Looking to Buy Business Software? Make Sure It Will Help Your Company

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While large companies often have dedicated procurement teams responsible for purchasing business software, entrepreneurs rarely enjoy this advantage. While it isn’t possible to become an expert in every type of business application available, entrepreneurs can increase their odds of making buys that will benefit their business by using a seven-step roadmap to successful business software acquisition.

The journey begins by identifying an inefficient process that can be automated or otherwise improved by software, such as payroll or employee reviews, or an opportunity for growth that could be made possible by software, like customer service or lead management. Next is research, which encompasses reading about how companies like yours have used software to address similar business issues; educating yourself about software costs, including licensing, support, implementation and training; and understanding any additional and less obvious costs such as the effect of changes on business processes.

The journey also involves determining the goals for software and identifying and evaluating potential vendors. When looking at vendors, it’s important to involve employees who will actually use the software in any demonstrations. No matter how great the promised business benefits, they will never materialize if employees don’t like the software and won’t use it.

Adapted from A Guide to Finding the Best Software for Your Organization from IT Business Edge.


I'd say that involving the actual users in the purchasing process is a critical--yet often ignored--factor in the software's success. Too many times, the users are pulled into the process after the software has been purchased. It's more of "This is what you'll be using now," instead of "What do you think of this solution?" If the software is purchased before the actual users have an input, it will likely fail.

I think the topic of business software purchasing is an important topic that should receive much more attention than it does. After all, if a software purchase fails, losses can reach hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of dollars. That being said, I hear about failed software purchases regularly. Companies must do a better job of educating themselves on ways to avoid these mistakes and pick the right software before they buy. Along those lines, here's a recent article that does a great job of outlining 10 software purchasing tips and explaining why they're important: http://www.mrc-productivity.com/blog/2013/07/how-to-buy-business-software-you-wont-regret-later/