Business Solution: 10 Questions You Should Always Ask Before Buying It

questions to ask before buying

 

1. What can I expect in terms of pricing?

When it comes to pricing, there is a wide array of possibilities. From free to pricey, you will find many options on the market. Make sure you compare all the potential solutions to your ideal software in terms of specific needs.

Spending more money doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get more features or that you will get the features you need. Look around, you could be surprised by what you can get for free!

2. What type of support do you offer?

I could turn this question around: what type of support do you need? Just as for the pricing, there are many options for the support. You can get an amazing support level agreement but you will end up spending a good amount of money for it. If it is what you need, go for it and you won’t regret it. You will save a lot if you can settle for email and DIY support since it usually comes free with the software.

Make sure you question your potential vendors about support, there are often some great deals to be made if you ask. You can also consider a turnkey solution to get you started and then do a great job by yourself with training videos and a knowledge base.

3. Can I create reports with your software?

Reporting is a great feature, especially if you can schedule your reports. Scheduled reports will save you a lot of time since you create it once and forget about it. The system will automatically send it to inboxes according to the schedule you selected.  This is a great solution to be sure all concerned team members are notified with the right information at the right time.

4. Not all users are created equal. How can I manage security?

Role-based security is a must with online database software. You want to give super-users account permissions so they can deal with the applications and projects. Usually manager will get projects permissions and all others will only get permission to view, create edit and delete items within a specific project.

When role-based security is properly used, great amounts of data from different departments can be stored in the same account without problems.

5. Do you offer static templates or can I create my own custom applications?

Customization is the key when you start using an online database software. Don’t get me wrong, templates are great to start with but the point with designing your own applications is to be able to create exactly what you need. To do so, you need to be able to customize all the fields in your application.

6. Do I need to learn to code to use your software?

Programming is a great skill but the average worker doesn’t know how to do it and probably doesn’t want to learn. Your business solution should offer you customization without programming. You should be able to use all features without having to resort to a programmer. Online database software are designed with the citizen developer in mind.

7. How can I collaborate with my team within your software?

Collaboration features such as email notification and comment sections are very helpful on a daily basis. Team members can focus on the task at hand and collaborate in one software instead of relaying on emails, calls and text messages. Collaboration features save a lot of time.

8. I would like to be able to search through my data. Is this possible?

The ability to easily create custom searches is mandatory. A big blob of data is not very helpful. You can quickly get lost in this sea of information. Creating custom default searches is a great way to slice and dice the data. Create searches based on user lists, the values in your dropdown menus or date fields. These are just simple examples, the possibilities are endless!

9. Does your software offer dashboards?

The dashboard is a great feature for those who like to have a quick overview of their data. The dashboard should be easy to customize and offer different types of widgets.

10. Can I see my data in calendars?

As soon as you add date, time or date/time fields to your applications, you will want to see your searches in calendars. Your calendars should offer monthly, weekly and daily views.

As an added bonus, if you have access to multi-projects calendars, you will never want to go back to anything else afterwards. Multi-project calendars are usually colour-coded and you can add multiples searches coming from different projects to it. It is just like seeing your searches in calendars one at a time but only much better!

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Marie-Josee Porlier

Sales Director at Kohezion
Marie-Josée Porlier is the Sales Director and main blogger @ Kohezion. Ask her your questions about the cloud computing industry, online database software, database applications, legacy systems, business solutions and business productivity. She can be reached at mjporlier(at)kohezion(dot)com.
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