When organisations transitioned to remote work earlier this year, it was initially thought to be just a phase. However, over time, and in preparation for the workplace of the future, it was found to be a viable and sustainable solution in the long-term. In fact, several bigwigs such as Twitter and Shopify were among the first to announce a permanent switch to remote working.
Even among MSMEs, the transition is well underway, and we are seeing a tectonic shift in the outlook towards managing teams, especially among those with cross-functional requirements. In order to accelerate the transition, and ensure work carries on seamlessly, organisations across sectors are exploring new-age workplace collaboration platforms to assist employees in staying connected.
Albeit a relatively new concept for many businesses, there is a significant uptake in the interest shown towards collaborative platforms, especially as a means of internal communication and management. However, the biggest concern in adopting the same is identifying right business collaboration platform or tool which can resolve obstacles quickly and decrease disturbance.
In such a scenario, what can companies do to evaluate enterprise software? In order to help business owners understand the various offerings, and identify one that best suits their growth requirements, here are five steps to follow:
1. Determine your ambitions and expectations
Ask yourself what you are looking to achieve from a collaborative tool, and align your goals with its offerings. Whether it is enhancing internal communication or project management ask yourself a few simple questions to understand how the tool you are considering can help.
A few critical factors to keep in mind while considering the needs of all stakeholders involved include:
- The User Interface has to be convenient and easy to operate
- There has to be intuitive interface and functionality
- Instantaneous support
- Meeting the requirements of the organisation
● Future proof functionality for long term usage
2. Deep dive into your organisational processes
During the process of integrating new software, it is natural to feel unorganised. Hence, it is important to maintain a comprehensive record of priorities with all your requirements and non-negotiables and examine it along with an expert. Your decision will be based on several factors, including financials. But data should be your biggest support and guide while evaluating your choices with a decision-maker or a procurement team..
3. Conquer your research
The internet today is flooded with collaborative tools, and wading through the noise to find the right one can be tricky. But with a few simple approaches to how you carry out research, it doesn’t have to be.
- Use search engines the right way: Search engines are notorious for throwing up results that are optimised to be among the first two pages. In order to filter through the SEO pumped links, scan for trusted URLs, snippets, and content previews. Based on your search results, you will also understand if you need to tweak your query to find the right solutions.
- Software comparison websites: These websites help examine reviews and will give you an accurate result of how the tool is when compared with its competitors. These websites also allow you to analyse and compare software specifications with user reviews.
- Word of mouth: Word of mouth is often the most trusted source of recommendations. Include your team and other stakeholders in the process as a starting point. You can also crowdsource information from social media platforms.
4. Run a trial before purchasing
Before making an outright purchase, run a trial to make sure the tool ticks all the right boxes. This is also a good opportunity to evaluate the after sales and customer service that will support you in the long run. At this stage, you can seek answers to any questions that may arise, and also get a preview of the kind of impact the tool will have on your business.
5. The crucial point: Pricing
The ultimate decider is pricing. These are some of the questions you need to consider:
- Will the tool offer value for the money?
- Will all my existing pain points be resolved with this tool?
- Is there any other tool available within my budget?
- Can I pilot the tool for a few weeks before investing in it for the long-term?
Once you have undergone this process, you will be better suited to make an informed decision. At the end of the day, such platforms are designed to promote efficiency in operations, and with a collaborative effort, you will be able find the perfect collaborative tool for your organisation.