How to maximize your ROI on small business software

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Selecting the right software for your organization can pose huge challenges.

But investing time in choosing the right business software is a commitment that can pay big dividends. Selecting the right small business software can boost productivity, and position your company for long-term growth. On the other hand, choosing software that is ill-suited to your long-term needs can be a large waste of time and money over the long term.

Not sure where to start? You’re not alone. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of tips you can use to select the right software for your small business.

Think ahead

Using your business strategy to forecast your software needs over the next three to five years is a great way to maximize the return on your software investment. Over the long term, software solutions that can meet company needs for many years provide the highest return on investment.

Map out your current business processes

To determine what your business’ software needs might be, map your business processes. From client quotes, to receiving payment, business process mapping can provide insight into the functions that consume the most effort or take the longest time to complete.

Technology should be viewed as a business accelerator. As a result, understanding exactly what functions within your business you wish to accelerate will provide you with insight into the software solutions that provide the most value to your business.

Establish your requirements

Once you’ve reviewed the key activities in your business where adopting technology can boost your productivity, you can define and prioritize your requirements for a future system.

By assigning weights to different functions the software should perform, you’ll have the information necessary to create a request for proposal (RFP) that vendors can use to determine if they can meet your needs.

Involve your employees

Entrepreneurs will sometimes buy and introduce new software without input or buy-in of their employees.

This can have mixed results. If employees aren’t involved in the selection process and given adequate input into the process, many will resist using the new system—no matter how beneficial—relying instead on existing methods. Consulting your employees will allow you to understand their needs and get their buy-in.

Shop for packaged software

Custom-built IT systems can be appealing. But chances are there’s already a software solution on the market designed to help businesses like your own.

It’s a matter of finding the right platform, and accepting that the search for the right software is often the biggest challenge for most entrepreneurs. Out of the box solutions are almost always cheaper in the long run, more scalable and better supported than the majority of custom-built software solutions.

Consider getting outside help

To find the right software, it’s often wise to understand your limitations. Many entrepreneurs get into the process of buying software and realize that the solution does not deliver the benefits they expected. In other cases, entrepreneurs realize they just don’t have the time to properly analyze their business needs and find the right software solution.

Like any investment, a software purchase can be a boon to your business or a drag on your growth. Choosing the right software is often best managed with the help of third-party consultants.

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