1. What determines the computer software price? Is it Per Seat or Per User or Per Processor?
The cost of application is determined in a lot of methods. The two most preferred techniques are Per Seat or Per Concurrent User. Per Seat is determined by how many seats within your business are going to be using the software program at any offered time. On the other hand, Per Concurrent User is based on a set amount of customers which will access the software at a single time. (Example: concurrent users implies a program using a license for five customers may be installed on 100 machines but only a maximum of five men and women can use the method at when.) Per Processor is calculated on how a lot of machines (PC's or servers) the software program will probably be running on. Numerous bigger enterprise application applications use this method to identify their costs.
2. What forms of on-site services are integrated within the obtain?
Quite a few applications which can be larger in price tag should really consist of some quantity of on-site solutions or help. If it will not, guarantee that each (service & assistance) 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 software program. Now that you have the computer software and have spent significant time purchasing hardware and dedicating resources, they know you are already "half way inside the pool"; they also know that you will have trouble refusing to pay extra money to get what you want. These solutions can contain anything from training classes, customizations, or help with installation issues. Inside the case of local application companies, keep in mind they must 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 greater return on investment (ROI). Who wouldn't like to have that?
3. Is there a guarantee of satisfaction with their application?
This is most widely overlooked when purchasing software. Sometimes unsatisfied customers will expect a refund after deciding that it is not what they want. My experience has been that after the developer receives payment for application, it can take next to a miracle to get a refund of any kind. Prior to purchasing your next piece of software, be sure to find out their return policy and number of days that you can have the computer software inside your hands and still be able to send it back to get a full or partial refund. With custom-developed computer software 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 determine 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 computer software issues as soon as you find one. 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 having a reputable application company that stays true to their word. Knowing this before purchasing the application allows you to better handle your software end-users and enables you to provide a more accurate time frame of when your customers 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 process 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 need to know will not be left out of communications loop. If the software company will not offer either one particular of these options, you might want to reconsider your decision.
6. Is the proposed computer software scalable in design?
Software that is scalable in design simply suggests that it can easily grow with your enterprise, at minimal cost to you. Factors incorporate 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 one particular wants to jump through hoops of testing, development, customizations, and training, to acquire 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 software program experience.
7. Can the program be customized to meet your company 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 price tag of the computer software cost. Never forget that quite a few times computer software companies will negotiate with you on customization. As a customer any software program company worth your time should really 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 computer software knowing that you will need to make major changes should really 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 computer software 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 application company should really at least be able to warn you of the hurdles that they have experienced in implementations they have done. If not, this should really raise a red flag for you. The computer software company should 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 2 or 3 times before they take notice and take action to investigate and resolve it before future installations.
9. What are the hours of support and how does their support department operate?
Whether you are across town or around the other side of the world, if you need help and assistance is not available to you, the only option are going to be to take the system down for an unknown length of time and wait for help. Before getting married to a software 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 technique. 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 must 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 incorporated within the next update of the computer software. 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 enterprise. 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 ways:
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 software company to make sure your item is not lost within the shuffle. This happens more than you may realize.
3. When you are offered such a list, review it carefully. You should 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 on the application) or Are there obvious items around 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 buy add-on items that you will never use?
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