At Teamdeck, we regularly talk with people working at different software development companies. When demoing our resource management app and onboarding new clients, we learn about their typical processes and issues. We've noticed that many software houses...
IT companies should be great at selecting appropriate software for their business needs, right? After all, they understand how different tools work, and perhaps they even work on developing a business app themselves.
Still, the process of business software selection can be tricky even for software companies.
There’s a lot at stake here: choose the right tools, and your team’s productivity will grow. However, if you invest in an app that’s not well-tailored to your needs, it can be a huge loss of time and money. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of tips you can follow when you’re tasked with picking new software for your team.
What kinds of apps does a software house typically need?
As a software consultancy, you’re likely working on projects for multiple clients at any given moment. In order to keep all projects under control, you will need a project management app. A resource management solution will help you plan and monitor your team members’ schedules and workload. Whether your company is remote-first or not, a good communication and video call app will also come in handy. On top of that, you have to think about the right software to support other business processes: recruitment, onboarding, marketing, accounting, etc.
Then, there are tools that help your employees do their job. If you have a group of in-house designers, they will need some apps for wireframing, creating interfaces, or reviewing designs with clients. Programmers themselves will use code editors and version control tools. Add to that a bug tracking app for your testers, and you have a pretty hefty collection of products your teammates will use daily.
How can you make sure you pick the best products for your company?
Choosing software for your business: 9 tips
Evaluate your needs
As you begin the selection process, you need to know precisely what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you risk spending money on new software just because it feels like a great app, not because your organization truly needs it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve with the new system?
- What’s been stopping your team from achieving full productivity in a given area?
- What do you like and don’t like about the tool you’re currently using?
Such questions will help you focus on your requirements and, ultimately, make a more informed decision when selecting software.
Find a trusted advisor
Working at a software house, you likely understand different aspects of how systems work really well. Still, when you’re looking for an app that’s not necessarily for you but, e.g., for your marketing team, you may not fully understand all of the requirements or nuances. That’s why it’s important to find someone who will assist you in the process of picking new software. This person may help you with the research and participate in product demos to see how different solutions compare.
Ask your team members
Software companies like yours have a great upside in that their employees are usually familiar with many different apps available on the market. This knowledge stems from experience working for different teams but also the general understanding of the software landscape. Don’t miss out on this opportunity, and reach out to your teammates when researching software options. Your colleagues will surely have some ideas in mind, plus they might also be able to discuss different products’ strengths and weaknesses.
Keep your requirements in mind
Sure, it’s tempting to regularly try new tools or browse Product Hunt daily, looking for exciting new apps. As a person working in the IT industry, it’s natural that you’re curious about the latest trends. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to be tempted just by flashy features or innovative ways of approaching a given problem. Before you decide to invest, make sure you go back to your business requirements and check if a given app meets them truly. Just because an app makes a great first impression doesn’t mean you shouldn’t evaluate it carefully. After all, you don’t want to find out after some time that a workflow your team is used to will not be possible to achieve with this new software.
Think about onboarding
Looking for new business software may be a lengthy process, but even once you decide, you still have to get your team on board. It’s important to think about this process beforehand. Trying out software is a good opportunity to talk to the people behind it and see the level of customer service a given software vendor offers. Will you be able to count on their support once you become a paying customer? Do they organize training sessions for new clients (and their teams)? At Teamdeck, we often organize onboarding sessions for our clients’ teams or provide video-instructions tailored to a given company’s needs. Finding a truly customer-centric software vendor can be a huge benefit for your business.
Look for apps that support your development team
When you’re working at a software house, programming is the bread and butter of your company. This is why IT businesses must pick solutions that work well with the software development lifecycle or support smooth collaboration between your development team and other employees. For instance, many IT teams like to work with Jira because it’s easy to map different software development workflows there. Zeplin, on the other hand, is a tool that simplifies the lives of both programmers and designers when it comes to design handoffs.
Use tools that are flexible.
Some apps have been designed for a specific industry, say a hospitality vertical, but you will usually have fairly universal apps. At the same time, you want the right software to work in line with your team’s processes. This is why it’s best to select a product with flexible options, and tailor different features to your use cases.
For instance, we’ve designed Teamdeck’s custom fields you assign to your employees and projects to give our clients a way to fit our software to their needs. Say that you have a resource calendar and you want to filter your resources to find the best people for an upcoming project. Some companies may want to filter people based on their location. Others will pay attention to job titles or seniority. Software houses may find it useful to be able to find people fluent in a certain technology. With custom fields, you can assign your resources to any of these categories or create a completely different filtering system.
Evaluate potential integrations
In order to have a well-oiled tech ecosystem, your tools should work great together. When evaluating a new business app, make sure to check its integration capabilities. Many solutions have built-in connections, but a robust open API will probably be the best and most flexible option for software houses. If you prefer a no-coding-required integration, you can always ask whether a given app can be connected with other products via Zapier or If This Then That.
Think about the costs (and go beyond the subscription)
Sure, it may be tempting to look at free software as a way to reduce business costs. However, you have to realize that costs lie not only in the subscription price tag. If a free app requires many workarounds to meet your needs, it could end up costing you more than expected. When evaluating costs think about the subscription, the time and effort it will take to onboard your employees, and custom integrations or workarounds you will have to build. Only then can you make a more informed decision whether or not this software is a good bargain for your company.
Pick the right products for your organization
IT companies usually have particular needs when it comes to their processes and required tools. You need to carefully evaluate different software vendors and ensure that the solutions you pick will work for your employees.
We hope that this blog post will help you narrow down a list of products to the truly promising ones. And if you’re still on the lookout for a resource management app-don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Teamdeck was born because we, as a software house, couldn’t find a good enough product to help us handle bookings, timesheets, and vacations. Chances are you will also find it helpful for your company.