Evaluating software can be dizzying. With dozens of options to choose from, they all start to look the same after a while. But this isn’t a decision that you can afford to make lightly. Adding a new piece of software into your tech stack has the potential to impact nearly every aspect of your business.
Integrating the right software into your company’s tech stack can give your business a massive advantage. From accessibility and productivity to functionality and security, the correct software has the potential to elevate you. The question is, how do you choose the best option?
With all of this in mind, here are some tips for comparing and evaluating software so that you can make the best possible decision for your organization.
1. Consider the Fit
Always start with the fit. The new software should effortlessly fit into your existing technology stack without having to make any unnecessary adjustments to the hardware and software you’re already using. Put simply, the new software has to fit your existing technology, not the other way around.
2. Consider Proprietary Features
When comparing two similar software options from different providers, you should always look at the features. Roughly 90 percent of the features are going to be the same across every product. However, there will be that tiny 10 percent of features where each company bakes in their own proprietary options. This is where you need to focus a lot of your time.
For example, consider fleet maintenance software (of which there are plenty of options to choose from). Products like Cetaris fleet maintenance software tend to be more popular than the alternatives because they offer third-party integration that allows the system to integrate with 150-plus third-party tools to eliminate information silos. These are the kinds of things you look for!
3. Consider the Scalability
Scalability is a must-have. You need to know that the software you select will grow with you as your company grows. In other words, you won’t need to ditch it for something else if your company doubles over the next three years. Most of today’s SaaS products are fully scalable in today’s marketplace, but this is still something you need to think about and ask about. A failure to do so could prove to be a very costly mistake.
4. Consider the Security
Security is obviously a huge concern in today’s unpredictable cyber landscape. Every SaaS vendor is going to have some level of security, but you want to make sure the one you choose has the best in class data security. This includes full encryption of data. (A failure to prioritize security could put your customer’s data at risk, which ultimately falls back on you.)
5. Consider the Vendor
In some cases, the same software can be sold by multiple vendors. And in these situations, you’ll want to carefully select a vendor in order to get the best possible deployment, support, and training.
Since most software is SaaS these days, support and training are probably the most significant factors. For support, you want the guarantee of quick and easy access. Phone support is ideal, but email and chat support are options as well. For training, you can ask if the vendor provides any training materials or resources for your team when deploying the software. This can be very helpful.
6. Consider the Pricing
Pricing is obviously a huge area of emphasis. While you don’t want to lead the search with pricing – this can cause you to focus on the wrong options – it’s definitely something that has to be accounted for.
In addition to monthly subscription fees, ask about things like onboarding/deployment charges and hidden fees. Some SaaS vendors will slip in “hosting charges” at the last minute. And while this can be a legitimate cost, they’re just passing it on to you. You might be able to negotiate no hosting charges and/or other discounts.
Find the Perfect Software
You probably won’t find the right software right away; it’ll take days (and possibly weeks) of careful analysis and comparison to find the best option. You may even want to take advantage of free trial periods or demos to get a feel for how the software works in real-time before making a bigger financial commitment. The key is to be thorough. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll eventually land on the right option.