7 “need to know” secrets to choosing the right software

7 “need to know” secrets to choosing the right software


By: Joanna Mirov, President and CEO at MXOtech

I recently had the honor of being invited to participate on a technology panel of experts in front of a group of 300+ technology companies. Despite teaching best practices learned over 10 years in business, MXOtech knows that the technology industry is constantly changing, and that means there is always more to learn.

As a fellow business owner, I understand that choosing the right software for your company can make or break your budget and your spirit. In one hand you hold a shiny box of pre-fab software that offers several options all rolled into one relatively economic package. In the other, you have software specifically customized for your needs with a higher price tag.

How do you know which is best for your needs? And how do you wade through the sea of software options and IT consulting companies to find your perfect match?

Here are a few secrets that everyone who wants to buy software should know:

  1. Describe It. I’m serious. Sit down and outline everything you need from your software. The answer lies in outlining a complete picture of what your business requires from the software. There are some very basic steps you can take to determine your specific needs and how to negotiate the various steps of implementing them. By outlining what you need before you try to make the software choice, you are better prepared to weed out the obvious software “no’s” and stop conversations with IT consulting firms that don’t have what you need.
  2. Get Real. This is the time to be completely honest with yourself about your business. Identify where you lack efficiencies, where you may be losing money, and anything that is currently keeping you from growing the value of your business. What are your gaps? What is taking you too long to do? The process of evaluating your strengths and weaknesses is called a Business Process Review. It requires participation from all “business champions” in your organization, meaning that the experts in each area – accounting, operations, sales – will be thoroughly interviewed in order to answer the questions of “how do we do it today” and “how can we do it better.” Then, only consider talking to an IT consulting firm that can help you “do it better.”
  3. Wishes. You have to make a wish for it to come true. Now that you’ve navigated through your internal pain points, it’s time to create a wish list. What does your ideal technology partner look like? What is your ideal business IT support staff relationship? Outline all of the factors that would make you happiest when you implement your new software, whether boxed or custom. Then, combine your wish list, goals, and philosophies to create a Request for Proposal (RFP). Visit www.bit.ly/TechEbook to find a technology partner that will help you implement the right solution for your business.
  4. Dear Future Technology Partner. Often businesses find themselves in a position where they are just coping with their systems and software. Perhaps that Access database worked well when you started your business, but is now slow and cumbersome. It might be the case that a system or software package that was purchased essentially has you and your team working for it, instead of it working for you and your team. Or it could simply be that you are frustrated by some system or process. In any of these cases, it’s time to perform a Business Process Improvement (BPI) Assessment.
  5. A BPI Assessment is usually a one week, low cost engagement where MXOtech Analysts review your systems and processes that cause issues for your business. This assessment is composed of three parts – staff interviews conducted by MXOtech Analysts, systems analysis, and solution research.
  6. Get a Real Technology Roadmap. The deliverable from a BPI Assessment is an actionable roadmap that your company can execute on its own, with another vendor, or with MXOtech. MXOtech Analysts compile all of the information into a list of options available to improve your processes. Options typically include a combination of off-the-shelf products, custom developed applications, and changes to workflows. Among these options, MXOtech will make a recommendation and include a roadmap to implementing the recommended solution. This roadmap includes a high level project plan, projected costs, and a recommended vendor.
  7. Teamwork. Get your team on board to examine the new software choices, because they’re the ones who will be using it on a daily basis. Will their work style mesh well with the IT support methodology from the IT managed service provider maintaining the software? If your team can’t, or doesn’t want to embrace your new software or IT support company, there’s no point in having it.
  8. It’s All About the $$$. Finally, determine how you can use the software to create value in your business, especially if you’re considering growing or selling. This comes back to value via greater efficiency. Can the application get rid of the burden of manual administrative tasks? Can you identify ways the software can make your team more productive? The right software can cultivate greater efficiency and allow your employees to put their extra time into profit making, business growing endeavors like customer service, sales, and marketing. More employee productivity generates dollars, which helps your company grow.

In the end, choose software that not only delivers on your “needs” list, but provides excellent network and IT support services. You’re going to spend a lot of time with your new software, and you want to keep it healthy.

Learn more about choosing the right software for your company: Download our FREE ebook The Business Owner’s Essential Guide to IT & All Things Digital or contact us today at .