1. What determines the computer software price? Is it Per Seat or Per User or Per Processor?
The cost of software program is determined in a lot of strategies. The two most well known techniques are Per Seat or Per Concurrent User. Per Seat is determined by how lots of seats inside your enterprise might be applying the application at any given time. On the other hand, Per Concurrent User is primarily based on a set amount of customers that can access the software at one particular time. (Instance: concurrent users implies a plan with a license for 5 customers is often installed on 100 machines but only a maximum of 5 people today can use the method at as soon as.) Per Processor is calculated on how many machines (PC's or servers) the application is going to be running on. A lot of larger enterprise software program applications use this approach to identify their prices.
2. What sorts of on-site services are incorporated inside the acquire?
Many applications which might be larger in cost should really include some amount of on-site solutions or assistance. If it will not, ensure that both (service & help) are built into your contract before purchasing. But, beware that this is the area where companies make most of their profit. Some companies count on your returning with requests for customizations of the application. Now that you have the computer software and have spent significant time purchasing hardware and dedicating resources, they know you are already "half way within the pool"; they also know that you will have trouble refusing to pay extra money to get what you want. These solutions can consist of anything from training classes, customizations, or help with installation issues. In the case of local computer software companies, keep in mind they need to automatically provide some sort of on-site services (at a minimum) before purchasing. This can only help to streamline your implementation process and increase the likelihood of your success, with the added benefit of a larger return on investment (ROI). Who wouldn't like to have that?
3. Is there a guarantee of satisfaction with their computer software?
This is most widely overlooked when purchasing software program. Sometimes unsatisfied customers will expect a refund after deciding that it is not what they want. My experience has been that as soon as the developer receives payment for software, it can take next to a miracle to get a refund of any kind. Prior to purchasing your next piece of software program, be sure to find out their return policy and number of days that you can have the software inside your hands and still be able to send it back to get a full or partial refund. With custom-developed application it may be even trickier for the buyer, you will need to build this into the contract before work begins. It goes without saying how important it is to decide this up front in case you change your mind.
4. What is the turnaround time for getting "bugs" fixed?
Some companies will say that they will fix software issues as soon as you find a single. There are others that will compile the list of "bug" fixes and release it on a scheduled basis convenient for them. This can happen either monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or yearly. Neither path is better or worse, as long as you are dealing using a reputable software company that stays true to their word. Knowing this before purchasing the software program allows you to better handle your application end-users and enables you to provide a more accurate time frame of when your users will see changes or have their issues resolved.
five. How often do program updates go out and do they notify customers?
This is another widely overlooked key item. There are two lines of thought that companies can use for updating customers. The company might decide not to notify its customers at all when updates rollout. They may think that if the customer has a problem they will contact them. At that time would they inform the user of an available update? Beware of this approach of service, or lack there of. Steer clear of companies that do not provide this as an option to their clients. The second line of thought would be for the company to notify its customers regularly about updates. They may also offer an option of including the customer on a mailing list. In this case be sure that they have multiple contacts that are on the email distribution list so that everyone who should really know will not be left out of communications loop. If the software company will not offer either 1 of these options, you might want to reconsider your decision.
6. Is the proposed software program scalable in design?
Computer software that is scalable in design simply signifies that it can easily grow with your business, at minimal price to you. Factors contain end user customizations, current database structure, and inputs and outputs like reports, and connectivity to your other database systems. Scalability is very important for small businesses, because they are dynamic in growth. No a single wants to jump through hoops of testing, development, customizations, and training, to purchase application only to find out a year later that you have outgrown it and you need to replace it. With proper planning at the time of buy only you can increase your chances for a successful computer software experience.
7. Can the technique be customized to meet your business needs?
If you require customizations to the software program to meet a specific need, a good rule of thumb is that it ought to be no more than a 1/3 of the cost of the software value. Never forget that quite a few times application companies will negotiate with you on customization. As a customer any computer software company worth your time need to want to keep you happy. In some cases there may need to be some give and take by each parties. A good rule of thumb would be to always discuss your needs with management directly. Gatekeepers tend to drag their feet at times. Purchasing software knowing that you will need to make major changes ought to be a sign that you really need to take a step back and look at all of your options including: in-house development, outsourcing, and partnering with application developers to cut the price.
8. What are the typical hurdles that you can expect with your planned installation?
No matter what generation (e.g. 1yr 2nd version, 10 yrs 4th version, etc...) the computer software is currently in, the software program company must at least be able to warn you of the hurdles that they have experienced in implementations they have done. If not, this really should raise a red flag for you. The software company must be keeping track of this type of information, especially if they are constantly attempting to improve their products. You will find that they sometimes run into the same issues two or 3 times before they take notice and take action to investigate and resolve it before future installations.
9. What are the hours of help and how does their support department operate?
Whether you are across town or on the other side of the world, if you need help and support is not available to you, the only option are going to be to take the program down for an unknown length of time and wait for help. Before getting married to a application company by purchasing their product, find out where the company is located and if the company has what I define as a "passive" or "active" customer assistance method. Follow up with pointed questions like, "Will you only return my call at certain hours of the day?", "Will I have to leave messages and wait at the phone for your callback?", "Will I have a direct callback from a representative or will I be reassigned to someone different every time I call?". Finding this information out earlier rather then later should give you peace of mind when an urgent situation or quick answer is needed.
10. Ask if there is a list of items that have been requested to be included within the next update of the software program. If possible also request a date of completion for the items around the list.
Before they say no, put them at ease by letting them know that your goal is to find out what features they might be including so that you can plan ahead for your business. Chances are that if someone requested something, you will also be able to make use of this feature. Also obtaining this list will benefit you in three other strategies:
1. If you know that a feature is forthcoming, you can notify customers beforehand and seek feedback from them on whether this is something they would like also.
2. If the item on the list is something you need, be sure that you make it known to the gatekeepers, with emails or phone calls to the application company to assure your item is not lost inside the shuffle. This happens more than you may realize.
3. When you are offered such a list, review it carefully. You need to be able to identify the direction that the computer software company is going. Are they on a path dictated by their client requests? Are there frequently little items which are minor in nature on the list? (could be negligible depending around the application) or Are there obvious items on the list? (If this is the case their testing practices may need to be reviewed to your satisfaction.) Or are they adding items in an effort to get you to obtain add-on items that you will never use?
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