What to consider when evaluating software

Whether acquiring software initially to solve an unmet need, or considering replacement for an existing, but inadequate solution, here are several ideas to consider and evaluate:

  • How would conversion to the software happen?  For example, can data be initially loaded via spreadsheet, or must it be entered manually?
  • Can data within the system be easily downloaded into a usable format for analysis within spreadsheet programs?
  • What are the ongoing maintenance costs, considering (a) licensing, (b) hardware, (c) vendor support?
  • To what extent does the software integrate with others that you may be using, such as accounting programs, scheduling applications, email, and text messaging?
  • If the application handles credit cards, is it compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards?
  • What is involved with adding users?
  • How are upgrades handled?
  • To what extent is the vendor willing and able to enhance the software to better serve your work processes?

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