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Critical Factors to Consider When Weighing a New Software Purchase

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July 31, 2015

Critical Factors to Consider When Weighing a New Software Purchase

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

It’s a fact of life that companies wind up getting stuck – at least once – with a business solution that doesn’t work for them. Whether it’s customer relationship management that’s too unwieldy or inconvenient for employees to use, or customer support software that doesn’t include all the necessary channels – every company has a horror story to tell about a solution purchase that was a mistake. Unfortunately, these type of mistakes tend to be expensive, and rather than admit defeat, many organizations double-down on the mistake, determined to salvage something of the situation. It usually doesn’t work.

So how do you avoid a mistake purchase of enterprise software? Particularly if it’s in your contact center or in any way customer facing, there is more at stake than the capital invested in the solution. You could be actually damaging your business with software that doesn’t fit your organization. In a recent article for Business Insider, Nilesh Patel, Founder and CEO of LeadSquared, makes a few recommendations that can help the nightmare of a mistake software purchase. Perhaps the most critical is the ability to try it before you buy.

“Most software websites will list feature after feature saying this will help you with ‘this’ or ‘that’ and it actually helps,” wrote Patel. “But the question here is: How much effort do I need to put in to get that benefit? (Everything would need some human intervention, but how much is the question.) Does it work without any glitches? (Believe me, I have worked on comparison documents for software after software, and have seen that no matter how impressive the website looks, you should never take it for granted that the software would be just as impressive.)”

If a company isn’t willing to let you try it before you buy it, be wary. Are they hiding something? Do they lack confidence in their solution? You’ll want to ensure that it’s not only user friendly, but that it loads quickly, produces dashboards and reports that are timely and reliable, and that it integrates well with the solutions its needs to interface with.

Another critical element of choosing the right solution is user reviews. You wouldn’t book an inn without reading the reviews first, right? So why would you buy software without reading reviews by real customers?

"Personally, I think this is one of the most important factors that you should consider while choosing software,” wrote Patel. “In fact, you should consider it generally for any kind of investment.”

In this case, be sure to read reviews that aren’t provided to you by the vendor. Patel recommends using independent software rating services such as G2 (News - Alert) Crowd, TechnologyAdvice and TrustRadius. Additionally, be sure to read reviews not just about the product itself, but about the quality of customer support the vendor provides. Will they be there for you when you have a problem? How will they help you resolve your problems? Are they committed to making their solution work for you?

Too many companies today buy software based on superficial elements like bells and whistles, or entirely based on cost. Patel notes that costs can be negotiated, and most vendors can provide you with what you need at your budget.

“All software platforms have different plans for those with a tight budget and those who have much to spend,” he wrote. “The other important thing is to scrutinize the software thoroughly before investing

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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