1. What determines the software program value? Is it Per Seat or Per User or Per Processor?
The price of computer software is determined in quite a few techniques. The two most well-known methods are Per Seat or Per Concurrent User. Per Seat is determined by how several seats in your enterprise is going to be working with the software program at any offered time. Around the other hand, Per Concurrent User is based on a set level of customers that will access the computer software at one particular time. (Example: concurrent users means a program with a license for five users is usually installed on 100 machines but only a maximum of 5 individuals can make use of the technique at once.) Per Processor is calculated on how many machines (PC's or servers) the application will probably be operating on. A lot of bigger enterprise application applications use this approach to decide their rates.
two. What varieties of on-site solutions are included within the purchase?
A lot of programs which can be greater in cost ought to contain some level of on-site services or assistance. If it does not, make certain that each (service & help) are built into your contract before purchasing. But, beware that this is the area where companies make most of their profit. Some companies count on your returning with requests for customizations of the software program. Now that you have the application and have spent significant time purchasing hardware and dedicating resources, they know you are already "half way within the pool"; they also know that you will have trouble refusing to pay extra money to get what you want. These solutions can incorporate anything from training classes, customizations, or help with installation issues. In the case of local software program companies, keep in mind they really should automatically provide some sort of on-site solutions (at a minimum) before purchasing. This can only help to streamline your implementation process and increase the likelihood of your success, with the added benefit of a larger return on investment (ROI). Who wouldn't like to have that?
3. Is there a guarantee of satisfaction with their application?
This is most widely overlooked when purchasing application. Sometimes unsatisfied users will expect a refund after deciding that it is not what they want. My experience has been that as soon as the developer receives payment for computer software, it can take next to a miracle to get a refund of any kind. Prior to purchasing your next piece of computer software, be sure to find out their return policy and number of days that you can have the software in your hands and still be able to send it back to get a full or partial refund. With custom-developed software program it could be even trickier for the buyer, you will need to build this into the contract before work begins. It goes without saying how important it is to ascertain this up front in case you change your mind.
4. What is the turnaround time for getting "bugs" fixed?
Some companies will say that they will fix software issues as soon as you find 1. There are others that will compile the list of "bug" fixes and release it on a scheduled basis convenient for them. This can happen either monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or yearly. Neither path is better or worse, as long as you are dealing having a reputable computer software company that stays true to their word. Knowing this before purchasing the application allows you to better handle your software program end-users and enables you to provide a more accurate time frame of when your customers will see changes or have their issues resolved.
5. How often do system updates go out and do they notify customers?
This is another widely overlooked key item. There are two lines of thought that companies can use for updating customers. The company might decide not to notify its customers at all when updates rollout. They may think that if the customer has a problem they will contact them. At that time would they inform the user of an available update? Beware of this system of service, or lack there of. Steer clear of companies that do not provide this as an option to their clients. The second line of thought would be for the company to notify its customers regularly about updates. They may also offer an option of including the customer on a mailing list. In this case be sure that they have multiple contacts which can be around the email distribution list so that everyone who must know will not be left out of communications loop. If the computer software company will not offer either one particular of these options, you might want to reconsider your decision.
6. Is the proposed software scalable in design?
Computer software that is scalable in design simply means that it can easily grow with your company, at minimal expense to you. Factors contain end user customizations, current database structure, and inputs and outputs like reports, and connectivity to your other database systems. Scalability is very important for small businesses, because they are dynamic in growth. No one particular wants to jump through hoops of testing, development, customizations, and training, to obtain computer software only to find out a year later that you have outgrown it and you need to replace it. With proper planning at the time of purchase only you can increase your chances for a successful software experience.
7. Can the technique be customized to meet your enterprise needs?
If you require customizations to the computer software to meet a specific need, a good rule of thumb is that it really should be no more than a 1/3 of the price of the software price. Never forget that many times computer software companies will negotiate with you on customization. As a customer any software company worth your time should really want to keep you happy. In some cases there may need to be some give and take by each parties. A good rule of thumb would be to always discuss your needs with management directly. Gatekeepers tend to drag their feet at times. Purchasing application knowing that you will need to make major changes really should be a sign that you really need to take a step back and look at all of your options including: in-house development, outsourcing, and partnering with software program developers to cut the price tag.
8. What are the typical hurdles that you can expect with your planned installation?
No matter what generation (e.g. 1yr 2nd version, 10 yrs 4th version, etc...) the application is currently in, the software program company should really at least be able to warn you of the hurdles that they have experienced in implementations they have done. If not, this need to raise a red flag for you. The computer software company should really be keeping track of this type of information, especially if they are constantly attempting to improve their products. You will find that they sometimes run into the same issues two or 3 times before they take notice and take action to investigate and resolve it before future installations.
9. What are the hours of support and how does their help department operate?
Whether you are across town or on the other side of the world, if you need help and help is not available to you, the only option will be to take the technique down for an unknown length of time and wait for help. Before getting married to a computer software company by purchasing their product, find out where the company is located and if the company has what I define as a "passive" or "active" customer help technique. Follow up with pointed questions like, "Will you only return my call at certain hours of the day?", "Will I have to leave messages and wait at the phone for your callback?", "Will I have a direct callback from a representative or will I be reassigned to someone different every time I call?". Finding this information out earlier rather then later need to give you peace of mind when an urgent situation or quick answer is needed.
10. Ask if there is a list of items that have been requested to be included inside the next update of the computer software. If possible also request a date of completion for the items on the list.
Before they say no, put them at ease by letting them know that your goal is to find out what features they might be including so that you can plan ahead for your enterprise. Chances are that if someone requested something, you will also be able to make use of this feature. Also obtaining this list will benefit you in three other techniques:
1. If you know that a feature is forthcoming, you can notify customers beforehand and seek feedback from them on whether this is something they would like also.
2. If the item on the list is something you need, be sure that you make it known to the gatekeepers, with emails or phone calls to the software company to guarantee your item is not lost in the shuffle. This happens more than you may realize.
3. When you are provided such a list, review it carefully. You ought to be able to ascertain the direction that the software program company is going. Are they on a path dictated by their client requests? Are there frequently little items which might be minor in nature around the list? (could be negligible depending on the application) or Are there obvious items around the list? (If this is the case their testing practices may need to be reviewed to your satisfaction.) Or are they adding items in an effort to get you to obtain add-on items that you will never use?
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