Multiple or all-in-one software systems: where should your money go?

Money is easily spent, gone in the blink of an eye. One moment your budget is doing fantastic and extra money is sitting in the bank, waiting to be spent. Just one small slip can turn your financial situation upside down, leaving you with nothing and not a clue where it all went.

A good company often times uses a wide array of IT software programs in order to keep things organized, a best of the breed type of approach. Software can be used to keep track of and assess inventory. It can be used to track your cash flow and revenue that your business pulls in. IT software can also be used for monitoring, reporting and many other business related activities.

There’s nothing wrong with using multiple computer software programs in order to manage the multiple areas of a business. In fact, if it’s working well for you, there is no reason to stop this. Benefits include:

  • Not having to eliminate established systems in your organization that employees are accustomed to.
  • Having better and newer software programs to complete tasks more efficiently instead of one system that might lack in a certain area.
  • Able to establish long relationships with multiple software organizations which is beneficial to the growth of your organization.

However, it is important to keep in mind the price of each individual program you are using. IT software can be quite pricey, and running subscriptions for many of them can take a huge chunk out of your business revenue.

On the other hand, all-in-one, exclusive software packages can help you manage every aspect of your business, for one low price that will help keep money where it belongs. You can manage everything you could dream of, all in the same software with a single click of the mouse. Many businesses have now made the switch to these programs. Benefits include:

  • Saving money by using a one-stop solution.
  • Team members having less stress and your documents will be more organized.

Some people jump to strange conclusions here, thinking that it would be wise to drop all software and do things the old fashioned way in order to save a buck. Before you decide on hiring people to fulfill this task know that 63 per cent of IT managers say lack of budget is causes frustration when integrating a new tool. So be weary (and realistic) of going over budget.

How to choose the right system

Now that you know the benefits, organizations should consider an Request for Proposal (RFP) during the evaluation process. This proposal explains your company (culture, dynamics, etc.) and lists the information you need from the software you’re evaluating. It’s similar to a pro-con list, where vendors will check off what the product can and cannot do.

Consider these questions when drafting an RFP:

  • What is your company culture?
  • How much does your company benefit from software? Will it be vital to the organization?
  • What is your budget for software?
  • What is the softwares satisfaction rate? Customer service? What are the hours of support and how does their support department operate?
  • Does it do [insert function]?
  • Can the software export to these formats (XML, SQL, CSV, PDF)?

The structure of an RFP includes introductory of your company, questionnaire and instructions about how the vendor should submit replies. Most software companies will work with you to answer your questions and concerns–but organizations should make sure all vendors are treated equally during the evaluation process. Organizations don’t have to send RFP’s to vendors when considering software, but it is a more organized way to evaluate and determine software systems.

Managing a business is hard, but there is no reason to over complicate it. When considering software systems find the one, whether it’s multiple or all-in-one, that best fits your company culture and not your budget.

Robert Cordray
Robert Cordray
Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in the Southern California area and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s most likely with his beautiful wife and three children.

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