Buying software – which way to go?
You may have read that not all systems are created equally and that is perfectly true. The easiest analogy to demonstrate this would be to compare software systems to car makes. Some cars are very luxurious and beautiful, but looking good is not akin to reliability. Some cars are basic and will get from A to B, but then you miss out on having extras like air conditioning, sat nav and other mod cons. Which you might think you can live without, but wait until that heatwave strikes and then see how comfortable you are in a traffic jam when it’s 100 degrees in the shade!
There’s also the issue of price. You don’t get top end luxury when you only want to pay rock bottom prices. That old adage rings true that you get what you pay for and that’s just the same with software. You’re not going to get rear parking sensors, heated seats and bluetooth if you skimp on cost. Much as you won’t get a full nominal code structure, cross client reporting and CGT calculations if the system isn’t a full accounting and case management solution. Although sometimes low price doesn’t mean you skimp on everything. There are some Asia makes which can offer very competitive models compared to the luxury European brands. So how do you know if you’re getting good value?
In this sense, buying software is a bit more abstract than buying cars. With a car you can take it for a test drive, check the service warranty, the MPG, etc. But this isn’t so easy with software. Most software comes with support, but how do you really know what level of service you will be getting if something does go wrong. Some software companies offer free trials. But this can’t really give you much more insight than an in-depth demo or guided session. Everyone has their own way of working and you need to ensure training is undertaken and processes are put into place that will ensure the system will drive forward efficiencies. This isn’t achievable with a short term trial.
So how do you know which system is the best value with the most functionality at the right price? Making a simple comparison between all the features and prices is a basic way of doing it. Perhaps a better way would be to speak to existing users. They can give you an honest review on how to get the most out of the system; what the real strengths are and how good the after-sales support really is.
On a different road
At thewealthworks we like to think that we offer the highest level of functionality for a competitive price, but our biggest strength is our support. We have our own in-house support team consisting of business analysts, accountants and developers. We hold an annual User Group in Gatwick where we hold workshops, listen to feedback and take on board client enhancement requests. Our development might be led by legislative demands but we listen and value what our users want and need from our software. Meaning that our users feel they haven’t just bought a product; they’ve become part of a solution that will grow with them and their business. But don’t take our word for it – ask us for a reference site!