Anyone who’s seen Pimp My Ride knows the meaning of “superfluous features” – in-door fish tanks, backseat popcorn machines, and fold-out-of-your-trunk dance floors come to mind. In the case of Pimp My Ride, it’s easy to distinguish superficially appealing features from useful ones.
Software shopping is a different case: buyers can be wooed by flashy features that end up costing more, complicating usability, and serving no real purpose. Use these tips to identify features that you actually need in your new software.
1. Need the Hook Up
Clearly, there are core features that a car requires: a steering wheel and an engine for starters. It’s harder to identify which features you need to steer your business in the right direction. Here’s a secret to help: don’t. Instead, focus on processes that you want software to help support. To identify these:
A. State the overarching objective of your business
B. List the core processes that contribute to that overarching objective
These processes should be the big drivers of your business and become your software “needs.” When the time comes to actually look at software options, first identify those with features that address all of your needs.
2. Dear Diary
Another way to help complete your list is to keep a diary of your issues with current processes, whether they involve software or not. Include:
A. Things that frustrate you
B. Tasks that seem to take too long
C. Anything you wish you could use software to do
Knowing what frustrates you about your current processes and what takes too much time can clue you in as to which software features will directly improve your efficiency. As far as the wish list you generate, look at each item and ask yourself if it is well-aligned with your original objective. If it is and would significantly improve your processes, add it to the “needs” list.
3. Use It or Lose It
At this point, you’ve generated a list of things that you see as needs. To differentiate between what truly is a “need” and what could be a cleverly disguised “want,” look at:
A. How many people will use a feature
B. How often a particular feature will be used
If the majority of users can benefit from a feature and will use it frequently then it’s a need. If, however, the feature serves only a specialized niche or is useful in the case of a possibility rather than a probability, it should go on a separate list of “wants.” These either function to improve the user experience or have a minimal impact on core processes and thus are not needs. If the niche truly requires a feature that most users can easily do without, consider a separate application.
The above tips should have helped you to identify your needs. Remember not to jump at the first software option that seems appropriate because there are a number of “good” choices that could get in the way of a great purchase.
Once you’ve used your needs list to find good choices, use your wants list as a tie-breaker. After all, there is nothing wrong with seat warmers in your vehicle, provided that it can get you from A to B in addition to keeping your rear warm. When you find the right software, it will meet your needs without causing you unnecessary worries – like trying to figure out how to feed the fish that live in your car door.
PS ~ If you want help identifying your needs, call one of our Buyer Advisers for some FREE expert guidance. Call us at 1-855-GO-SOFTWARE (1-855-467-6389) for a free consultation and let us help you unleash your potential with the powers of software!
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