Our use of software these days is inevitable. If you are someone who is operating as an employee or employer, the use of the software is inescapable. Especially for the self-employed, you need software to streamline your operations. The thing is though that there are countless software packages in existence. New ones are introduced every day and pre-existing ones are regularly updated. Then again you are operating in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment. This calls upon you to make smart, balanced decisions in your choice of software to use. Here are some things to note to choose the right software:

SOPs Can Is A Key Starting Point

I have underscored this before that in your operations you need to have SOPs. I am referring to standard operating procedures. These are detailed outlines of how certain things are supposed to flow in your operations. These could be things like query handling, hiring process, or appraisals, just to mention a few. If you have such SOPs in place you are better placed to know what kind of software you would need. You would simply juxtapose your SOPs against what particular software’s features are. Again those SOPs in themselves even reveal gaps that can be filled with the use of the software. Overall mean SOPs will show you whether or not you need software and exactly what type of software to use.

Business And Industry Dynamics

There are operational and regulatory aspects that govern every context. Someone running a restaurant business and someone running an online clothing shop is not the same. There are operational issues that affect either, differently. There are industry standards and dynamics that are specific to either as well. Just as an example, either of the two might need automated bulk SMSing in different ways. One might need it on a small scale and probably in a standalone way. What I mean is that they might simply want a means to bulk SMS, period.

The other might need a way to integrate the bulk SMSing function into their system. This implies at best they would have a solution that has an option to get an API. The type of software could differ simply based on those operational dynamics. On the regulatory side, let us suppose you want to receive payments online. You need software that guarantees, for example, data protection and privacy plus secure payment processing. These are scenarios that show you that you must consider business and industry dynamics when choosing software.

Everything Must Be Inclusive And Collaborative From The Onset

The choice of software to use must not be a one-person undertaking. Even if you are a sole trader, you do not operate entirely alone. Chances are you will have a team and various types of other people or entities you work with. You need to include all these elements when brainstorming which software to use. Several years back I used to work at a certain national organization. There was once a time when they wanted to source new software to replace the existing database management system (DBMS). They only did consultative discussions with a few and not everyone. They ended up purchasing the software from a Swiss company.

Had they been inclusive of everyone working in the organization, they would have discovered I could have developed that software myself. Later on, it became apparent that the software had shortcomings. This was particularly so concerning the department I was working under. I ended up developing separate software to cover that gap. Had we all been included and collaborated with from the onset, none of that would have happened. This is just a real-life example to show you the importance of inclusive collaboration as a key to choosing the right software.

When those 3 considerations are given adequate attention everything else will be smoother. You will have to marry those 3 with budgetary considerations as well. Software that is costly but delivering what you need might not always be the best option. What if other options are delivering the same but much cheaper? You must shop around and do comparisons – have at least 3 options to consider. Never blindly just go for one possible solution. Weigh on whether it is best to get off-the-shelf software or have custom-written software. You must also do rigorous testing before you substantively settle for software. All these aspects will become smoother if you lay the proper foundation. The proper foundation is the 3 considerations we discussed in this article.