Choosing a Software Company:
What's really important?

Five considerations

In this blog, we identify other considerations that can make using software and dealing with software companies an enjoyable or frustrating process. I am sure you have experienced both.

1. How is the product developed and released?
This is perhaps the most important point as you consider how the software will continue to meet your future needs. The more stringent a company’s software development procedures, the more reliable and inline with your needs the product will be and the fewer surprises you’ll experience.

It is important that developments are made inline with the majority of needs and that you are informed of them. Check pre-release quality assurance processes and ask to see examples of help files or training manuals, check they are up-to-date with the software and easy to follow.

2. What customer support does the company offer and who can access it?
As a minimum, ask to see the service level agreement and check who can access the support. If you prefer to speak to someone, check this is possible and how your calls will be logged and tracked. What is the average time it takes for queries to be resolved?

3. Is the product a data factory or a data warehouse?
If you are buying management software, can you do what you want with the information you enter or will it just be stored like a warehouse? If the product comes with pre-defined reports, will this be enough now and in the future? Software with reporting engines that let you choose your analysis enables you to get more from your information, more effectively measure impact and offer better value for money.

4. Who else does the company work with and how does that support you?
If a product connects with other software, such as your management information system or your single sign-on, it removes irritations for staff and makes their experience much slicker, as well as saving time. It also demonstrates that a company understands your wider needs and is working to satisfy them.

5. Speak to customers
A company that works well with its customers will instantly be able to give you a list of users to speak to and may have a customer advocacy programme. Speak to these users and ask the points we have covered above, as well as how well the staff like using it.

Don’t forget your role
Successfully using software is a two-way process and the better you work with the company, the more successful it will be.

1.Stay informed
It is important you are receiving the company’s communications and sharing key points with staff. Find out how and when updates are shared to ensure you receive them, including emails, social media, webinars and user group meetings. If you see the company exhibiting at an event, speak to them, they will enjoy talking to you.

2. Be trained and train others
If training is offered, ensure the appropriate people are trained, no matter how busy they are. Keep an eye out for additional training opportunities which, if online, are often free. Plan staff training and include it in new staff induction.

3. Plan a proper implementation
You will have your own priorities but also ask the company for advice about implementing the software. Selecting one or two people to lead it in your school or organisation will further help it to be a success and, if you are implementing for September or a key date, give priority to it on your first staff training day.

Reassurance from Derventio
Because we are a software development company, you can be confident that we follow the latest development and testing methodologies to deliver the highest quality software. Developing in-house means we keep our costs down and remain in close contact with our customers and their needs. Find out more about how easy we are to work with here

Find out more

Talk to our team today to find out how Derventio Education software can support you and your colleagues.

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