What are the Best Tips for Software Acquisition?

Malcolm Tatum

Software acquisition is something that just about anyone who uses computers must do from time to time. From home users to large corporations, understanding how to choose the right software is important in order to get the right products that will provide the ideal support and processes. By following a few basic tips regarding authorization to select and order software, thinking of usage today as well as tomorrow, and engaging in a little price comparison, a great deal of the guesswork can be avoided when choosing the right software for your needs.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

One of the first tips in business software acquisition is to limit who has the ability to actually approve the purchase of software for the company. This means centralizing this particular type of purchase, either limiting it to a specific purchasing agent, an information systems professional, or some other key individual who understands the needs of the business and what type of software will meet those needs. Centralizing the task cuts down on the purchase of software that only partially meets needs and helps to keep the expenses associated with this type of purchase within reason.

Another tip to software acquisition involves evaluating not only the needs of today, but attempting to project what the company will need a year or two from now. This means focusing attention on software packages that can integrate with existing systems, but can also be expanded when and as the need occurs. For example, the software should come with the ability to accommodate more users than currently needed today, allowing some room for growth within the company. That same software should also be somewhat easy to customize, such as adding new fields to templates or creating customized report formats without a great deal of trouble. Thinking about tomorrow as well as today means that it will be possible to use the software for more years, keeping the operational expenses for the business systems within a reasonable budgeted amount.

Along with flexibility in terms of customization and expansion, efficient software acquisition also involves considering the price of the software package very closely. The idea is to choose the package with the broadest range of desirable features while also providing the most straightforward means of operation at end user level. This takes place even when comparing the prices of similar software solutions.

Take the time to research each potential option, and get some idea of the level of support manufacturers provide after the sale. Look closely at the terms of the warranty and any service contract that may come with the package. A low purchase price on the front end with little to no support on the back end may in fact be the more costly option. Before making a final software acquisition decision, confirm that the price is within the budget and comes with benefits that can be called upon later when and as needed without generating additional expense.

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