Not many people launch their business to be bogged down in paperwork, not even if you’re an accountant! To allow you to operate as efficiently as possible, how should you go about choosing which software to use?
Octopus Blue CEO Andy Bailey offers his top 7 tips to help you make the right choice.
1. Set Your Goals
Why are you looking at new software for your business? What are you hoping to achieve? Whether it’s increased efficiency, diversifying your offering, or expanding your business, unless you know what you want to achieve you’re unlikely to accomplish it.
2. Review Your Workflow
I was once asked by a customer to automate their workflow. When I enquired what it was they did not know! Without an in depth understanding of the way your business works – or wants to operate – you will be unable to realise the full benefit of your technology. Think about your team processes. What is the most efficient way to operate and what is done just because you always have.
3. Must Have Verses Nice to Have
It’s all too easy to forget that technology is a tool not a panacea. It is unlikely you will find a perfect solution too all your requirements. You need to separate these between the essential feature that you cannot live without and those that are beneficial but not essential.
4. Which Software Do You Currently Use?
Only when you know what you want to achieve, your process and essential features can you start to think about software! Does your current provider address the problems you face? Maybe they have some of the answers – your bookkeeping solution may be just right, but what about time tracking or document management? Consider whether to replace your existing solution, or look for add-ins to it.
5. Shortlist the Best Fits
Once you’ve identified the gaps in your current software you can start to look at other providers. Start by looking at programs that integrate with your existing software using APIs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_programming_interface). Review the feature these apps have and shortlist those which address your must have requirements.
6. Arrange Demos and Trials
Contact the suppliers of the applications on your short list and arrange demos. Be aware that the demo will almost certainly be done by a highly trained sales person! Ask for a free trial and take time to post some real data into the system so you can get a feel for it. If you will not be using the system day to day, ask the person who will be for their feedback.
7. Implement and Configure
You’ve made your decision, now what? For cloud based software there may not be any installation required, however you may need to migrate legacy data, configure the system or link to other applications. Set aside a few days for each product to build and learn these connections so that you can be up and running as efficiently as possible. Your software vendor may offer this as an additional chargeable offering to you, however they may not be able to assist with integrating with other applications.
There are hundreds of business software providers offering thousands of solutions. It can take days to review and evaluate each product so make sure you set aside sufficient time to get it right.
Or, step 8 contact Octopus Blue, the business software experts, who will do all the above for you!
About Octopus Blue
Octopus Blue help SMEs optimise their processes and software, enabling you to operate in the most time efficient and cost effective way.
Octopus Blue are uniquely independent, whole of market, business software experts. Our experienced consultants will implement and configure your entire software stack, empowering you to laser focus on what you do best.
Octopus Blue. The business software experts.