It’s important to take the time and put in the effort when selecting a piece of software that you plan to use. Planning and investigating the options available out there can help you choose the best tool and the one that will suit your needs the most.
In the long run, this also makes your day-to-day use of the software easier and if you’re a business, it can also save you a lot of money. There are a few typical steps that you could take that will help you the most out of the process.
1) Articulating Your Needs
The first and often the key step for choosing the best software tool for you is to know what you plan to use the tool for. Once you get that main feature covered, expand the list with a few additional features that aren’t necessary but that make your life easier.
Once you know what you need, you’ll be able to eliminate the tools that don’t fit the bill and then move on to a variety of different software solutions that provide the service you can use.
2) Know Your Budget
Setting up a budget for your purchase is another important practice to implement since it stops you from breaking the bank and it further helps in choosing the tool. It’s also a way to eliminate the software solutions that are above your paygrade.
Chances are you won’t be able to find the tool that fits a fixed budget perfectly. That’s why it’s best to have a bracket that you can work within. Focus on a few tools that fit within the bracket you’ve set for yourself, and test them out since there’s no guarantee that a more expensive tool will be better.
3) Find the Advice Online
There are sites out there that provide online reviews and rather useful software advice that you can take advantage of. Software reviews can help you compare different tools and quantify the difference between them. They are not enough to base a decision on, however. It’s best to use the reviews to create a shortlist of tools that you’re satisfied enough with to try.
Using the tool for a while, yourself gives you a different perspective on how it works and what may be wrong with it. Only then you can actually choose a software that you plan to use for a while.
4) Who Will End Up Using the Tool
If you’re buying a tool for a business or a startup, you should consider surveying the opinion of those that will use the piece of software on a regular basis. A lot of the time, their opinion will differ from that of the management.
Since it’s the employees that end up using the tool, their opinion should weigh heavier on your call. It also makes the day-to-day workflow easier and based on actual experience with using software tools.
5) Is it better to Buy or Subscribe?
Some software solutions are bought just like any physical product would have been. You make a one-time payment and you purchase the software that you can then use indefinitely. Others are based on subscriptions and you need to pay every month in order to continue using the tool.
It’s up to the user to decide which option is better for them. Both of them have their upsides and downsides and some tools provide both. In most cases, however, you can only buy or only subscribe to use the piece of software, so you’re stuck with the option you’re given.
6) Making Sure You Got Customer Support
You need to make sure that the tool you plan to buy and use has the customer support system in place. That system will become essential when something goes wrong with the tool and you need an expert to fix it. Chances are this will probably happen at the worst of times.
Customer support needs to be available at all times and it needs to be easy to reach. It’s also essential that it’s staffed by experts and that they are willing to help a client by guiding them through the troubleshooting process.
7) A Piece of Software is Just a Part of Your tool belt
Chances are that it’s not the only piece of software you’re using and that means that you need to take into account the rest of your system. The tool you plan to buy needs to be compatible with your operating system and with other software solutions you and your team are using.
If it doesn’t meet these criteria, it’s best not to try to change your whole system just to fit one new tool into it, regardless of how useful the tool is. Those who start their process from the ground up, have the luxury of setting up a system in that manner as well.
8) How User-Friendly the Software Is?
It’s also important that the software you decide on is easy to use or at least easy to learn. This is an especially crucial point when it’s business-related software and you need to take into account how easily a new employee can start using it.
There are ways to make the process easier even when it comes to complex tools. Many businesses set up a mentoring system, in which more experienced employees take part in the onboarding process and help teach those who are just joining the company.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind about a piece of software and starting the search again. This sometimes happens and even though it’s a waste, it’s a part of the process and nothing to despair over.
Once you’ve gone through the trial and error process chances are you’ll have a better understanding of what kind of tool you need and you’ll also have better luck in finding it. As long as you learn from the process and make your decision-making skills a bit better, it is worth it, unless it doesn’t benefit you in the near future after certain progress is made.