How to Choose the Right Software for Your Firm

What does the process of selecting the correct software to implement at your firm look like?

Jan 16, 2023

When you make the decision to start looking for software for your firm, it can seem like a daunting task. There are a number of reasons firms look to software to solve their problems. Whether it’s to increase productivity, have a better understanding of your financials, or another reason, it’s a big decision.  Don’t start by googling different types of software and tools.

1. Evaluate

What is your current process? It’s important to reflect on your current situation in order to determine what your next steps will be. Here are some examples of what might be part of your current process.

"Email is the main method of communication"

"Documents are created manually in Word or Excel and saved on servers"

"Constantly chasing people for responses"

"Manually updating logs to track the status of documents including submittals, RFIs, instructions, etc"

"Manually track the project financials, which can result in errors"

2. Define

Think about what you want this new software to solve. What are the biggest pain points you identified when you evaluated your current process? Rank their importance from highest to lowest.

"We need a better form of communication"

"We need a better way to track financials"

"Automate processes to save time"

"Avoid duplication of efforts"

"We need to maintain our profit"

"We need a cloud-based solution"

3. Research

Now you can start looking for different solutions. Here are some helpful ways to start!

1. Reach out to your professional network on LinkedIn. People are happy to share their insights on the tools they use and what they like or dislike about them.

2. Read reviews on Capterra and G2. This is the best way to hear from real users instead of companies' selected reviews on their websites.

Here are some things you should consider in this phase

What does their software actually look like? If they don’t show you their platform upfront, maybe there’s a reason. It’s outdated, not intuitive, or even they don’t like the way it looks. Think outside the box. For example, if the only problem you want to solve is archiving and sorting emails, there are a lot of solutions on the market. That problem is not industry-specific, so you have a lot of options.

4. Demo & Testing

Set up a demo!

1. Bring the list of things you want this software to do for you and get straight answers.

2. Bring the right people. People who feel the pain of the day-to-day struggles and the decision-makers

Ask for a free trial. Every software should offer a free trial.

1. Take it for a test drive….but actually drive it. 

2. Oftentimes, people don’t actually take advantage of free trials. You sign up and forget about it. Make sure you do your due diligence and actually test it, otherwise, you can’t make an informed decision.

Ask about support and training. 

Customer support makes a huge difference in your experience with the software. You need to feel heard and supported as you make this transition. If they don’t give you a straightforward answer or show you what it would look like….run away!

5. Decision time!

This step is ultimately the most important. You went through all the effort of defining your problem and looking at solutions. It’s time to make a decision. 

The longer you prolong the decision, the longer your time-consuming and broken processes continue.

And remember, there is no such thing as perfect.

However, you will find something that is the best solution.