Business management software is more than just an accounting solution – it is a tool or set of tools that create efficiencies across your entire organization. For this reason, there are several factors that come into play when choosing new business management software.
In this ebook, we will cover:
• Business Management Software Options
• Deployment Options
• The Software Selection Process
• The Right Time for New Software
There are a variety of solutions in the market place today, ranging from small business to enterprise solutions. Below are some of the most common:
» Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree)
Small to Mid-sized Businesses
» Microsoft Dynamics
» Sugar CRM
» Dynamic CRM
However, not only should the solution be appropriate for the size of your business, but it should also meet your deployment needs and preferences.
Traditional deployment is considered on-premise. On-premise software is typically purchased upfront and installed on in-house servers. Businesses can also choose to have this software hosted, an option that uses someone else’s offsite hardware that is accessed from the office. On-premise software can also live in a co-location – an offsite location with company owned servers running the software. Co-locations typically provide added backup and security options as well.
On the opposite end of the software spectrum lives SaaS, or Software as a Service. SaaS is entirely internet-based (no servers or installation required) and is typically subscription based, a popular option for those looking for a more cost effective option.
On-Premise vs. SaaS: Pros and Cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to both on-premise and cloud solutions – it simply comes down to preference.
There are a variety of benefits of cloud-based solutions including flexibility, anytime/anywhere access, and automatic software updates. Reduced cost is also a major advantage since SaaS solutions do not require server/s space or software-specific IT resources to aid with updates and maintenance. However, if Internet access is interrupted or unavailable, a cloud solution might be more trouble than it’s worth. This may put a check in the “advantage box” for an on-premise solution.
Another advantage of on-premise software is the ease of product migration. It is often said that it is difficult to migrate data off of a SaaS system without issue or loss of data. Migrating data may not be an issue for your organization, but it’s definitely something to consider.
The Software Selection Process
Taking the time to include members of your organization in the selection process is key – especially those who will be directly impacted by the decision. The new solution should create efficiencies across the organization and allow for more streamlined processes overall. It is worth the time to document employee feedback (needs, wants, likes and dislikes) and take note of current system benefits and frustrations. Those who feel they have been involved in the selection process are more likely to adopt it post implementation.
Once team members are on board, it is important to research and interview a variety of vendors before making a final decision. Provide each vendor with a list of preferences and system requirements and then request a personalized demo. These demos should highlight the features and the benefits of the software based on your written requirements, and should be attended by anyone who will be using or impacted by the system. Reconvene with your team after each demo and be sure to discuss and document the pros and cons of each. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references or request documentation once a demo is complete. Scope of work documents and work plans will provide you with insights into a vendor’s project management style and/or project goals – which may or may not be a match. Ask vendors to walk through a typical implementation and provide examples of successful and unsuccessful projects. What do these look like? The more you know upfront, the easier your final decision will be.
The Software Selection Process
It is also important to understand the post implementation process and what you can expect in terms of support and guidance. Will a designated project manager be assigned? Can implementation references be provided for him/her? Do they have experience with similar projects and requirements? The post implementation process is often forgotten, but is just as important. Finally, request a quote for the product, service, and all ongoing expenses. If you have additional questions or simply need to see more, request another demo or ask for additional information. Choosing a software partner is just as important as choosing a software solution – so do what’s necessary to make the best decision possible. Once you’ve chosen your preferred system, begin by setting up a project kicko
ff meeting with both PMs (internal and external) to discuss the installation and configuration process, the data migration strategy, the training schedule, and your expected go live date!
The Right Time for New Software
Is it time for your organization to reevaluate its business management software solution? If any of these sound familiar – you may need to reconsider your software solution.
Too many spreadsheets.
If your accounting, HR and sales teams are using spreadsheets to track financials, document employee information, or monitor sales numbers and goals – it is time for new software! Important information should not be contained in disparate spreadsheets, but rather housed in a secure, central location that is easily accessible to those who manage it.
Slow, unreliable software is not only frustrating to employees, but it decreases productivity.
Support options become limited.
If your partner no longer supports your software solution, it may be time to make a switch. It is important to have a resource available when issues arise.
Decrease in employee morale.
Constant system “work-arounds” or missed deadlines due to an inadequate system and/or lack of resources can be extremely frustrating. It may even push an employee to seek employment elsewhere.
Putting It Together
Remember, choosing the right software and partner can revolutionize the way you do business. Get your team involved in the process. Watch a variety of demos. Ask questions. Request information. Ask more questions. Choose the right partner. Encourage adoption. And most importantly – don’t be afraid of change. There’s no wrong time to make a positive change!
About Oasis Solutions Group
Since 1991, Oasis Solutions Group has been serving businesses throughout the United States with software consulting, programming, training and support. With more than 100 combined years of experience, their consultants offer software expertise in accounting, human resource manage, sales force automation and custom software development. The software solutions provided improve operational efficiency, smarter internal management, a rapid return on investment and a stable platform for businesses to grow. More information can be found at www.Oasisky.com or by calling 502.429.6902.