Buying software based on what is stated “on the side of the box” is a mistake. Too many businesses make costly mistakes because they look only at what the software manufacturer says about the software. There’s much more to finding, buying and implementing software. Picking the wrong software often makes things worse, rather than better.
After you have
- Assessed your business environment (see How to Find Good Business Software, Part 2)
- Completed at least the first round of figuring out requirements (see 3 Simple Steps to Figuring Out Your Software Needs), and
- Actually begun poking around for software (see 6 Places to Begin Your Small Business Software Search)
You may find software with seemingly miraculous capabilities.
Sometimes, when you read the package you have the feeling you’re reading the advertising on side of the box of the latest and greatest laundry detergent. You think, “Wow, there’s nothing that this product won’t do!”
All software has wonderful statements about everything it will do for you. The trap is these claims can begin “leading your thinking,” in the sense that in your mind the claims can displace some important things you discovered in the first three exercises.
The draw of some less-necessary-but-really-cool-sounding features is tempting, and you can lose sight of what’s most relevant to your business needs.
These claims can begin leading your thinking…
Don’t let the box tell you what you need.
I’m not saying “don’t ever change your list of requirements.” In fact, this is an iterative process: as you research, you learn; as you learn, you refine your list of desired features and functionality. BUT… always keep your priorities in order.
Remember all the things your key staff said were important, and remember all the things they said were not quite so important. If you think you’ve found the Holy Grail, something that no one anticipated, don’t just buy it! Go back to the staff and ask them what they think. Please!
Photo credit: Brian Morris