Choosing software is the most important decision for a company, on which the future of business depends. The software environment is the foundation on which the company will develop, and mistakes here are extremely costly.
Most entrepreneurs recklessly trust famous brands, following the usual model of behavior when buying offline goods. After all, a well-known brand is a guarantee of quality, and for that, we are willing to overpay. But things are different in the software world. Large software companies are trying to write universal software to cover the maximum number of industries, and the small player, with his niche needs, is of little interest to anyone. No one will adjust the software for you; you will have to adapt your business to the functionality of the software.
Why does it take so long to get the software?
We live in a world where most products become ours in seconds after payment: whether it’s yogurt, a movie ticket, or a music subscription. However, this is not always the case with test automation software: in many cases, delivery can take up to two weeks. This should be taken into account when planning business processes: calculate everything in advance so that the necessary licenses are not needed “right now”.
Unfortunately, the actual delivery date almost does not depend on the particular reseller. In other words, it is most often useless to go to another vendor and ask them to deliver the product faster. This is because in many cases the license key is generated by the vendor already after receiving the payment. Thus, your money has to go to the reseller’s account, then to the distributor’s account, then to the vendor, and only then does the vendor’s team generate and send the key. If the software vendor’s office is located abroad, it’s worth taking into account the difference in time zones, as well as national holidays (which are working days in our country) – and here we have a few days. Moreover, not all vendors work quickly, especially when it comes to exotic software that performs highly specialized tasks.
Sometimes the reseller is able to speed up this process. However, only if there is a partnership between the reseller and the vendor. It makes sense to check what status your vendor has in the vendor’s partner program: “Platinum”, “Gold”, “Silver” or “Bronze” – you can often do this directly at the vendor’s website. However, not all vendors have such programs.
Which is better: a permanent license or a subscription?
The answer to this question depends on the specifics of your business. Most of the time, it’s best to buy a subscription license.
- Firstly, in this case, you get constantly updated software: as soon as a new version is released, you can take advantage of all its benefits;
- Secondly, with regular payments, you don’t need to allocate a large sum for purchasing the software at once, and all expenses are predictable;
- Thirdly, if your business grows (or, on the contrary, shrinks), you can flexibly adjust the necessary number of subscriptions and pay only for actually equipped workplaces;
- Fourthly, there is no need to keep track of which licenses it is time to renew – everything happens automatically.
But permanent licenses also have their strengths. First of all, they are needed by small businesses working on obsolete hardware with old versions of operating systems. In this case, the advantages of subscription turn into disadvantages: regularly updated software can simply be incompatible with the legacy of previously installed software and hardware. There is another, very utilitarian plus: a permanent license is easier to put on the books.
How do you protect yourself from problems with audits?
The first way is to provide proof that the software was actually purchased. Once upon a time, companies used to keep boxes of disks with software products – when checked, this was in principle enough, but inconvenient. That is why software manufacturers began to produce holographic stickers: they were attached to the computer and were the first (albeit unofficial) proof that this workstation was equipped with the licensed software.
However, the days of boxes are gone – today 99% of all software products are distributed as electronic keys. But there is still an analog of stickers: these are digital licenses, which can be saved as PDF files and presented at the checkup.
There is another way to demonstrate the legality of software: provide accounting documents confirming that the software is registered with the organization.
What’s the right way to save money?
Software, especially specialized software, is one of the main tools of production and is often quite expensive. However, you need to understand how to save money.
For example, you should not buy software from a dubious store: you can check your business partner by looking at reviews and by checking its partner statuses on the sites of vendors.
There are also the right ways to save money. The first is to keep an eye out for special offers from software vendors. They often run promotions, which can be divided into several types:
- Discounts when you switch from a competing product;
- Volume discounts: if you buy N licenses you get X% off;
- Discounts when you buy two complementary products together (for example, the main software and plugins for it);
- Discounts for upgrading from an old version to a new one – of course, this list is not complete.
Automation helps to optimize the routine in any case. So, if you used to spend two hours manually taking notes and filling out paperwork, now it’s easy to do with the software. And that means two free hours for the most important thing – individual work with clients. Automation for small and medium-sized businesses is popular because of its cost-effectiveness and simplicity. The owner doesn’t have to make the effort to optimize processes. No matter what kind of business you have, if it’s about improving efficiency, you can’t procrastinate. If the program can save not only time but also human resources, then why not?