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8 Criteria for Selecting the Right Business Management Software

Insights

3 Minute Read

11/29/2023

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Changing your business management software can be a daunting task, especially if you have been using one for many years. It’s kind of like buying a new car. Do I really need a new one? How much longer can I get away with putting Band-Aids on my existing vehicle? It’s easy to procrastinate and just keep kicking the can down the road, but sooner or later you discover you are driving an Edsel on a superhighway filled with Teslas.  

Here are eight considerations to take into account before you upgrade your business management software.  

  1. Fix Your Operations First: Getting new business management software will not miraculously transform your inefficient operation into a well-oiled machine. You must first analyze your internal operation—from sales to design/engineering to installation to service—and make any necessary improvements in your processes. One of the common mantras heard by integrators as they investigate new software solutions is, “I don’t want to have to change the way I operate to conform to the software.” That’s certainly a good tenet to abide by, but if your operations are not producing the sales and profits you desire, you just might need to change your operations. Both D-Tools Cloud and D-Tools System Integrator (SI) are known as the “Integrator Operating System” because of their ability to help dealers work faster, better, and smarter, leading to greater profits, more satisfied employees, and happier clients.  
  2. Know Your Budget: Similar to the monthly fees we all pay today for our smartphone service, business management software has migrated primarily to a Software as a Service (SaaS) business model. This business model allows integrators to deploy software with little upfront costs, only paying for monthly seat licenses to cover off-site server storage and other fees. SaaS solutions eliminate the need for costly on-premise dedicated computer hardware and storage. D-Tools Cloud starts for as little as $89 per month for a solo seat license. D-Tools SI costs vary and can be quoted directly. The flagship software is an on-premise solution designed for mid- to large-sized companies performing more complex projects with an option for AWS hosting services.   
  3. Find Core Software and Build Around It: The nature of custom installation is to find the best solutions for the application and integrate them all together. For many years, that “custom” approach was how many integrators also approached their software solutions. They sought out the best software for specific, purpose-built tasks. That meant they carried individual software for CRM, proposals, project management, inventory, accounting, system design, fleet tracking, and more. The problem was then integrating those disparate software solutions with each other to avoid double inputting, which opens the door for human error and leads to inefficiency and mismanagement (aka “garbage in, garbage out”). Today, end-to-end software solutions like D-Tools manage project workflows from start to finish including scheduling, purchasing, task assignments, field communication, change orders, timekeeping, and more. Once a project is complete, the software manages service contracts and service calls. Finally, D-Tools helps optimize invoicing and the collection of payments, while integrating directly with third-party accounting solutions. 
  4. Pare Down Your Software: How many pieces of software are too many? There is no right or wrong answer to that question, but it is logical that fewer is better for several reasons, including costs, elimination of duplication of efforts, and potential incompatibility among different software solutions.  
  5. Investigate Single-Purpose Apps: There are indeed some instances where single-purpose apps might be necessary or more convenient. For example, standalone vehicle fleet management apps such as Cartrack are likely not going to integrate into a full business management platform. Likewise, point-of-sale apps like Stripe or Square are convenient for accepting in-the-field payments and can then integrate with accounting software such as Quickbooks.  
  6. Get Buy-In from Your Team: Obviously, software is useless unless it is used. It is vital to relay the importance to the business of adopting various software solutions. It can be helpful to paint a big-picture scenario to employees that emphasizes how the implementation of the software will result in higher revenues and more profit, which ultimately leads to higher wages for employees.  
  7. Focus on Implementation Plan: Software does not get deployed on Monday and then magically transforms the business on Tuesday. Indeed, there are hours of training that need to take place with every team member who interacts with the software. Some integration companies select a dedicated “champion” within the company or even within individual departments (sales, installation, project management, service) to act as the leader for the rest of the company. Many software companies have dedicated support teams that are at the disposal of licensees for assistance. D-Tools has put together packages aimed at helping companies get started. The company also has a dedicated partner support group that is available to guide users throughout their software journey.  
  8. Fully Utilize the Software You Have: So often, integration companies purchase software that has multiple functions but only use a few of the modules. In addition to managing the day-to-day tasks, software often has management reporting tools that are under-utilized. For instance, D-Tools has built-in business intelligence dashboards and reporting that allow integrators to track major KPIs including sales forecasts and results, project performance, backlog, revenues earned, labor utilization, and more.