If the software budget for your business is ballooning, you’re hardly alone. Companies buy 10 times more software products now than they did a decade ago. The reasons are obvious to any entrepreneur: The right tool can streamline operations, increase customer value and give you a leg up on competitors.
There’s an enterprise app or software to handle just about any task, from financial analytics and inventory management to ordering and customer relationship management. And when a company of any size embraces all that enterprise software has to offer, it can run leaner—which is usually a boon to the bottom line.
But the tsunami of software that most business execs are feeling isn’t purely one of opportunity. Here are the most common headaches of sifting through the software storm—and how to emerge both sane and competitive.
We get it. You’re facing an infinite sea of new software releases, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re missing out on some next-gen tool that could revolutionize your business. But your IT department is too time-strapped to fend off the vendors that have found their way to your door (or email inbox, at least), let alone sift through reviews on new tools with smaller marketing budgets.
Stay Sane: Kill your ad hoc approach to finding the right software and consider, instead, leaning on an expert. A third-party company with a deep understanding of the business software landscape will be able to size up your business and make strategic suggestions regarding which software to add, ditch or upgrade. And because that company isn’t making money based on how much software you can buy, you can trust their recommendations.
Many business owners make this mistake, assuming that dealing with just one software that offers a suite of applications will save them time and money. That can be true—but it might also mean you’ve sacrificed the best-of-breed version of the software in the name of streamlined interactions. You might be missing out on superior functionality, or paying for tools that you don’t actually need, because they’re part of some complicated software bundle.
Stay Sane: Rather than pick one software company to sell you most of your applications—and pray that you don’t wind up with a stinker in the suite—shift where you’re trying to consolidate. By working with a vendor management firm, you’ll still be able to streamline those interactions between your team and the help desk, but you can rest easy that you’ve got the best version of each and every software application your business needs.
The pace of business today means there’s no one shiny, new software solution on the horizon—there are hundreds. But it can feel wasteful to invest in new tools when your teams are still struggling to learn the ins and outs of the software you’re currently using.
Stay Sane: Don’t resist adopting awesome new apps just because your IT team can’t handle the questions that employees will have or doesn’t have the time to make sense of everything you already have in house. If your IT team is that strapped, consider shifting to a streaming IT model. That gives employees around-the-clock access to a help desk that knows the ins and outs of the software—so you can make sure your team is getting the full value out of every software dollar you spend.
Business software is designed to boost the productivity and efficiency of your business. Take the right steps to make sure software continues to be an asset and not a hindrance.