Evaluation & Preparation
This post is part one of a three part series on how to select POS & Business Management Software for your business. The first stage is preparation which we will be discussing today.
Choosing a major software package is not a decision that should be made lightly. A smart shopper evaluates the item they are interested in before ever putting money down. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes without checking the size, trying them on to see how they fit and asking questions. Choosing a software program should be no different.
Here's what to evaluate for your business:
1. Size of your business - you should understand the size of your business to determine if the software program will “fit.” If you equate your business to a Toyota, there's no sense in buying a software meant for a Mercedes. Be sure to talk to a knowledgeable salesperson, ask for a thorough demonstration, customer references, and be sure to ask specific questions as they pertain to your unique business and operations, as well as growth plan.
2. IT Infrastructure - What software and hardware are already in place that need consideration for either integration or migration away from? What hardware will you need to add to support the new system if any? How knowledgeable are you in this type of transition or will you need help throughout the process?
3. Solutions - Before searching for a software provider you need to understand what is and is not working now. What procedures do you have in place that need to be integrated? Are your employees consistent in following internal processing procedures? If not, why? Are the procedures you have in place organized? Or do you have paper trails that are a mile long?
4. Evolution - Lastly, when preparing for a new software program it’s important to think about where you want your company to be in 5-10 years. Will you need a software program that can handle multiple stores or centralized warehousing? Why is this important? Well, not all software programs can smoothly manage multiple locations or may not handle multiple locations at all. By thinking about your company’s future you limit the threat of having to purchase new hardware and/or a new software program as your business grows.
Analyzing your business will also help identify any weaknesses in your company. Implementing a software program into a chaotic business model is pointless. You’ll be unhappy, you’re employees will be unhappy and time and money will have been wasted.
Keep your eyes out for part two of our series where we will discuss selecting the right software vendor and considerations for hardware.