Choosing the right software solution

Choosing the right software solution can be a hard.  With thousands of products on the market, choosing the right one at the right price tag can take a long time.  So the question is, how do you find the right product?

One of the first hurdles that needs to be jumped over is documenting critical business functions. When you understand the flow of a business, it makes it much easier to identify the features needed that will save time and money. This is important because more features typically means more cost.

When documentation is complete, the next step is to do some basic market research. Using your favorite search engine, poke around online to see what’s out there. Try to use words and phrases that describe your industry, as well as some of the features you’d like to find.

Searching for something like “Dental Imaging Software” returns a handful of good results. The first part of the query contains the industry. The second part of the query contains the primary feature that we need. With this query, you will be returned a list of various software providers who likely meet these requirements.

Using a search query like “Dental Software” will likely return every single Dental Software ever made. This would include results that don’t have any imaging features. Search queries like this will waste your time and should be avoided.

Off-the-shelf or custom software

There are two primary types of software: Off-the-shelf, and custom. If you can go and purchase it today, it’s generally considered “off-the-shelf” software. If you need to hire a developer, it’s generally considered “custom software”. So now that you know what it is, how do you decide which one to use?

Off-the-shelf software can be great for some reasons, such as price, but can also be a pain for others, such as a lack of critical features. Trying to find the balance between the two is a complex task. Custom software will generally provide the best result, but it also comes with a great price tag. Be warned.

75% of what your business needs can be found with off-the-shelf software, but somewhere in that last 25% is still a critical function that needs addressing. This is that awkward place where a manager is forced to make a decision: change the way the business functions, or find a different software solution.

Which direction you go depends entirely on what those business functions are, and how much of a budget your business has to work with. In some situations, it makes more sense to find software that can fill the gap. In others, it might make more sense to change a business operating procedure.

A great example of filling the gap is time-sheets, and payroll. Many software applications exist today which do not include these features. Adding them to your business as an add-on piece of software is very easy and cost-effective. Furthermore, a host of them come with external integrations. This may allow them to talk with other applications you’re looking into.

A Hybrid solution?

Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? If you flip or renovate houses, the answer is YES. MyFieldManager.com is a hybrid solution of both cost effective features, and custom software development. Not only will it do most of what you need, but your feedback is sent directly to our development team and used to add more features.

By working with our current subscribers, we constantly add new features that businesses like yours need. If you’re interested in learning more or seeing how we can serve you, feel free to hit the Contact form, or take a look at our Live Demo.

Conclusion

Choosing the right software solution is difficult. With a little bit of research (and a little bit of luck), finding one that meets your needs can be done. By setting a software budget, researching 2 or 3 solutions, and evaluating current business practices, you will be on the right track to finding the right solution for your business.

Ryan Farley

Ryan Farley

Lead Developer @MFM

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