Regardless of what you are looking to accomplish, there is undoubtedly software or an app on the market that can help get the job done. However, in an age of accessibility, the key is finding a product that not only fits your requirements, but also adapts to the way you do business. With hundreds or even thousands of options out there, how do you know what software is right for you and your business?
First, let's address a few misnomers about software today:
1. You need one product that does everything.
Companies have grown quite accustomed to spending a lot of money on massive systems that are meant to accomodate all office and administrative functions. While this approach was considered optimal for consolidating all of your company data and activities into one place, it forced all employees to use the same basic (and probably not optimal) platform.
With Application Program Interfaces ( API), online platforms, integrations and the ease of data exchange, apps have the capability to talk to one another like never before. This allows for developers to focus on building brilliant solutions for specific problems. Accountants can find software tailor made for their needs, and businesses can choose a Fleet Management Software that talks to fuel records, data tracking devices and more.
2. You have to download software to your servers or various devices.
Cloud-Based producs are reachable from any device that has internet access. Furthermore, many of them can operate entirely without ever requiring anything to be downloaded. For those used to the days of buying CDs in a box, this concept can be a bit eye-opening.
The great thing about web-based applications is that you can access them from most internet-capable devices. Onsite servers are rendered obsolete (what a relief). If you are a company that is constantly on the go, access from anywhere is a huge benefit.
3. Software is expensive and requires a long-term commitment.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is not a new concept, but it has become popular as an alternative to traditional software. With SaaS products, you can sign up for a monthly subscription without any long-term commitment. Typically, this monthly fee will include all product updates as well as customer support and in some cases, you receive the option to have unlimited users at no additional charge.
4. You and your employees have to be trained
Simply put, if you have knowledge of your industry, there are many software options that you can jump into and start using immediately. Apple and the iPhone generation can be considered largely responsible for leading a wave of consumers that now demand intuitive applications. While it might take more effort to design something that is both functional and powerful, there are plenty of products available that manage to simplify tasks without sacrificing features. So, as you are scouring the internet for the perfect software, don't just settle for something that gets the job done. Find an option that you can and will use daily without pulling your hair out.
So how do you get started searching?
In order to find what you are looking for, it is important to know what the requirements of your business are. Ask yourself the following: * How many people will be using the software? * What devices do they have? * What features are absolutely necessary and which would be nice to have? * Do you need a custom software/app or can you work with an existing platform that will more than likely save you money?
Once you have those questions answered (or at least have a good idea) there are a number of places you can begin looking. Google search works, but you there also software/app specific marketplaces online that will give you a comprehensive list of what is out there. Capterra, GetApp, and the Apple Store are great places to browse. These typically have user reviews and a full listing of features or screenshots that will help in your decision.
Some software companies offer free, no commitment, full version trials of their product, and with online options, you can be signed up testing them out in a minute or less. Do your homework, and your company will see the difference that can be made when you choose the right software.