Evaluating What Your Business Requires From A Software Solution

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Before determining how your the software should will be delivered (such as custom vs off the shelf) you first need a good handle on what you require from the software in question. If it’s something simple – basic business accounting software for example – the likelihood that a suitable off the-shelf solution already exists will be high. But if the improvement you hope to make is more unique to your business or can separate you in the marketplace, you may need to go for a custom solution in order to achieve positive results.Use the following checklist to get a sense of what you might need from your solution.

Identify the Aim and Desired Outcome

What is the goal of implementing this new piece of software? What is its mission statement? Perhaps you’re hoping to be able to sell your goods efficiently online, or you want to make better strategic decisions through the use of business intelligence. Try to make the goal of the software as clearly defined as possible – this will aid in streamlining the entire process. The endless capabilities of modern day software can allow for this aim and desired outcome to be quite literally anything.

Speak with Key Stakeholders

It’s important to get input from not just those on the higher rungs of your business’s corporate ladder, but also those on the frontline who’ll be dealing with the software firsthand. Employees with direct relationships to your customers, end users and IT personnel will provide some of the most valuable insights into what your solution should entail.

Compile a List of Requirements

Once you’ve spoken to your key stakeholders, come up with a complete list of requirements that your solution should be able to deliver. These requirements should represent everything that your ideal software solution should be capable of. Some examples include:

  • Simple functionality that allows people to operate the software easily and intuitively.

  • Access to comprehensive analytics on the data that the software gathers.

  • Measureable ROI on the software's performance.

Prioritize Those Requirements

Which of your listed requirements is most important to you? If you choose an off-the-shelf solution it will be very rare that every single one of your needs will be met, so it’s important that you prioritize your requirements and ensure the most pressing will be addressed. Mark each requirement either ‘MustHave’, ‘NicetoHave’ or ‘NoPreference’ in order to identify the most important aspects of your potential solution.

Examine Your Current Capabilities

What are the capabilities of your current business software systems? Should you look to include aspects of these systems in your new one, consolidating multiple pieces of software into one efficient program? Or does a piece of current software have the capability to be expanded or augmented to obtain your new goal? After getting a good sense of both what you need from your solution and what your business’s current state of affairs is, it’s time to begin researching options and evaluating those that match. Will these matches be custom, packaged or a bit of a mix? To learn more about making that decision download our, take a look at how custom and a off the shelf business software solutions differ in this ebook.

Custom Software or Off the Shelf?

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You’ve identified an area of your business that has room for improvement, whether that be in the form of an opportunity to streamline your operations, or the chance to capitalize on a new revenue stream. In order to create this improvement you’ll need a capable piece of business software. In this ebook, you’ll learn what to consider when building custom software vs. buying off the shelf.

If you are ready to discuss your specific challenges or what CSG can offer, you can contact us to learn more about how to start implementing your solution.