Purchasing software is a major issue as it is not only the cost of the purchase, but all considerations required making a good decision, there’s the learning curve, the conversion process, and other costs that are hidden. Many of us have a tendency to compare what we think are apples and apples, when in reality they are not. There are many questions people should ask before making changes.
1. Why am I making this change? Is my software so bad that I cannot work with it any longer?
2. What sacrifices will I be making internally in order to change?
3. Is it an upgrade?
4. I hope I’m not making a lateral move; will the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience and cost of making this switch?
5. It’s nice to be on the competitive edge of technology, but do I need everything that is offered?
6. Are my employees driving this decision? If so, my software must be pretty bad.
7. Is the support process from my proposed new company far superior to my old company?
8. What about follow up after sale, what does the contract actually say?
9. Do I have the proper equipment to support the new technology; are my licenses in place for related software?
10. Should I consider software as a service, as that may be my best bet?
Here are a number of things commonly heard in the marketplace, conferences, seminars, and feedback from clients.
1. I called my software supplier and asked to do of data conversion. I was told it would be 4 to 6 months before they even put me into queue. That’s an exceptionally long time when I’m trying to get a new client. I will probably lose this one.
2. Even after getting into the queue, it turns out that the conversion cost is prohibitive. My client will never pay that exorbitant amount, what are the alternatives?
3. My client base is growing, yet my licensing fees remain the same. Isn’t there some kind of sliding scale as my usage becomes greater?
4. My supplier nickel and dimes me to death. Every time I pick up the phone, it’s 2 or 3 hours of billing. What is included in the support price for the new product? Is it the frying pan to the fire syndrome?
5. Oh No! Another upgrade, more money, more testing, and if I don’t do it I will eventually be unsupported. I really wish my software supplier would seamlessly make those upgrades so I don’t even see them. Someone told me that web based products can do that since there’s no software on the client machine. This must really be a key selling point for software as a service as I wouldn’t expect to be involved in any of the upgrades.
6. Upgrades? Do I need to take them? Of course you do, but try to see if your support contract and maintenance contract includes them. The advantage is you are never behind, there’s no big gap between your system and the current system, or one less thing you need to worry about.
7. Will I be generating more work for my IT department, not if my vendor supports the product themselves? That’s a good thing since I don’t have an IT department any way.
8. Am I buying software or expertise? We really need a strong vendor that can serve as a consultant for both the hardware and software and anticipate our needs. Many of the banks are taking the position of assisting in financial matters, doing payroll, analysis, and other aspects that detract from my ability to perform the work required to run my own business. That seems to make sense and we should expand that to all facets of our business when applicable. Let the vendor be responsible and give me a good product to help me with my business that I don’t have to be involved in. My Doctor doesn’t consult with me before he operates, my lawyer doesn’t discuss how he’s going to handle these things and my vendor should do the same just get the job done.
It’s a competitive market out there. There are tons of companies offering many types of programs, products and services. Take the extra time to research all options. In the long run, a better decision will be the result. It’s worth the investment, get as much exposure, knowledge and advise available. Maximize your ROI by creating a profit center rather than an expense.