What Factors Should You Consider While Comparing Software Tools?

As a business owner, if you are still not on board with the “digital adoption” trend, it is a good time to begin. Today, we are living in a digital era in which smartphone penetration is at a record high around the world. In fact, in some nations, such as South Korea, smartphone penetration is as high as 95% [1]. 

Businesses that are not going full throttle with their digital strategies will lag behind in digital adoption and eventually lose their market share. Today, businesses are increasingly relying on software tools to improve productivity, streamline operations, enhance team coordination, and increase team collaboration. 

Every company, at some point, realizes that they need to invest in a business tool. Even if a company understands this need, finding the right tool is similar to searching for a needle in a haystack.

There are hundreds and thousands of business tools available that offer different features, functions, and integrations. This is why it is essential to compare software tools before making a decision. 

You may have a few basic ideas about the type of tools that can help your business grow and take it to the next level. You may have also come across some vendors while researching. Well, that is just the beginning of the process and when you have to make a decision, you will need enough data to back your choice. 

SEE ALSO: 7 Best Remote Work Software in 2021 to Improve Team Collaboration and Communication

Compare Software Tools on ToolsMetric

Compare tools

ToolsMetric is a platform that reviews and compares different software tools, making it easier for you to choose the right tool for your business. 

On our platform, users can view the features, specifications, integrations, prices, and other parameters side-by-side of different software tools. Our tools are divided into different categories such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Financial Reporting, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, and Human Resource Management. 

Users can use our comparison feature to choose a software solution that is best suited to their needs. You can make your decisions based on our tool reviews rather than relying on marketing data shared by software providers. 

We specialize in providing insights that make it easier for people to select a tool for their business. In this blog, we will talk about how you can compare different tools and parameters you should consider while comparing them. 

Features vs Functionality

Many people mix features and functionality together and believe that they are the same. When it comes to choosing the right tool, it is important to understand the difference. 

Needless to say that if you make a wrong choice of software, it could prove to be a very costly mistake. Hence, it is essential to compare software tools before making a decision. 

Features are the different tools that are integrated within the software that helps users to complete different tasks. On the other hand, functionality means how these tools work together to provide the desired result. 

While selecting a software tool, keep in mind that your features checklist may not solve your confusion. Here’s why. For instance, if you are buying a smartphone, all phones will have the same basic features. However, the dealbreaker for you will be the advanced features that are unique to a smartphone brand or model. 

The same formula applies to software tools. Hence, when you compare different software tools, apart from their features, you should also keep an eye out for their functionality. 

Key Factors to Consider While Comparing Tools

There are some important parameters we consider while reviewing tools on our platform. These are the same parameters you should also ideally be looking at while comparing different tools. 

Requirement

Before you dive deeper into choosing a software tool, you should be aware of why you need one. 

Make a list of all your requirements and operational processes you wish to streamline. Then, prioritize each requirement based on the value they add to your company.

This will give you a nice start to your quest of finding the right tool for your business. 

Features

Features may not be the sole reason why you may opt to purchase a particular tool. However, when you are just starting out, the list of features gives you a fair idea on how useful a tool will be. 

One of the bottlenecks during feature evaluation is to understand what they are and what they do. Keep in mind that not every software vendor is very transparent about their products. 

A lot of companies may confuse you or upsell their products using jargon or terminology you may not understand. 

To address this problem:

  • Do your research and do not rely on promotional and marketing promises made by the vendor. 
  • Look out for a downloadable sheet or a pricing list with different features. 
  • Make a note of all the features that are included in the base price, and features that come as add-ons
  • Evaluate the native integrations of different tools. The term “native” refers to third-party applications that can be synced with a tool without manual API configuration. 
  • Look out for out-of-the-box and unique features

Brand Value and Presence

Here’s something you should always keep in mind. Popularity doesn’t always mean value. There are plenty of lesser-known business tools that provide a seamless user experience and functionality. 

However, when you are looking at new players in the market, tread cautiously and do some groundwork to know more about them. 

Typically, a brand builds its market presence by offering impeccable customer service and high-quality products. These are the perks that come along with a vendor that has a good market presence. 

