Tag Archives: Software Purchasing Advice

How to buy business software you won’t regret later

Save MoneyIt’s a sinking feeling. You realize that you’ve lost countless hours. Thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars are simply gone. Everyone blames you.

Business software purchasing mistakes are expensive (and embarrassing) lessons. Especially if you’re the one making the decision. For you, it’s more than a software purchase. You stake your pride and reputation to that purchase. If the software doesn’t meet expectations, it’s on you.

What makes a software purchase go south? The reasons vary. Maybe the software didn’t live up to the hype. Maybe it became prohibitively expensive over time. Maybe it couldn’t meet your company’s future needs. I could go on. Whatever the reason, it’s always an expensive, embarrassing lesson.

The question: How can you avoid these mistakes?

If you’re in charge of software purchasing, I’d like to help. While every business and situation is different, there are a few areas every business must consider before purchasing business software. To help you identify those areas, I’ve solicited input from experts on the subject and compiled their advice below. Here are 10 tips that will help you purchase software that you won’t later regret.
Continue reading

5 ways software vendors try to trick you

EducationWhile speaking with one of our customers a few years back, he remarked that our software didn’t have any “gotchas”–bad surprises that spring up after the purchase. In dealing with software vendors for many years, he told me that he had come to expect “gotchas” in all software purchases.

In other words, he actually expected that software vendors were trying to trick him. I don’t know about you, but that makes me sad. Should a customer be surprised when software does what it’s supposed to do, and costs what they expect it to cost? Of course not!

Perhaps a better question: How did it get to this point?

I think much of it starts with pricing. Business software licensing models aren’t exactly straightforward. In fact, they’re downright confusing. I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years, and I still run across licensing structures that confuse me.

The problem is, many of the licensing structures are confusing by design. Vendors lure buyers in with cheap price tags, only to sneak in a few “gotchas” when it’s time to buy, or after the purchase.

I’d like to help you avoid these unpleasant surprises. I’ve listed below 5 common vendor tricks to watch out for when buying business software: Continue reading

What happens if a vendor stops supporting your software?

Save MoneyWhat happens if a software vendor stops supporting a product that your company uses on a daily basis? This usually means you’re stuck with unmaintainable software that falls more and more out of step with your business every day.

It’s a good question to consider before you buy software. What happens if the vendor goes under? What happens if they release a new version and stop supporting the old one?

Here’s a good example of a small IT staff that had to deal with this very problem. The vendor had stopped supporting their order entry system, leaving them with unmaintainable software. What did they do? They fixed the problem and ensured it wouldn’t happen again. You can read the whole story right here.

Is poor planning wasting your money?

Save MoneyHow much money does your company waste on unused software every year? According to a recent survey, the cost of unused software on US businesses alone is a whopping $12.3 billion a year. Shocking, isn’t it?

I believe one of the biggest reasons for this waste stems from one underlying problem: Companies often make short-sighted software purchases. They purchase software for one project/problem, only to put it on the shelf after that project is complete. Then, they move on to the next project and repeat this process. After 5 projects, they own 5 different pieces of software which they will probably never use again. Continue reading

How long should business software stay current?

Save MoneyI wrote up a post last week about avoiding software purchase failure. A commenter on that post made a great point: Software failure is sometimes caused by planned obsolescence–the deliberate planning of a product with limited useful life.

In other words, many software vendors realize that it’s in their best interest to create software that only stays relevant for a few years. If they create software that’s good enough to buy, but not good enough to last 10 years, you’ll buy more software and they’ll make more money. Continue reading

4 reasons why software purchases fail

Save MoneyHave you ever been in a “blame” meeting? It’s one of those meetings called when numbers are down or after a project or purchase failed miserably. As you might guess, there’s a lot of finger pointing and blame spreading. Not only are these meetings painful, they are completely unproductive. Since everyone is too busy deflecting blame, no one learns from their mistakes.

I’d like to help you avoid these meetings. Obviously, I can’t write a definitive guide on how to avoid failure, as every business and situation is different. However, I can help you avoid failure in one area that applies to most companies: Software purchases. In my experience, software purchases usually fail for one of four reasons. I’d like to explain those reasons and then tell you how to avoid them. Continue reading

Software vendors and the maintenance scam

Save MoneyI have a great money-saving tip for you: Don’t fall for the maintenance scam. Let me explain: When you buy enterprise software, you pay a yearly maintenance fee. The vendor uses this fee to provide top-notch customer support and improve the product for their customers. When these fees are used correctly, it helps the customer: They receive great support and a constantly improving product.

But, not every vendor uses these funds appropriately. While they do provide customer support, many fail to improve the product. Instead, they take those maintenance fees from their customers and use them to build new products and upgrades. Continue reading

How much does free really cost?

Save MoneyThe web is changing perceptions about what should be free. Companies are giving away software for seemingly nothing. Some of it actually looks like good, quality software. But…is it really free? What does “free” actually cost? Answer: A lot more than you might think. Let me explain.

While “free” products may not cost money upfront, you typically end up paying in one of these three forms: Continue reading

Solving problems or making sales?

Save TimeI usually buy car parts at Autozone. No, they’re not paying me to say that. And yes, I do have a good reason which very much applies to running a business.

Let me explain: A few years back, my car had a minor problem that I could fix on my own. A small plastic part had cracked and needed replacing. Not too difficult. I took the cracked part to an auto parts store, but no one in the store could identify the part. Instead, they tried to sell me a similar part and convince me it would work. Continue reading