The business software market is booming going into the 2020s, with projected compound annual growth rate for the sector reaching 11.7 percent through to 2030, according to Grand View Research. With the choices available in such a large market, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of not getting the best out of the business software suite you purchase. It could be due to lack of proper planning, poor integration, or not being able to train your employees to be more efficient with the software programs. Whatever the case may be with your business, here are some techniques you can employ to ensure that your business software value stays up.
Lay Out Implementation Plans Bound by ROI and Software Lifecycle
Two of the most important factors to software value are its ROI rate and its lifecycle. These are both time constraints, and thus are the most pressing elements of planning business software implementation. As you may have surmised, the ROI rate will have to take both initial and overhead costs into account. Initial costs being licensing, integration, and training; and overhead costs including operation, maintenance, and customization in the future. This will be compared against projected revenues estimated based on how much the new software will be able to contribute, and then adjusted according to the actual revenues you gain later on. Always have an exit strategy in case your business software doesn’t prove as lucrative as you initially thought.
The endpoint of your plan will be determined by the software’s lifecycle. This varies depending on the software, but you may be able to estimate when a certain piece of software will reach End-of-Life based on the developer’s release history. You’re strongly advised to abandon software at EOL, as unsupported software is a major security risk. Once you’ve established a broader layout bound by ROI rate and lifecycle, you can start plotting usage rules that will train your company to make the best use of the software during integration.It is also at this stage when you establish fallbacks and alternate tools when your main software tools fail or are insufficient.
Engage in Continued Optimization
Planning needs to be followed by optimization once the software has been deployed. Be on the lookout for ways to get more out of the software. Explore its advanced functionalities and trawl the internet for tips on how to best use them. It helps to have specific efficiency goals in mind. From here, you can work backwards to find out what your software can offer to help you reach that end.
A major part of optimization is to determine which pieces of software you have are hardly used, if at all. If they’re used only rarely, try to find larger software suites that can assume their function for a lower overall cost. If you cannot find uses for these tools, then they should be dropped from your repertoire as paying for its license would be entirely for nothing. It’s unlikely that you’ll get a full refund when you cancel a license, so this assessment is best done just before purchasing a new one.
Hone Your Integration Tactics
Your software needs to be properly integrated with your systems and processes in order to provide maximum value. If a task could be using your software tools but isn’t, then that’s efficiency lost. Make sure you pay attention to system interfaces as well. Some software suites can streamline the cooperation between different systems and minimize the likelihood of organizational silos popping up. For example, you can merge marketing and sales into a single workflow using automation tools for both. Marketing automation can feed vital info such as analytics and campaign construction strategies to sales for higher-quality leads. Meanwhile, sales automation can inform the larger marketing strategy with real-time feedback on which items sell the best and which customer relations moves go over well. Integration needs to be perfected from the organizational level to the individual process level, with techniques as simple as entering a Word Online code block becoming pivotal to squeezing every bit of efficiency out of your business. And that brings us to the importance of training each employee in the best use of your software tools to accomplish their tasks.
Ingrain Software Mastery Through Various Forms of Training
Failing to properly train your employees in your software tools will lead to an untold number of blockages in the workflow. Not to mention, having to wrestle with software, all the while stressing over how they’re not hitting their targets due to this difficulty, will greatly impact employee morale.
Each team member needs to become intimately knowledgeable about how your software suite can help them work through their tasks as quickly and effectively as possible. To that end, you need to seek well-versed trainers and explore alternative training methods. The trainers need to be familiar enough with the software to be able to relate it to each employee’s specific workflow. And since everyone learns in a different way, it would pay to arrange training solutions that make it as easy as possible to master the software. Look into everything from short video tutorials on certain features to keeping instant chat lines open to trainers.
Software is only as valuable as its ability to multiply productivity. Without sufficient input from management, it can only do so much on its own. But as long as you figure out how to work these focal points, you’ll be able to get your money’s worth out of any software suite you get for your business.