Implementing a solution that aligns well with your business objectives can be a time-consuming and complicated activity. The investment in time you make up front can save years of headaches and put your business on the path for sustained and profitable growth.
The problem is – do you even know what you’re looking for?
Many times I’ve seen savvy business people make some questionable technology investment decisions. It is easy to be wowed with rich features and new customizations. Don’t we all love the latest and greatest?
Take a step back and understand why you’re looking and what you’re really looking for! Write it down. Start with the end in mind.
Your business software is the oil that enables your company to run efficiently. Without the proper software, your operation can grind to a stop and cause chaos, frustration and lost opportunity. Finding the right software for your business is not complicated, but it does require some research and structure.
There are three “must-do” steps you should undertake to at least narrow the list of options.
- Define Your Outcomes – Discuss internally what you would like to achieve as a business with a business system. Engage your key team members and have a discussion about current frustrations. Have an open dialogue about the functionality the team would like to have. Be clear that this is a brainstorming session and not a promise to deliver the entire wish-list. Having a solid picture of where you would like to go is the first step in getting there.
- Document the Requirements – Taking the output from Step 1, take the wish-list to another level of detail. Conduct interviews with key staff to define the functionality of the system you are looking for. The requirements provide a foundation for a number of activities that will follow:
- Software Assessment – There are literally hundreds of options for business software. For example, take a look at ERP software. This list includes over 320 different software solutions available for any kind of business. Using your requirements in Step 2, narrow down the list of available options to those that fit with your size, budget and business type.
Now that you have a better idea of what you are looking for, take advantage of the most under-utilized and inexpensive consulting option available to SMB’s. Write an RFP! Use the expertise of the software vendors you have identified and ask them to give you their solution.
Finding the right software for you doesn’t have to be stressful but it does require structure. Learn more here.