Are you thinking about getting a new software program for your district? Or finally ready to move on from your paper/pen processes but don’t know where to start? Fear not, this blog is for you. We will look at some critical steps to consider in your research to help you evaluate thoroughly and painlessly. Why? Because we know that software works! We want you to save time, save money, and cut back on those overwhelming piles of paper.
Identify your challenges and needs
You don’t necessarily have to be a technology-savvy person to research software. You simply have to know what you’re looking to accomplish and use those goals as your compass.
When you can easily come up with a list of unfulfilled functions or recurring challenges right off the top of your head, it means you know enough to start exploring what kind of software is out there for you.
Identifying your challenges, or “pain points”, is essentially the same as identifying your needs, which makes this a first step. Make note of these pain points so that you can refer to them during this research process as it will communicate your intent and goals for a new software. It will also be useful to your team, and prospective providers when proposing solutions, in making that final decision.
Prepare a List of Required and Desired Features
Now that you’ve established why you’re looking for a new software system, coming up with a basic set of required features or functions may require a little more work. Don’t skip this step, understanding your software “must-haves” will be key in helping your team choose the best software for your district.
Start with a list based on what you know and get other team members to contribute and review. Your end-users will be able to provide the most feedback for this part of your research. This list of features will serve as a useful checklist while you evaluate different software
As you get more comfortable with the process, and start learning a little more about the variety of software available, you may find that updating your list could be worthwhile. You may even notice in your research that some software companies have rolled out new technological advances or have abilities that you didn’t know about prior to this process.
Know Your Limitations
Consider the resources that you have available in your district, as this could affect the options that are available to you. For example, you want to make sure you understand the financial, or time limits that you’re dealing with. As you evaluate the cost of a vendor’s software make sure to include all pertinent costs that could impact your bottom line, like hardware and installation. The cost-model from each vendor may also differ and you could find yourself needing to purchase by the number of users or licenses, which would bring you over your budget. Additionally, the amount of time to implement may be an issue if you’re working with an approaching deadline or short time frame to get a new program up and running.
Read and Research
Just as you would check out restaurant reviews on Yelp and product reviews on Amazon (I know I do) reading testimonials or reviews can be a great source of information. You get the benefit of having unbiased feedback from users that do the same, or similar tasks, as you do. You could even ask individuals in your network if they have any experience with a particular software or have a recommended one.
- Learn about the company (what is their focus? do they integrate with, or provide their own solutions for, the current software in your operations?)
- Request material with details and specifications that you can share with your team.
- Request a Demo. Seeing the software first-hand is a great way to experience it before you make a decision.
In the midst of all of this, don’t forget to compare system features and functions. Everything from the features, to installation requirements, to customer service and user reviews, compare to see which one will work best for your district while giving you the best value for your dollar.
Lastly, as the old saying goes “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” Software companies would love to address your questions and your challenges, because it helps them better understand your operations so that they can show you how, or if, their product can meet your needs.
PrimeroEdge Solution Experts would love to answer any questions you have about our software and see how it could fit your operations. Schedule a Demo with us today.