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3 Questions To Assess The Value Of Your Enterprise Software Enterprise software is supposed to facilitate your company's growth, not impede it.

By Shaun Haase

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In my role at ProsperWorks, I've come across countless businesses and people who have had less than stellar experiences with past CRM software (and many other kinds of enterprise software for that matter). They often question whether the software does more harm than good, and one common issue that I've identified is the fit.

The reality is, finding the right software for your business is like finding the perfect suit. You shouldn't be wasting your money on software that doesn't tailor to your exact needs; an ill-fitting business software can start the undoing of your company's organizational productivity and efficiency at its seams.

Here are three questions to ensure your software fits your business like a glove:

Are you getting enough bang for your buck?

Enterprise software is supposed to facilitate your company's growth, not impede it. For instance, businesses that use CRM software –– to their full potential –– have shown to increase sales and productivity by 30 percent on average.

So if you start to realize your software costs have actually become a financial setback due to a lackluster ROI, then you're either not utilizing it to its fullest potential or it's the wrong software for your business needs. When evaluating your ROI, take into account that, on average, the ROI for CRM software is $5.60 for every dollar spent. In other words, the right software can be worth your pretty pennies.

But when it comes to assessing a software's ROI, there are many other benefits apart from the direct correlation between the software and your business (ie: the resulting increase in revenue or decrease in costs). The information and insights that your software provides can be indispensable to your company. Even if you're working with a shoestring budget, make sure you find a way to make it work. Here are some ways to reduce costs:

  • Considering purchasing a yearly subscription rather than a monthly one, especially if the software is critical to your business. Often times, software vendors will offer sizable discounts if you commit to longer terms.
  • Most cloud-based software are billed for each user, regardless of whether the users are active or not. Check your math and make sure you didn't miscount the number of employees who need access to the software. More importantly, periodically audit user accounts to ensure that the roster is updated and all turnover accounted for. It's all too common for businesses to overlook this step and continue paying for unnecessary accounts.
  • Find a software that can integrate with multiple tools, like CRM and marketing automation. Integration is especially important if you rely on multiple software applications that require frequent collaboration. Applications that don't play well together creates more work for everyone so make sure your software offers seamless integration to reduce workflow inefficiencies.

Are you using your software to its fullest potential?

Buying a smartphone solely to make and receive phone calls is not the best use of your resources, especially when it has so much more to offer. The same is true for business software. Even if you've been using your software in the same manner for many years, make an effort to continue learning about all of the features and functions it has to offer.

There are plenty of software updates rolled out each year including new features and integrations, so unless you're constantly monitoring changes, you may not be utilizing new and improved features that might benefit your business. Using all or at least most of your software's features will make your subscription worthwhile and allow you to analyze productivity in ways you never knew were possible.

However, some companies simply don't need all the bells and whistles –– so don't pay for what you don't need. Every company is different, so find software that has features that best fit your business.

Additionally, the user-friendliness of these features is just as important as making sure you have and use them. Not everyone is a technical expert with the intuitive know-how to use and read software data. These insightful features are of little value if employees can't use them and/or spend countless hours trying to perform an otherwise simple task.

If employees are spending more time trying to learn the ins-and-outs of a robust yet complex software than actually using it, efficiency and productivity plummet, costing your business valuable time and resources.

Has the software become the heart of your business operation?

No matter the type of software you're assessing, whether it be for financial management or data analytics, the software should be a vital part of your company's operations, simply for the fact that it should be supplying you with all pertinent information to support higher level decisions.

Make sure you're utilizing software that relates to each team within your company so that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal. Using an adaptive software across the different teams and departments will naturally allow the software to provide an accurate pulse of the company.

If software is being implemented simply because a higher up, especially a detached higher up, wants it employed, chances are it won't be used as a productive tool but rather a chore in need of constant maintenance. This is a wasted investment because the business software needs to be realized from the ground up, by the people who will be using them daily.

An inefficient business is usually the result of inadequate business processes and software. A great prescription is to find applications that can make sense of the seemingly scattered information. In a sense, an efficient business software focuses all the indiscernible, raw data into a comprehensive analysis.

Shaun Haase

Contributory Author

Shaun brings more than 12 years of business leadership and entrepreneurial experience to his role as CMO of ProsperWorks. He graduated from Standford, obtained various leadership positions and founded two highly successful companies: Bazaar Advertising Solutions (acquired by Epic Media Group), a performance marketing services platform and DNA Games (acquired by Zynga), a social game development company leveraging big data to structure optimized game experiences. Most recently, Shaun ran online revenue at DocuSign, the #1 SaaS eSignature platform in the world.
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