Software plays an important role in essentially every modern business. It allows us to serve our customers, communicate with team members, track inventory and much more. However, it isn’t enough to simply have a few software tools running in your business. You also need to make sure that you not only have the right software but that you are making the most of it. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
Only Pay For What You Need
To start, you should only pay for what you need. There are a ton of software options out there that can do all sorts of things. But you don’t want to pay for features or tools that you aren’t going to use. Instead, you should make a list of the exact things that you need your software to be able to do. Since there are so many options, you should be able to find something that closely fits your needs.
For example, let’s say you need some tools to interact with your Postgres database. You have a fairly simple database, therefore, you don’t need anything too complicated – just something that will allow you to quickly add or edit your database. Rather than getting a comprehensive tool that does more than you need it to and likely costs more, you can get a simple Postgres ETL tool at a lower cost.
Take some time to think about the different types of software you need, and what specific functions you need it to have. If you already have software running at your business, you can then compare your list of needs against what the software offers. Should you find that your current software is offering you a lot more than you actually need, consider swapping to a cheaper alternative.
Provide Proper Training
Having the right business software in place doesn’t do you much good if your entire team doesn’t know how to use it. This is why it’s important that you provide proper training to all employees – both old and new. You should develop a comprehensive training program that walks each employee through the best ways to use your software. This will not only help your employees become more efficient, but it will help you to gain a better understanding of the software as well.
Training employees properly is one of the best things you can do for your business. According to these sales statistics, “for every dollar a company spends on training, it receives about $4.53 back.” This is a remarkable ROI and something you can’t afford to ignore. Start by picking out your most essential piece of software and figuring out what each employee needs to know about it. Then you can either create documentation, produce a training video, or set aside time to sit down and show the employee personally how to best use the software.
Learn The Advanced Features And Shortcuts
Getting the basics down is important, but you should also spend some time learning about any advanced features or shortcuts that the software might have. If you’re using a piece of software every day, cutting out a few extra seconds of operation within it will greatly add up over the long-term.
For example, let’s say you have team communication tools in place to share files. By exploring your communication tool, you may find that there is an advanced feature or shortcut that allows you to select, upload and share files more quickly. You can then show this feature or shortcut to all your employees, saving each one of the time for every file they need to share. A simple shortcut like this will make life easier for your employees and boost productivity.
Pick out the software you use the most, then explore the documentation that came with it. You may find there are some hidden features you didn’t even know about or shortcuts that can reduce a lot of tedious work.
Get Extra Guidance
Sometimes there are ways to get more out of your business software, but you need someone else to show you the way. Bringing in someone who is an expert on a particular piece of software can help tremendously, especially when it is software that you greatly rely on. You should look for experts on that software and consider bringing them in to provide a training day for your employees.
As an example, if your business uses Microsoft Excel a lot, you could look for Excel consulting services. This team would then come in, explore how you currently use Excel within your business and offer guidance and advice on how you can improve. This one-time expense could greatly pay off in the future if you are able to make significant improvements in the ways you use a piece of software.
Regularly Assess Your Software Choices
Finally, it’s important that you regularly asses the software you are using within your business. The software you are currently using now may not be the best option. The new software is being developed all the time, meaning there could be a better fit since you last made your decision.
By regularly assessing your software choices, you accomplish a few things. First, you get to see if your current software is adequately handling all you need it to. Second, you are able to spot areas within your business where you may need to explore new software options and add them to your stack. Finally, you can see if your team is using your current software properly or if they need some additional training.
A good practice to develop is performing a software audit every few months. See if the software you’re using is bringing back a good return on investment. Also, talk to your employees and see what opinions they have. The last part is exploring other software options on the market and seeing if any of them make more sense for your business. Transferring to new software is sometimes costly or time-consuming, but it may be worth it in the long run.