Choosing the right Project Management, Timesheet and Invoicing Software for your business is a big decision. Get it wrong and it can cost your business money and unnecessary disruption. It’ll also cost you personally in wasted time, heart-ache and stress.
Persisting with a suite of software systems that aren’t delivering results costs money. Every month you could be paying for services you many not use, or don’t understand, or that simply no longer fit your business needs. At Abtrac we know too well the importance of choosing the correct software for your business.
We see the effects on businesses that choose something based on price, or a poor choice made internally or based on advice from a third party. With thousands of people using Abtrac every day, and meetings every week with others who aren’t, we understand why the right software choice is so important for your professional services business, regardless of the size or discipline.
Here are 5 common reasons we find businesses go down the wrong path in their software choices:
1. They say the Current System isn’t intuitive and it’s not easy to use
For this I’d suggest you read “A while ago we had people who knew how to use the system, but they’ve all left and we in management haven’t had the sense to provide training for anyone else”. Valuable corporate knowledge has resigned and walked out the door. So you choose a new software system hoping that will fix the problem. Quite likely you’ll be offered more than you had before, for less cost. This will give you that feel good feeling. But why throw out what you have?
Tip 1: We would recommend first working with your existing providers to see what can be improved rather than incurring the much bigger cost of changing to something new. Of course competition is necessary to minimise cost and maximise the value of your IT spend. But most software packages are like a grand piano. You can play much more than ‘chop-sticks’ on them if you ensure your corporate knowledge is retained and passed on. Alternately speak to people at the software company who’ll teach you how it can be used.
2. A Consultant or Advisor Recommendation is Taken Without Question
Many consultants wouldn’t have the faintest idea what would benefit your business. They’re covertly pushing a product from which they receive a commission. Others are selling you a service that requires that you are spend your money on them. Then there are those who assume they know from the first meeting. They just know. It’s like it’s from a higher being. With very little understanding of due diligence, they’ll have no idea how any system could be used in your business.
Tip 2: Always ask anyone giving advice if they have any pecuniary interest in their recommendation. And without being silly, make sure every time you see them, test them on their understanding of what’s important to you. Three strikes and they’re out? That’s up to you.
3. An Internal Review is Conducted by People with a Narrow
Business Awareness and Limited Time to Focus
To truly understand your business needs, you need a range of inputs gathered by a dedicated team of people. This team needs to come to know the business intimately. “You’ve got to know to understand.” Only then should anyone go looking for a solution, or a suite of solutions. And you need seniors from the operational side and the administration side of the business. Having a director nominally keeping “an oversight” on a review team is not only a cop-out but also a big mistake. They have to get down and get dirty along with the rest of the team.
Tip 3: The team must be broadly selected to cover the entire spectrum of your business, and given enough time, support and guidance to do the job. If not the diagnosis will be skewed at best. The solution chosen could end up being a bad fit, and thus the whole exercise could be a wasted opportunity.
4. It is Assumed Existing Support Staff “are responsible for this area”
In most cases this is more wishful thinking than fact. It’s essentially the same as Reason 3 above. Even the most capable of staff from IT, accounts or administration won’t have the knowledge, expertise nor the time to do the job as comprehensively as it needs to be done. None might have any idea about the business beyond their current roles. In most cases recommendations are approved with errors and oversights included. A real opportunity is missed.
Tip 4: See Tip 3 :-).
5. Leaving it to Outside Experts to Give Impartiality and Added Professionalism
Even with the most capable of third parties, you still need people on the team from within your business. No third party professional will know about it as much as you do. It’s not their fault. But it is a fact. No outsider will understand the nuances that make your business different to all others. You need the input from people with years of experience analysing, interpreting, uncovering issues from outside, coupled with top level internal operational managers and administrative staff.
Tip 5: Use outsiders with experience in your type of business as ‘fresh eyes and ears’ and couple them with internal staff who know the distinctive features of your particular business.
Whilst the costs of the software package (or more commonly now packages), are not much in the scheme of things.
Contact us any time to discuss what we can do to help you with your Time Recording, Project Management and Invoicing Software. We’ll be pleased to respond.