What I Found Out From Learning 20+ Different Software Solutions In 1 Year
Do you like to learn new things? Get into new software and figure out how they work? Well, I love getting my hands-on systems and testing software solutions. And finding out about how they operate, what their strengths and weaknesses are and whether they match my use cases or not.
Some of you may wonder: “What is a use case?” Good question! A use case is a business scenario that covers specific needs that you might have. For example, if your system must be able to accept payments with a credit card, this is a use case. If your system needs to be able to automatically send an invoice that is legally correct, this is another use case. Thus, a use case covers your specific requirements.
Why is a use case important for testing software?
Because testing software without a clear purpose is a total waste of time! Software solutions have way too many features to get a quick overview over everything they can do. And most buttons might also not be needed for your specific needs. Therefore, you would run into testing just for the purpose of testing.
When I was still a consultant for IT software a few years back, we also tested a lot. But always with the goal to get a customer approval for our work. We implement software based on customer requirements and they confirm that what we did, covers their requirements.
While this is standard in the professional B2B-space, small businesses seem to not always be aware of this matter. And this is where my work starts. My customers tell me what they need, and I make sure to find the best software for their needs, considering their budgetary situation, their personal preferences and their existing software landscape.
What type of software do we speak about?
Primarily, our customers are small business owners, freelancers or solopreneurs. They are usually looking for software to increase their productivity and automate processes. Thus, software that they need usually covers scheduling tools, software for creating sales sequences (“funnels” and landing pages), websites, online shops, email marketing automation and internal collaboration tools.
These software tools are widely available in the market and usually have competitors. Thus, there is not only one provider who offers a solution. What most people are not aware of is that each software solution has an original use case on why the software was created. Knowing this origin story can be very helpful in understanding how the software works and what their potential strengths and weaknesses are.
What are the main takeaways from testing more than 20 different software solutions?
What do you need to know when searching for software? To save you time, money and sleepless nights?
1) There is not one system that covers all needs!
I know that many people are looking for this “wonder software” where you just have everything in one system, and it all works perfectly together. This does not exist. Developing software is expensive and to make a profit (and consequently a sustainable business), a software provider must focus on a specific pain point to solve. If they tried to solve everything, they would be out of business before they even started.
2) You need to know what you want to find the right software!
If you don’t know what you need and want in your business, you can spend countless hours in searching the World Wide Web with no satisfying result. You must start from your biggest pain point and then filter. Also, I recommend that you have a list of priorities with non-negotiables and nice-to-have points.
3) Know your roadmap!
What is a roadmap? A strategic plan on how you want to move forward. Next steps, so to say. It is dangerous to pick a software if you don’t know what else you need to do after you started. I have seen software implementation projects where companies did not have a roadmap. And once they figured out what they want to do next, they realized that their newly implemented software does not match these requirements – and they had to start the entire project from the beginning again. Millions of dollars and two years’ time wasted!
Considering these three points can save you already a lot of time and money.
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