Now, having shared just a few of the benefits of using a web-based business solution, there are factors to consider before jumping off the wagon to buy one.
Availability and Support
Choosing a web-based business solution provider will be the very first step in getting your solution. It is very important that you choose a company that is able to scale their solution, able to support your business growth, local support availability and is always there to standby when you require them. You will also want to find out if the provider can give training to your staffs.
Background and Credibility
The world now is filled with names and alternative so how to choose a provider, you may want to look at the brand and reliability. However, what is more important is to look at the background and the credibility of the providers. You may want to avoid agents or third party providers of a certain branded software company. Be aware of their background, experience in hands-on solutions and do your due diligence in getting feedback from their existing customers, too.
While having a famous provider could be fanciful, it also comes with higher costs. Therefore, be prepared with a budget for your Information Technology costs, which could range from 0.5% to 3% of your annual revenue. However, if you have done enough due diligence, checked on the background of the provider and satisfied with it, might as well carry on with the provider if it offers somewhat lower in costs. Some providers even offer low start-up costs or payments on a monthly basis. Also find out the cost of training provided, if the providers do offer training. Should it be an international company, be prepared to fly in the trainers from overseas and incur additional cost which comes with it.
Do find out what services that the providers provide. Get one which you can work with for long term. Some companies are only doing consultancy and provide advice while some implement the solution. You may want to look for a company who does all – from consultancy to implementation of the solutions up to support and future scalable requirements as your business grows. As explained earlier, changing may be stressful for your company – so, find out if the providers provide data mapping, business mapping and applications mapping to ease the transition period.
Ownership of Software
Also find out if the ownership of the software belongs to the provider. Some providers are only do implementation of software but do not own the software themselves. If the providers do not own the software they implement, changes in requirements of future scalability come with higher maintenance cost.
Some software providers offer possible upgrades which may benefit your business. However, further expansion of the software very much depends on the software providers themselves. You may want to look into companies which could provide customization and future expansion of its software. Do ask for the costs that come with it as most customization come with costs.
Once you have chosen a provider, be prepared to negotiate terms and charges with the providers. Providers which offer lower start up cost may impose a certain minimum period of usage, to cover their high start up expenses and initial investments. Discuss on warranty period, re-training your staffs should there be turnovers and support packages provided. Providers may also charge a certain amount of deposits which may range from 30% to 60% of the whole cost of implementation.