This is how you can evaluate market presence:

  • You can read user reviews and ratings on neutral websites. These reviews will give you a qualitative as well as a quantitative understanding of the tool you have in your mind. 
  • Learn more about when the company was founded and its size. 
  • Check out the vendor’s social media presence. This might not tell you the real story. However, you can use it as a rough reference point to gauge how many people trust the tool.

Support

Customer service

Even if you are using the most well-rounded or developed software tool, there will come a time when you need support. 

Say one day you are using a tool and it abruptly stops working. What are you going to do in such a situation? Your first instinct will be to get in touch with support and fix the problem. 

Availability of support should never be taken for granted. Some of the lesser-known companies offer limited support. On the other hand, some larger vendors are known to charge for personalized support. 

Review which support channel suits your business needs and based on that, try to find a tool that offers them. The different support channels include:

  • Phone support
  • Email
  • Live chat
  • User forum
  • 24/7 phone support
  • Dedicated account manager

Pricing

While most companies offer a monthly or yearly subscription fee, there is a high chance you will be paying more than that. If you want to avoid shelling out extra cash, get hold of the pricing sheet or the software contract and go through hidden costs. 

Usually, larger companies also offer support packages. This means that you will be charged more if you want better and responsive support. 

Remember that a cheaper subscription cost does not always mean a cheaper cost of ownership. 

Learning curve

Even if a tool offers all the features you are looking for, if it is difficult to use, you are bound to waste a lot of time and resources on training. 

While making comparisons, you should take into account the ease of use of each tool not only for your current staff but also for the new hires.

Trial run

Now that you have figured out the features, pricing, vendor reliability, etc., the next step is to test the tool’s user interface and experience. 

Most companies offer free trials for a limited period. Just like how you would not buy a car before test driving it, you should not buy a tool without trying it out. 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are the dashboards visually appealing?
  • Can the menus be navigated easily?
  • Can I customize the layout based on my company’s requirements?
  • Is support available easily?

After evaluating these parameters to compare software tools, you should be able to single out software for your business. 

However, this process can consume a lot of valuable time and take your focus away from other important objectives. The good news is that ToolsMetric has got you covered. We make side-by-side comparisons of different tools. All you have to do is, pick out the tools you want to compare and let the compare feature do the rest for you. 

How Can User Reviews Help?

Similar to how restaurant reviews work, tool reviews give you clarity regarding what you can expect from each tool. Reading tool reviews is one of the best ways to know more about what the best and worst features of a tool are. Most importantly, these reviews are neutral and unbiased. 

Get the Ball Rolling

We have offered our suggestions and recommendations regarding the approach you take to compare software tools. Whether you want to create a spreadsheet, make a list of vendors, and strike them off slowly as you move ahead, the decision is entirely up to you. 

You can use the information on the ToolsMetric website to compare tools and save a lot of time. If you are looking for in-depth coverage of each business tool, we have you covered. 

According to a report published by Grand View Research, the global business software and services market is slated to grow at a CAGR of around 11.3% between 2021 and 2028 [2]. 

This indicates that the demand for software tools is growing at an impressive rate. It also indicates that companies are not shying away from using business software to streamline their business processes. 

In our opinion, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way businesses operate. The need to improve team communication, collaboration, and simplify workflows especially while working remotely will fuel the demand for software solutions in the future. 

SEE ALSO: Difference between CRM and Marketing Automation: What Is Best for Your Business?

Image Source: rawpixel.com

Image 1 Source: ToolsMetric

Image 2 Source: rawpixel.com

Source

[1] Wiggers.K (2019) “Pew: Smartphone penetration ranges from 24% in India to 95% in South Korea” VentureBeat [online] Available from: https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/05/pew-south-korea-has-the-worlds-highest-smartphone-ownership-rate/ [accessed May 2021]

[2] (2021) “Business Software And Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Software, By Service, By Deployment, By End-use, By Enterprise Size, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028” Grand View Research [online] Available from: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/business-software-services-market [accessed May 2021]

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