Evaluating software can be daunting and time-consuming – it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it. Over many years of implementing new systems, we have discovered a few things. You may find these useful if you are currently doing it, or preparing to do it soon. Read on to learn some helpful considerations that might make the process a little less stressful.
1. It’s important to Look to The Long-term
One of the fundamental considerations is to avoid only focusing on what you need the system to do now. Instead, you should emphasise the things you need your system to do now and in 5 years. This way, it will be better equipped to support your strategic plans and you won’t need to replace your software again any time soon.
Architects will always tell you not to design your house around the needs of your toddler. This is because that child will grow and its needs will change. If you don’t think long-term, your system architecture could end up being poorly planned far sooner than you might think. By focusing on short-term needs, you hold your business back from being able to scale with any efficiency.
Business software systems that are heavily siloed can restrict flexibility. They can also hamper productivity and effectively prevent you from growing at the rate you are capable of.
2. The Cloud is Unavoidable
The cloud is the linchpin for most modern software solutions, and you’ll have heard about it in virtually all aspects of life. Be careful that you don’t become so accustomed to ‘cloud’ that you stop keeping it in your thoughts. With cloud software, all you need to run your system is access to an internet connection and a browser. But its advantages go far beyond that.
Security is greater, downtime is minimal. You get 360-degree, real-time visibility and the automatic delivery of upgrades. Failing to incorporate a cloud-based system puts you at an immediate disadvantage compared to your competition.
3. Look For Solutions That Offer a Single Source of Data
The previous two points lead to this recommendation. Wherever possible, opt for systems that integrate all your key business software applications around a single database. The simplest approach is to start with financials and extend outwards from there. However, some people choose to jump in with both feet with systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Ecommerce and Business Intelligence (BI).
If you look for a system that has the capability to unify functions like this, you make your life far easier. Scaling up can be accomplished very fast and smoothly with this kind of centralised system.
4. Consider End Users
You should always have the experience of end users in your mind when considering new software. Can you see the new software providing sufficient ownership of an experience for users? Will their dashboards be right for their needs and roles? Are there customisation options to easily implement minor changes?
Employees are empowered when they have the ability to make simple changes to configurations. This can make systems work better for their priorities. In turn, this can boost their efficiency, increase user adoption and ultimately deliver a better ROI.
5. Mitigate The Strain of The Changeover
The daunting feeling of a new system extends beyond the choosing of that system. The process of making the changeover can be extremely daunting. Managers often hesitate to make changes because of the pitfalls we associate with software implementations. These include things like escalating costs, lengthy cycles, disruption to business and implementation fatigue.
The primary factors that influence how successful this process will be are:
- The software or systems you choose.
- The configuration of the software of systems.
- The implementation partner you choose to work with.
- The buy-in from you and your team.
It may be worth considering opting for a system preconfigured with roles, KPIs and workflows. NetSuite SuiteSuccess is one such solution, offering a clear pathway and accelerated business value. By implementing it with the right partner, you will skip the usual long-disruptive implementation and get straight to the benefits. Experience and mastery of implementation methods are important, so do your homework when choosing an implementation partner.
6. Remember To Review Your Choices Annually
As you grow, you will need to constantly reevaluate your systems and processes. Perhaps a manual task has become too time-consuming for employees each month. Or maybe an aspect of your business has grown beyond the capabilities of the current systems in place. You also need to consider that technology is evolving just as fast as your business is growing.
To keep on top of things with your business software, and to ensure you don’t miss out on technological advances, it is wise to review your systems and processes annually. This can save you time and money when the need arises to integrate new tools and systems.
The systems review can be daunting – there is no escaping that. But don’t avoid doing it – this could hinder your team’s productivity and your business growth. Follow the advice above and the whole process may feel a little less intimidating.
Why choose Eventura for your digital transformation journey?
Eventura have been helping businesses in their digital transformation journey for two decades. From the implementation of industry-leading ERP solutions such as Sage 200 and NetSuite, to helping them move their entire operations to the cloud and away from costly and restrictive on-premise solutions.
As well as being NetSuite Solution Providers, Sage 200 Partners and Microsoft Gold Partners, we also offer a wide range of managed IT services, meaning we can take your business as a whole and help it achieve digital transformation.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts, you can request a free call back here.