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5 things I wished I'd know a month ago about buying software

By kristy.dyer ·
Everything I know about picking software for your company:

0. Begin your search by getting a Google Voice phone number and making
a separate email address. For months after you have finished your
software sales people will be calling you. DON'T make sales calls from
you cell phone if you can help it.

1. Do you homework. It helps to have a list of items the software
absolutely has to have. Do your political homework: If you don't have
a powerful mentor in the company to OK your selection, you might as
well be playing online games. If you don't get buy-in from the people
who will have to learn the new software you may pay $20K for software
no one ever learns how to use.

2. This is going to cost money.
a. Don't forget that the cost (in money, time, and experts) to train
people to use the software may be about the same as the cost of the
software its self.
b. Don't put hardware before software. Unless you are fully ready to
live "in the cloud" you will probably have to upgrade servers and
workstations to use the software. It would be crazy to tie yourself to
rapidly aging machines by only considering software that works on your
existing machines.
c. You are renting, you are not buying. There will be an annual
maintenance cost (about 20%) for upgrades etc.

3. Watch out for the "Lending Tree business-plan": You are offered a
free "software match", paid for by the vendors. Unfortunately you are
the product, not the customer and next day your email is overloaded
and your phone is ringing off the hook -- each of these salespeople
has paid the "matchmaker" for your info. This is not a good way to
start your search.

4. You can learn a tremendous amount from reading all the materials on
the software match sites. It doesn't matter what kind of software you
are buying, the advice for CRM and ERP and MRP are all the same.

at http://findaccountingsoftware.com I like:

Software Evaluation Advice

at online-crm.com I like

"5 Step CRM Software Selection Guide: A Pragmatist's Guide to CRM
Software Selections"

at http://www.focus.com/

"6 best practices for Selecting ERP Software"

http://www.asaresearch.com/articles/blueprint.htm

10 - Step Blueprint for Selecting the Right Accounting Software

5. Do your first cut by googling for "NAMEOFSOFTWARE sucks"

You'll find out right away which packages are hated by the employees
who have to run it.


Any others?

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Sounds like you learned some lessons the hard way.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to 5 things I wished I'd kno ...

One recommendation: if purchasing isn't how you make your living, go to the Purchasing department and talk to someone who does. They could have helped you avoid #1 and #3, among other mistakes.

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Purchasing

by kristy.dyer In reply to Sounds like you learned s ...

I work for purchasing! And they asked me to do this!

It's a small company and I'm trying to balance our uniqueness (government renewable energy contracts) against the fact that we don't have to reinvent the wheel (we are a essentially construction company).

Any other advice?

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