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Planning a Software Purchase? Here's What You Should Consider

Planning a Software Purchase? Here's What You Should Consider

Are you planning a major investment in software for your small business? If so, you may be wondering how to choose, implement, and integrate these software packages into your existing workflows and operations. There are some issues that companies face during the software purchasing process. These boil down to a few simple factors that will determine the overall success of your software in producing measurable and positive results for your company and staff. Project 3D Printers offers some ideas to help you through this process.

Scalability

Gartner defines scalability as the "measure of a system’s ability to increase or decrease in performance and cost." In practical terms, this means that if you need added functionality, added users, or increased power from your software package, you'll be able to make those changes without starting from scratch with a new software system. This is especially important for small businesses that expect to grow over the next few years. Most software as a service (SaaS) options are built to be scalable. Determining the scalability of the software you're considering can save you time and money in the long run.

Number of Users

An issue that goes hand-in-hand with scalability is licensing. SaaS packages often come with a preset number of users or interactions for a specific price point. As your business continues to grow and gain customers, however, you may find these initial user allotments and transactions are not adequate to suit your needs. Investigating the costs of upgrading or downgrading your SaaS arrangement will help you navigate the constantly changing consumer and business-to-business marketplaces.

SaaS or Perpetual Licensing

According to the research firm, Revenera, software companies are increasingly moving to a subscription service model that requires regular payments in exchange for access to the software and to the upgrade, update, and server maintenance services provided by the software company. If you lack in-house expertise in IT, SaaS options may be a solid choice for your business. For companies that do have IT staff on-site, however, perpetual licensing agreements could be an option that will limit the ongoing costs of the software you select.

Integration

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." Nowhere is this more applicable than in the software acquisition field. Even the simplest software packages will require adjustments in workflows, working strategies, processes, and hardware setups. Thinking about how your software will work with existing platforms and workflows will allow you to plan more effectively for integrating expense tracking, time management, and project management tools into your current business operations.

Buy or Build?

Whether you’re working with an accounting program or incorporating a state-of-the-art 3D printer or scanner into your office, choosing software off the shelf or out of the box can often be a cost-effective solution for smaller businesses. Building your own software can be a costly mistake, especially if comparable software packages are available for purchase in the commercial marketplace. Most commercially available software packages offer some options for tweaking and customizing the entry and output parameters. This can allow you to integrate new software without paying a premium price for custom software for your company.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The single biggest factor for your software purchasing decision should not be the cost of the system. Instead, look at the benefits you expect to achieve with the new software. This applies to the services you may choose to use as well. For example, if you use a company like ZenBusiness to register your business with the state, you’ll quickly discover that the service you receive greatly outweighs the cost — especially when compared to hiring an attorney to handle this paperwork for you. For under $50 and in the space of a couple of hours, you can set up legally and be ready to start generating income. While cost can’t drive all of your decisions, sometimes you can get more than what you pay for. 

By considering scalability, adaptability, and cost-benefit calculations, you can make the most practical choices for your company when acquiring new software. This can add up to far greater stability and profitability in the competitive marketplace.

Founded in late 2018, Project 3D Printers is a Long Island based company that serves the online community with our easy to navigate shopping experience and informative blog posts.
Next article A Guide to Starting a 3D Printing or Laser Engraving Business, by Vanessa Holwell

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