Buying software for your business is similar to any other investment – and just like other investments, it can be fraught with worry, second-guessing and confusion.
This is partly down to the companies offering the software and the market they operate in, as the breadth of choice means businesses must strive to stand out from their competition.
Features are thrown about with gay abandon, things you don’t need and don’t want are sold as the latest 'must-have feature' and you either end up with a system far too complex for your needs or simply far too expensive.
It's not just the providers causing problems, either. For many potential buyers, it might be the first time they've even considered buying software for their business – which can mean they don't have any idea of what their needs or options actually are.
Even the most technically-savvy business owner may be stumped when it comes to deciding which of the solutions available to them, each with their own way of working, will best meet their company's needs.
The field management software market is saturated with many good, and some bad, products designed for different kinds of companies.
This means that before you decide which of the options on offer you're going to invest in, it's absolutely crucial that you know exactly what you want to get out of your purchase.
Below, we look at the three easiest ways to determine what your company's needs are when it comes to investing in a software system.
Where are you losing money?
The main reason most companies look for a software solution is that they want save money – but before you can save money, you need to discover where you're losing it.
Go through your accounts and customer histories to see where invoices are missed or not sent. C
heck whether your use of your parts and appliances is efficient, and determine whether or not you are missing out on vital service work by not sending reminders to your customers.
If you can identify the source of your financial difficulties, regardless of the size of your business you can invest in software that provides a solution.
The right system can improve your company's invoicing efficiency, help you keep better control of your parts and even improve cash flow.
Where are you losing time?
Time is money, and after saving money saving time is the second most common reason companies say they invest in software.
All field management software solutions will offer ways of saving time, but the only way you will be able to invest in the right solution for your business is if you can identify the reasons you are losing time.
There are many places firms lose time, from slow administration – whether because of a paper-based office or your office staff maintaining inefficient admin workflows – to engineers regularly travelling long distances between jobs, which substantially cuts the amount of billable time they have in a day.
With such diverse issues it can be difficult to find one solution that can rectify everything, so determining your business' particular problem areas will mean you can make a decision on which software package could bring the most benefit.
What do your employees think?
You’d be surprised how often the owner of a business purchases software for the company without first consulting with the people who are going to be using it on a daily basis.
Simply asking your employees what they wish they could change about their working practices allows you to make an informed choice, but actively involving your key staff in the acquisition process makes sure you make the right choice for your firm.
Bringing your employees on board during the purchasing process also helps reduce any reluctance or resentment they may feel about having to change the ways they work, and can significantly cut down the amount of time it takes to get everyone up and running with the new system – after all, they helped choose it and should be looking forward to the ways it will make their lives easier!
Most importantly, however, getting your staff involved will give you an insight into their daily frustrations and help you make sure you're buying something that will genuinely work for your team.
Making the right choice for your company
These three ways to help you decide which software solution to buy really can mean the difference between buying the right solution and spending loads of money on something that simply isn't suitable, but this isn't by any means an exhaustive list.
In our next article, we're going to be looking at some common dishonest and disingenuous practices when it comes to selling field management software so you're better prepared if someone tries to use them on you.
Buying field management software might take a bit of research, and the procurement process may still be lengthy, but after reading this series you'll be able to go into it knowing exactly what's going to provide the largest number of benefits for you and your company. If you want to see what our service can provide, take a look below!