Apps are popping up everywhere. With the proliferation of Google’s Angular framework (allowing developers to easily write apps that can be used across platforms), we’re discovering new ways that technology can help businesses stay organized and productive.
The problem is, there are a lot of choices, and getting up-to-speed on any one of them can be a serious time investment for your team. How do you make sure you’ve chosen the best software for your business?
Determine what you need
Before you buy a car, you think about what you need: enough seats for the whole family, in-car entertainment for the kids, and maybe towing capacity for your camping gear. The same should go for your software.
With that in mind, here are some things you might want to consider putting on your list. Your ideal software needs to do the following:
- Lets you work on multiple projects from a single place
- Manages your email with minimal user sorting
- Integrates with other software you already use
- Lets you easily organize your team
- Allows you to create and organize as many projects as you need
- Sorts updates on a project by relevance to each user
- Makes it easy to share an collaborate on documents
- Converts your discussions to assignable tasks
- Lets you use video conferencing and group chat
- Enables screen sharing
- Gives regular updates on milestones and goals
- Allows you to specify which data are accessible by which team members
- Securely protects sensitive files
- Synchronizes with apps across mobile and desktop devices
- Supports all the languages you need
- Lets you store files in Dropbox, Google Drive, or your chosen location
- Be consistently reliable
Narrow your options
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for in your software, you are ready to take a look at your options. Take the time to read user reviews on platforms like TrustRadius and you might weed out any products have have subpar scores across the board.
As you look at reviews, consider which reviewers are commenting on the features that you particularly want. Which reviewers seem to have a business or a project model similar to the one you use? This will help you figure out which platforms are most likely to work for you.
Take the software for a test run
It’s never a good idea to jump onboard without trying the software first. But this also doesn’t mean you should roll out the software to your whole team, necessarily. Pull together a small testing group and have them put the software through its paces.
This might include creating a lot of fake projects with similar-sounding names and seeing how the software reacts. It might include testing the various means of communication and seeing how it works with emails and notifications. Don’t forget to test how it integrates with software you already have and how well it saves everything.
Look into trial period options
Doing a brief test with your team is a necessary step, but the full power (and any problems) with the software will likely only show up once you roll it out to the entire team. Fortunately, many platforms let you have a trial period so you can be 100 percent sure it will work for everyone.
To give the new software a fair shot, be sure to ask about any training materials the company may provide. Make sure your people are watching the training videos and going through the demos. It never hurts to task a project manager with becoming an expert on the new software, so they can function as the go-to resource when people have questions.
The right productivity software can make your entire team more productive, keep you all focused, and help you stay more organized than you ever dreamed possible. It’s just a matter of finding the right one.