having this capability will make a difference to business performance and outcomes.

Remember, software is not about inputting data for the sake of it. The key is to have immediate access to information, not just data.

Think of your priorities here: the right solution should be simple to manage, give quick access to information, not require a lot of interpretation, etc.

Once this brainstorming is complete, it’s time to go shopping.

What are your business priorities? How do you report on performance each month? Not sure where to start? Then get in touch