Inside Foundant – the Blog

The three most important questions to ask yourself when buying software

“Features” are lucrative, promising an easier way to do everything!  After all, experience has shown us that software can do almost anything.  Have you ever used a universal remote?  That is as close to magic as I have ever seen.  Push one button and you are watching a movie, push a different one and you are watching TV without having to figure out the six remotes to all the different components and their appropriate settings.  Simply amazing!

So how do you avoid getting caught up in all the features when buying software for an organization – especially when there are conflicting desires everywhere?

  • Sales wants features to make their life easier and save them time doing repetitive tasks.
  • Marketing wants more control over the customer experience.
  • Management wants better visibility into what is going on with the business.
  • Customer service needs the support process to be easy for customers to use.
  • Customers expect us to deliver exceptional service but don’t want their fees to increase to pay for new technology.

Unfortunately, software that does everything for everybody is non-existent.  So it came down to answering three very important questions.

  • What did we actually NEED to run our organization better?
  • What could we AFFORD to spend to gain these efficiencies?
  • WHAT WERE OUR EXPECTATIONS if we purchased the new software?

Answering these questions was not easy!  However, being armed with the answers to these three questions allowed us to talk to potential vendors about what we needed, what we could afford and how we would be able to verify that we accomplished our goals.  We could quickly eliminate vendors who could not meet our needs as well as ones we could not afford.  This process also kept us from getting focused on the features of the products we looked at but rather the value of the products as a whole.  In the end, we were able to be confident we chose the right products for our needs.

The next post will talk about the process of going from prospect to customer and will talk about the negotiation process and why we almost did not move forward with a purchase.

This article is part of our Software Buying Adventure Series by Mark Larimer. To read one of the previous posts, please click on one of these links:

Foundant Goes on a Software Buying Adventure
Recognizing the Need for a Change