5 Key Insights on Making Software Decisions

5 Key Insights in Making Nonprofit Software Decisions

It is interesting to consider how people make decisions regarding their business; especially when it comes to choosing the best software solution. Perhaps, you are faced with one now? If so, in this short article, I outline 5 key insights which I have found interesting with regards to making a decision.

Getting Smart with Software Decisions

First, let me outlined the 5 general insights on making software decisions which are prevalent in many instances today:

  1. Everyone wants to know why one product is better than another software product. It has been documented that in a focus group where people are asked to make a decision (but not to compare), they will automatically compare anyway. We compare everything!
  2. Most organizations I visit with regularly, want that “Special Pill” now. Organizations are comprised of people. And like all people we want the “easiest” route to get to the end result. Time and Time again I hear, “what do you know about” and “what is the best” donor database system. With Software decisions, generally speaking most are in the “Whirlwind” and strapped for time to go through a formal process to secure a proper answer to that question. This is not being cynical, it’s just the facts.
  3. People tend to choose software based on features rather than what the software will actually accomplish for them as a business.
  4. People are largely unaware of why they make the choices they make, including the way they analyze the differences in different products. It’s usually random and has very little structure.
  5. Decision-making skills likely come from a variety of sources, including experiences and values from early childhood, education, biases etc. which are hard to pin-point. This is an interesting situation. Simply put, the decisions can be made purely on something that has nothing to do with the product without proper requirements outlined and prioritized.

What do these insights shed light on? Before answering that question, here are some quotes which I believe will help frame the answer:

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
from Lao Tzu

In other words, the process of finding the best software for your organization is a small step in a longer journey. And, in fact, the selection of software in the grand scheme is a small thing. Long term success with software is dependent on many other factors as well.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
from Theodore Roosevelt

If you are waffling on the process of selecting software, doing nothing is typically the least attractive decision.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.
from Calvin Coolidge

Software Selection projects are rarely performed in an organization. In fact, at best an organization may go through a software selection process once every 5 to 6 years (According to the Lehman Reports). The mere fact that there are so many software options today actually makes it more difficult than useful. The lack of experience and amount of options makes it increasingly difficult for any organization to make a decision at all much less the “best” one.

Without a doubt, there is no one way to make a smart software decision. But, fundamentally, the “best fit” can be greatly enhanced by starting with a sound foundation of your requirements. To ensure success, you may benefit from outside resources and good counsel.

We tackle the software selection decision-making process on a regular basis. Unlike organizations, we do not tackle the challenge every 5 to 7 years. No, we focus our efforts purely on software selection, review viable products, and seek to create value, grow revenue, & create competitive advantage in the process.

Try to avoid taking the easiest route and take a hard look in the mirror first before embarking on the search. If you are contemplating a change in software or simply need help figuring out which software is right for you, contact us. We want to be a part of helping make a smart software decision. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

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