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Software Buying 101: From selection to implementation, for any organization

Buying Business Software and the Temptation to Shortcut

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My wife and are in the middle of buying kitchen appliances.  Given that we have never purchased appliances before, there are so many choices, they’re expensive and we will use them so much; we are doing quite a bit of research – more than I ever would have imagined.  We have gone to different showrooms, read reviews online, browsed through product literature, talked to friends and read lots of opinions on forums.buying business software temptation shortcut

At numerous points along the way, I have been tempted to just go with the top choice in Consumer Reports and call it a day.  I certainly didn’t do this much research when I bought my car.  But as soon as I say that and read online reviews of the top CR picks, I go back to doing the research.

Of course, throughout this whole process, I can’t help but relate it to Capterra – and the process of buying any kind of software for a business.  Most people making the purchase are making it for the first time.  There are usually dozens, if not hundreds, of software choices available. They typically run anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.   And we stand to benefit tremendously (or to feel frustrated to no end) from the software that we buy.

For these kinds of purchases, there is a tremendous amount of risk involved.  One software product can help catapult your company to the next level.  Another one can drag you down for months or even longer.  So how do you reduce the risk?  The same way you do when buying your kitchen appliances:

1)  Seriously consider what your needs and priorities are.   What do you need the software to do?

2)  Include all stakeholders.  Not asking the end user for their opinion on a software demo is akin to not asking your spouse (whoever does the cooking) for their opinion on the oven.

3)  Talk to your peers.  And not just the testimonials provided by the vendors.

4)  Be thorough.  Consider as many choices as you can.

Many software buyers just look at the first few products they come across, or use whatever their colleague is using, or go with the market leader – and come to regret it later.  Your company’s specific needs and end users are different from everyone else’s so recognize that and avoid the temptation to cut the process short!  It may take you a little longer, but it will probably save you many headaches in the long run.

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About the Author

Michael Ortner

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Mike started Capterra in 1999 as the first website dedicated to helping people find the right software for their business. Today, Capterra lists over 30,000 software companies, displays more than 250,000 software reviews, and receives over 3,000,000 monthly visitors. He's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fox News, and Inc. Magazine, among other publications, where he's spoken on topics ranging from the business software industry to running and growing a business in the 21st century. Mike received a business degree from Georgetown University and a philosophy degree from the University of London. He lives in McLean, VA with his wife and six children.

Comments

Hi…

Great post, by the way. I totally agree. You have busines oners that say that they want to be profitable, but then they try and buy the cheapest business software possible.

And when it comes to business software, you typcially get what you pay for. It takes a lot of work to develop these complicated software tools, and so many of the better options are also a little more expensive.

But using the business software tools effective can almost always increase your profits, whether through the reduction of expenses, or the generation of additional income.

Bottom Line: purchasing quality business software products is an investment in your business.

Sincerely,

Jackson Golde

[…] Of course, it’s easy to say, “Sit down and plan before looking for software.” It’s a lot harder to actually do it (and not be tempted to take shortcuts). […]

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