As small business owners, many of us are still relying on outdated, although tried-and-true, processes and technologies that help us keep up with current demand. But, growth happens only when we change, and in today’s digital age that often means new software. You might need to change your accounting software, for example, or add a cyber security software program that shows your customers that you are serious about their safety in a digital world.
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Here are 10 tips for adding a new software program to your company that can ease stress throughout the process.
1. Determine areas where new software would benefit you the most.
If you already have functioning software throughout most of your business, start by looking at areas where you’re not already utilizing current technology. This might be a point of sale system, customer relationship management, or design programs.
2. Decide between custom and boxed software.
One of the biggest decisions you have to make is to invest in premade software or have a custom solution built for you. A custom solution is a smart choice for startups that have unique needs that can’t be filled by someone else’s vision.
3. Confirm that your equipment is up-to-date.
If you’re currently using computers or other office equipment that’s more than just a few years old, you might want to upgrade this before installing new software. Among other things you want to consider is investing in machines with SSD storage, which is faster and can process much more data than a traditional hard drive.
4. Evaluate how to integrate with your current processes.
Talk to your software installer if you need your new software to integrate with current systems. If you’re adding a new accounting program, for example, make sure that your inventory management and shipping programs can send and receive information.
5. Involve key personnel.
Management, supervisors, and end-users of your new software should be involved from the beginning. If you’re not sure who these people are, consult your company’s organizational chart and then use a process mapping template to assign tasks, define goals, and organize the steps involved.
6. Communicate through the entire process.
Not only should your key personnel be involved, you should also make a point to communicate with them throughout your software rollout. This should be in the form of newsletters, public or private Slack channels, or emails.
7. Rollout slowly.
Take the advice of the tortoise here, and go slow and steady. There is no reason to rush a new software rollout, and doing so may slow you down in the long run.
8. Make sure your new software is secure.
Even if you are not launching a cyber security program, you have to take safety seriously. Look at your databases, encoding, and access closely before you release your new software to its users. DZone also notes that you should continually test your security measures.
9. Decide where your software will run.
In today’s world, you have two choices: run your software from a server located on-site or utilize cloud computing. IBM explains that the cloud is efficient and flexible, meaning that your employees and customers can access your software from anywhere quickly. It’s also easier to scale since the cloud already has the infrastructure in place to do so.
10. Train during and after software launch.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, prioritize training. Don’t wait until your software is ready to go, start training as early as possible, even before installation possible.
All businesses today can benefit from technology. If yours isn’t up to date, you can rest assured that the competition’s tech will be. By staying abreast of technological changes, you will position your company for growth and show your customers and employees that you are dedicated to keeping the doors open today and in the future.
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