A recent survey by Sage found that European businesses are wasting €9.6bn on software that currently isn’t being used across the business. Reasons cited included software duplication, lack of user training and under-utilisation of all the features.
It’s easy for SMBs to fall into the trap of simply renewing existing software license agreements that they’ve been paying for years without properly investigating whether there is still a real business case for its use or whether there is a better alternative out there. Finding alternatives after all can be a very time-consuming complex process. However, can you really afford to keep paying for something that is not cost-efficient?
Instead, SMBs need to evaluate which software solutions they really need and implement it across the whole company so everyone is using the same solution. In theory this will not only help cut costs but should also streamline processes and drive efficiency within the company. Whilst also relieving the IT headache of managing and maintaining multiple solutions.
The first step would be to carry out a simple audit of what software the company currently owns and how many licenses it processes. Next you would need to evaluate each solution in terms of how much you’re currently paying for it versus the value it offers and how many staff are actually using it. This will help determine how crucial each solution is and enable you to weed out those that are duplicates or are not being used. At the same time you might want to ask staff about their software solution preferences and obtain their suggestions for software that will improve their productivity and help automate processes. Remember, your staff are the end-users.
Once you know where you stand, then you can begin to evaluate alternatives. One option to consider is cloud solutions, which not only provide businesses with a level of flexibility in terms of how they pay for the software, but also enables them to offer mobility to their workforce. Before embarking on adopting a Software-as-a-Service solution though, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind.
It’s important that before you start your search for any solution, that you have a clear idea in your mind of what the purchase criteria is. What features must the solution have? What is your budget? How many staff will need access? In addition you also need to consider that the solution will need to seamlessly fit in to your current IT infrastructure and address the businesses’ needs.
When searching for a SaaS solution, you also need to take a closer look at the providers themselves and check that they are credible and reliable. Ask them about their disaster recovery policy, their connectivity infrastructure, security protocols and data protection measures. Software is an enabler and if it was to fail or experience any downtime, it’s likely to affect your business productivity and even your profit margins, depending on what the software is used for. Therefore you need to make sure you read and understand the Service Level Agreement fully. Seek help from an IT consultancy or your IT reseller if you’re unsure.
With cost-effectiveness high on everyone’s agenda, businesses need to ensure that they are spending their IT budget wisely. If implemented properly, the cloud can help streamline processes and bring agility to an SMB, enabling it to react quickly to industry trends and changing business needs. Don’t waste your resources on software that you don’t need, spend time exploring other alternatives. It’s worth it in the long-term.