Colleague feedback is key to choosing the right business software—learn how to collect that feedback with these tips.
Organizations adopt new software to solve a problem. For that to happen, you need to find the right software to meet your needs. Yet a change in software will affect many people at your organization, not just the direct users. So it’s important to get feedback while searching for the right product.
While you may already have a shortlist of software options, don’t skip out on getting feedback from your colleagues. By getting input early in the process, you’re more likely to find the right product. And ultimately, you’ll feel more confident and satisfied with your software purchase.
Learn how to get colleague feedback on your software search with these tips.
3 ways to include colleagues in your software search
1. Treat software selection like a team sport
It’s important to identify all teams that will be impacted by a software change and include coworkers from those groups in the decision-making process.
It might seem like a bottleneck step in a process where leadership (or whoever is responsible for the final purchase decision) can ultimately make a decision without outside input. But if you don’t collect team input, you risk selecting the wrong software or facing an uphill battle on adoption.
At the very least, you need a sample of individuals who will use the software every day, a finance person, someone from leadership, someone with technical expertise, and someone from your legal team. We’ll talk more below about what each of these roles can bring to the conversation.
2. Stick to 3 to 5 software options to avoid overload
There’s a phenomenon known as “choice paralysis,” which boils down to: Don’t give people too many choices or they’ll disengage and not choose anything. The same principle applies to getting software feedback from your team.
Give them between three and five options instead of 20. You’ll avoid choice paralysis, and have a decision sooner rather than later. You’ll also likely get richer feedback, since your team will have more time to comment in-depth on a few options than they would for many.
To start building your shortlist, log in at Capterra and save your favorite products from our software directory.
If you’re struggling to narrow down your list, try our compare feature: Find your software category on Capterra, click the “Add to Compare”checkbox on specific products you’re considering, then click “Compare Now” to get a consolidated overview for a more efficient product comparison.
3. Tailor your discussions for each audience
People from different teams need different information about each software option as it relates to their roles. And because different teams bring their own sets of expertise, you’ll want these perspectives represented in the feedback you gather.
Here’s a breakdown of what different groups might want to know and what they can offer:
Finance will ask how much the software will cost, and what the maintenance fees associated with each option are. They can share insight on the software budget for the short and long term.
- What to share: Bring the price of each software option, the cost of maintenance or potential upgrades, the number of paid users for the software, and any other costs your business might face in adopting each option.
- What to ask: Make sure you leave this discussion with a clear understanding of the budget available for software now and whether that budget is likely to change in the next few years. You should also ask finance about their payment preferences (e.g. do they want you to pay annually, which can mean that you get a discount from the software vendor, or monthly to spread out costs over time).
Legal will want to know if the software has a track record of data security compliance and honoring customer contracts. They can highlight any concerning language to watch out for during contract negotiations.
- What to share: Bring details of how the software interacts with and stores data, what its data security standards are, and whether or not it’s compliant with U.S. state regulations and GDPR in the U.K. (among other relevant legislation).
- What to ask: This team can help you prepare for what to ask the vendor during contract negotiations. They can also provide insight on red flags they look for in contracts.
Leadership will ask whether your shortlisted software options will streamline processes, make work more efficient, help meet business goals, and solve specific problems.
- What to share: Make sure leadership understands what the software options you selected can and can’t do. Don’t make them wade through information: Bring them the high-level pros and cons, the cost, and potential resulting business improvements.
- What to ask: Leadership can help you understand their priorities for new software, which can help you narrow down your shortlist and ultimately select your top choice. You should ask whether they care more about cost or features, as well as their long-term version for technology at the company.
Users will want to know how these software options will help them do their jobs, as well as how any current processes will change. They can provide insight on which features are essential and which features they wish they had in your current software.
- What to share: Bring a pros and cons list for the different features available with each solution, paired with information on how the features facilitate productivity.
- What to ask: Learn about any pain points your team currently faces, either because you don’t have software or because your current software isn’t the best fit. Ask users to share what they’d love to get out of a new solution. For specific questions to ask your team when comparing software, follow this conversation guide.
Technical experts can speak to issues related to compatibility, integrations, and implementation. They can also give insight into the technical specifications of software options.
- What to share: Bring information on must-have integrations for other software you currently use. You should also outline whether the software options you’re considering are cloud-based or on-premise.
- What to ask: If you’re not well-versed in the technical details of the software options, ask for a summary of key technical information. You should also ask about any implementation issues they foresee.
The importance of getting meaningful team feedback on software options
Buying software, while a big accomplishment, is not the finish line. The true goal is a successful transition to implementing and using the new software.
For that transition to be successful, it’s essential to get team buy-in before you purchase software. Getting preliminary feedback earlier in the process, using these three tips, will make buy-in and software adoption easier down the road.
In case you missed it, read our other foundational guides on the software-buying process:
Visit Capterra to start researching software options and saving products for your shortlist.