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What to consider when purchasing software
(Part 2)

Reading time: 8-10 minutes

With our reliance on technology greater than it has ever been before, and steadily increasing, the software industry continues to grow at a phenomenal pace. With an industry so big, it can often prove difficult to evaluate which solutions will make operational and financial sense for your business.

In Part 1 we went through the best ways in identifying a solution and provider. This week we discuss the questions you need to ask and what you need to look out for in a potential provider.

Here are some things you should consider when you have identified the software that will work for you.

1. Build a relationship with the potential software provider

Relationships have become a key differentiator in the success of a business, be it with your customers, suppliers, or service providers. One of the first steps in building this relationship is identifying your first point of contact. If something were to go wrong who would you speak to first? If you needed a new feature implemented who would you ask? Generally, this would all be the same person and they would be your point of call. You can have many contacts, but everyone needs to know who to go to first when urgency is required.

When purchasing software, you want to have a partner and not a vendor. A partner will work together with you to find success throughout the course of your working relationship. A vendor views you merely as a means to make money and has very little regard for anything else. Capterra, the software review platform, says “the right software partner helps ensure your business grows and thrives by enabling you to meet mission-critical priorities in an efficient manner for the lifetime of your relationship”.

The better the relationship, the clearer the communication. Communication is key in ensuring you will receive the highest quality of service as you deploy and use your new software. From the software providers viewpoint, it is also in their interest to foster and grow this relationship. The feedback you provide them can help improve their offering, whilst word of mouth and referrals have become one of the strongest marketing channels available. Their goal should be to turn you into a customer evangelist for you to become a repeat customer who supports your brand with praise and purchases.

2. Know how your data is being treated and whether it is secure.

In today’s current climate, the way your data is treated when entering purchasing and using software is of paramount importance. The implementation of GDPR has meant that businesses simply cannot afford to make any mistakes in this department. You need total clarity on how your data will be collected, secured, stored and shared. The best place to start is by analysing and reviewing the security page of the potential software provider. Some of the compliance regulations you should consider according to FormStack include HIPAA, PCI, Section 508, WCAG and of course GDPR.

A privacy policy page or compliance page should detail all information you require regarding data storage, collection, and usage. If your data is to be hosted on the cloud, then you need to consider if they have a Data Protection Officer or an Information Security Manager and what International Information Security Standard ISO they have.

Other questions to ask your potential software provider include what safety measures are in place should there be a hack or breach? What is the safety record of your business? Who owns the data created using your software? If you are to go bankrupt what happens to our data? The software provider should have a comprehensive answer for all these and similar types of questions. If they do not have an answer for these types of questions, then this can be a strong indicator that they will not treat your data with the respect and importance that it needs to be treated with.

3. Ensure that you will receive the necessary support to make the software a success.

One of the biggest components of determining whether the software will be a success or failure is the level of support offered by the provider. Software can often be very complex and may require training to fully utilize the system. According to Capterra, the questions you should be asking of your potential provider are things such as, do they charge extra for training? Do they offer training videos? Do they have a customer support option you can contact should any difficulties arise? And do you have to pay extra for any of these facilities?

Administrate suggest that you should always be clear on whether you will have access to both product support, for example, a support team available via intercom, and business support, such as a dedicated account manager. The more support available the easier it will be to overcome any difficulties or technical issues.

Here at PageTiger we pride ourselves on transparency and hope that these tips can be useful for you and your business next time you are making a software purchase. These tips are based loosely on our past experiences with many of our distinguished customers.

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