Like all decisions, there will be pros and cons to any solution that you would like to implement into your business. Whether you’re looking for a new CRM, Payroll, Accounting or any other type of business software it  can get complex with so many features, pricing and service elements at play. We get it.

In these situations it’s easier to follow a process and go through a series of selection steps to make an informed decision about what’s best for your business.

By the end of this post you will learn:

  • How to uncover any specific needs and considerations your business may have regarding the new software solution.
  • You will be able to create your own selection matrix to support your decision process.

Before you jump into a comparison of what is available on the market, it’s important to answer yourself a few specific questions. These will help to establish the exact criteria your business has and will highlight any other considerations. Every business has different needs and faces unique challenges. You want to make sure that the software you select addresses these. 

 

Try to start with these simple questions

WHY

Clearly establish why you need a new product. What exactly is it you are trying to achieve, it may be efficiencies, costs, customer service, etc. The reasons you need a solution are endless, but as a team it’s so important to all be on the same page and define 3-5 reasons why you need a solution, the solution you choose in the end should meet these needs.

 

WHAT

Clearly establish what it is you are looking for, are you looking for a hardware solution, a software solution,  a new process, or even to outsource tasks. Document this thoroughly and ensure the product you select meets what you need.

 

WHEN

It’s a good idea to have a time frame in your company goals around when this new solution should be implemented into your business processes, ensure that the selection you make can accommodate this.

 

WHO

Once a decision has been made, ensure that any service agreements are completed correctly to assist with a smooth transition. Document why you have made the decision so that your future team has this visibility

 

HOW 

To go about making a selection it is a good idea to create a matrix to record products and criteria; you’re likely to come across so many products when you start researching and reaching out. Your selection criteria should include a checklist of what the system must have, and the customer experience you want. Record the name of the product, a link to their website, and any relevant contacts, as well as rating a score or writing any comments on the potential suppliers. This document will become very useful when meeting with the team to make a decision.

To help with making a selection, we provide a selection matrix example below. Work into this matrix your selection criteria for a provider, simply checking YES or NO against the criteria, and allowing yourself room for comments to be included.

Feel free to use the matrix categories below:

Functionality: list each piece of functionality your current system has, and what you are looking for. It is essential that your business critical functions are able to be performed by your new system of choice

Ease of Use: was the system easy to navigate and use, were processes automated?

Pricing: record the pricing structure of the system, and do some calculations for how much the system would cost your company monthly and annually

Credibility: does the supplier have testimonials available, does the demonstration match the sales pitch?

Resources: what resources are available to end users? Are there User Guides?

Support: is there a support desk available to end users? How can you get help after your training?

Customer Service; has the customer service you have received throughout the quotation and demonstration process been acceptable? The service you receive is an indication of how your relationship will be with your supplier.

Development: always ask the question about the products future development, how much resources do they put into continual improvement? How often do they release new versions of the product? If a new legislative change were to come out, how long would it take the system to be compliant? If a custom request came up from your company, how would the supplier go about building this, and what cost would be involved?

 

Matrix Template:

Finally… The Decision

Whatever you decide make sure your new provider will not only be able to meet your expectations on all of the matrix items, but also is a partner who will build a great customer relationship with you. Sometimes you may discover that you need a specific feature in your software, which is not present in the existing offering. It’s worth mentioning this fact during the software demo sessions, as some providers will go an extra mile and work with you to develop a bespoke functionality.

Selecting and implementing a new software solution for the business can be a challenging task. It can appear complex and confusing at first, but it boils down to approaching it with the right mindset and methodology. Following the steps above should help you with getting on with the project and championing it within your organisation.