Digital technologies can help your business grow

Businesses that have adopted a digital technology have seen sales per employee grow by between 7% and 18%, depending on the type of software. But business growth, and improved efficiency and productivity, can only be achieved by choosing the right software.

6 steps to choosing the right software

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6 steps to choosing the right software for your business

Digital technology can help your business grow and become more efficient – but only by choosing the right software.

This guide will steer you through the software buying process, helping you make the right choice.

Step 1 – Set your objectives

What do you want to achieve?

It could be:

  • Finding an easier way to manage sales opportunities

  • Managing and improving customer relationships

  • Spotting trends in your sales data

  • Tracking your payments and reducing paperwork

  • Or connecting your teams.

When you know what you want to achieve, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need your software to do.

Step 2 – Write your requirements list

Think about how you need the software to work.

Ask yourself:

  • How many people will use it?

  • Do I need support to get it up and running?

  • Does my new software need to integrate with existing or future systems?

  • Research the specific features and functionality your business might benefit from, to create a requirement list for your new software.

Step 3 – Know your budget

Make sure your software is affordable. Before you buy, know what you’re paying for, to avoid getting stung with extra costs.

Consider the following:

  • Does a one-off cost suit you better than a monthly subscription?

  • Are you already paying for multiple software products or solutions that could be replaced with just one?

  • Will you need to pay per user? Are there extra installation and ongoing support costs?

  • You need to consider how the software is going to help your business save or make money.

Step 4 – Buy with confidence

  • Comparison tools and trade magazines give a great overview of what’s on the market, but they’re not always independent and don’t always give the full pros and cons.

  • Do your own research and contact the suppliers to ask questions as you create your shortlist of products.

  • Once you’ve got your product shortlist, think about the type of supplier you want to work with.

  • If your conversations are full of jargon, make sure they’re explaining the product clearly and honestly, in a way you can understand.

  • Likewise, it’s great to know the software is packed with features, but how many will you actually use? If the salesperson is busy promoting everything the software can do, are they actually listening to what you need?

  • Get quotes and if possible, a free test trial of the software you’re interested in.

Step 5 – Make it work for your team

  • Change can be unsettling for your team. Ask yourself: who will be affected by the new software, and what will that mean for their day-to-day work?

  • Support your team by explaining how the software will benefit them.

  • This could be by simplifying time-consuming tasks or offering more flexibility in how they work.

  • Getting your staff on board early and involving them at each stage of the adoption process can help them to own and embrace change, making successful implementation much more likely.

  • Good communication and training can help fight that uncomfortable feeling of the unknown, empowering your team to successfully adopt the new software.

  • Remember to set a launch date at a convenient time that won’t cause too much disruption.

Step 6 – Get your money’s worth

Finally, when your new software’s in place, check in to ensure the software is delivering as promised and hitting targets.

Go back to your main objective from step 1 and use the requirements list you made in Step 2 as a guide.

Get your team involved too. Run a workshop after 3 and 6 months to check how the software’s being used.

Does it still seem new? Can your team imagine working without it? If some processes have gone back to the old way of working, why? Is it because the software hasn’t fulfilled that need, or do staff need more training?

Understanding what could have gone better as well as what’s gone right will help you to maximise what the software can do for you in the future, including knowing when it’s time to upgrade.

Take a look at our Help to Grow: Digital online platform to find out more. Including how to access up to £5,000 in discounts on eligible software.

Our 6-step adoption guide

Following our 6 steps will steer you through the buying process, so you can make the right choice.

Step 1: Set objectives for new software

Before you think about which software to buy, you need to know what problems you want it to solve. Work out why you’re buying it and what you want it to achieve.

Step 2: Write your requirements list

Download our checklist to help you draw up a list of the features you need software to have. This will help you compare products and choose the right one for you.

Step 3: Calculate your software budget

Download our 2 checklists to help you understand the potential financial benefits and savings, plus the financial costs, you need to consider before buying software.

Step 4: Buy software with confidence

Once you know what you can spend on new software, it’s time to talk to suppliers, get quotes and trial some products. Find out the questions to ask and what to watch out for.

Step 5: Make new software work for your team

There are lots of potential challenges when introducing new technology into your business. Download our checklist for tips to help ensure that getting buy-in from your team isn’t one of them.

Step 6: Get your money’s worth

With your new software in place, it’s time to review whether it’s achieving everything you wanted it to, or whether it needs improvements. Here’s how to do it.