Most Bang for Your Buck: 4 Shopping Tips for Getting The Right Software With The Right Features

window shopWith the holiday season upon us, we are constantly on the look-out for the perfect gift for that special someone in our life.  As consumers we tend to equate things that are expensive with quality.  Think along the lines of Dolce and Gabbana, Land Rover, or Rolex.  A stroll down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills will quickly show you the opulence that exists when it comes to purchasing high end, retail products.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be behind the wheel of a Land Rover, but unfortunately my personal finances usually snap me back into reality.  I might have Rolex taste, but my wallet is on a Timex budget.

These days when it comes to software this concept of quality versus cost can be turned upside down.  In other words, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get an intuitive system to manage the growth at your venue.  It really boils down to what is needed to resolve specific pain points you are experiencing and finding the right system to fix these pesky operational issues.  Is locating a costly system with a ton of bells and whistles hard to do? No, there are many companies offering software at a premium price.  Be careful or, in many cases, buyer beware because one common pitfall is after paying top-dollar for a system you will find staff are only using a small fraction of the system’s many features.  The Standish Group ranks the usage factor of features across the average enterprise software system. Their findings show that on average only 7 percent of an enterprise application features are “always” used, 13 percent of the features are “often” used, and 16 percent are used “occasionally.” That leaves 64 percent of the features in an average enterprise application as either “rarely” or “never” used.  It would be like buying a Land Rover and never turning on the radio or using the four-wheel drive or the remote starter.  What is the point of spending the money on a system (or vehicle for that matter) you don’t use to its fullest potential?

To help you find your way through the maze of different software systems and, more importantly, getting the most bang for your buck, here are 4 tips you can use to find the right system with the right features at the right price:

  1. Make A List and Check It Twice – Identify the biggest headaches you deal with on a regular basis at your venue.  Once you know what is impacting your operations the most you will have a better chance to find something that will fix these problems for good.
  2. Window Shop- It is worth the time to look at least 2 or 3 different systems, so you can understand the differences one system has over another.
  3. Avoid The Holiday Hangover – Look at your budget and see what you can realistically spend on a system.  You want to avoid buyer’s remorse, so make sure you know your financial limits and avoid costly implementation delays.
  4. Does it Fit?  When you think you have found a system that can solve your problems, ask if you can schedule a demo.  It’s not really until you see the system in action will you have a clear understanding of how it might work at your venue.

By following these simple steps, you will find that the software you purchase will bring your venue the best gift it could ask for this year, a quick and full return on its investment.