So what do you do when you need to go on the hunt for new software? Do you have to commit time to all these trials and demos while disclosing your email address to so many people? And is there any way to avoid a long-term contract?
To help you approach these questions with eyes wide open, here are seven important lessons we've learned over the last decade:
1. Ideal software doesn’t exist. Stop investing hours of your time looking around for the perfect solution, because it doesn't exist. Instead, take a less-of-all-evils approach to finding the right software. Choose a software that makes the most sense for today, and stop putting so much weight on future requirements.
2. Avoid contracts you can’t cancel. Have you ever thought an idea was good today, but then changed your mind tomorrow? Be cautious of companies that make you sign long-term contracts you can't get out of. Most times, they don't turn out the way we intend. Instead, see if there are solutions that will allow you to cancel within a reasonable period of time.
3. Two-way or no-way. There's nothing worse than having handcuffs around your data. Be sure the software you choose allows you to migrate your data in, and out. This needs to be a two-way street, with no exceptions. Test the data export capabilities to ensure it's in a format you can use later down the road.
4. Don’t tinker in the trial. We're all guilty of signing up for a trial or scheduling a demo without knowing what we want. Have a plan in place to ensure you're making the most use of your time during a trial environment or during a live demo. Think of three things you'd like to achieve, and stay focused.
5. Validate everything. Are there certain must-have features pulling you towards one software over another? Be sure to put these features to the test during your trial period or demo. Even though the software company states these features exist on their website doesn't mean they're working 100%. Validate everything so you're not setting yourself up for future disappointment.
6. Software won’t create momentum. There's no such thing as fully-automated software. You still have to create the strategy, configure it, and measure progress. While software can speed up your momentum, always remember it will never create it for you. You're in charge of your own momentum.
7. Never underestimate the learning curve. Software fails for two reasons. First, we don't see the importance of having a sound strategy in place before activating the software. Second, we underestimate how much time and effort it'll take to learn the basics of the new software environment. The results? We get frustrated, overwhelmed and stuck.
Watch the video above for the full lesson and always remember when it comes to investigating software for your next initiative, #TrustButVerify!
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