October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Printwear 2013 Q&A Business Management How do I select the right software system for my business? Begin by creating a list of things that you want in a new system. Business owners and management people will typically know several things right off the bat that they would like to change or fix about their current system. These items will become the basis for a requirements list. It is also a good idea to open this up to all of your employees and get their input. Engaging staff and having them be part of the process is a good idea because one, their feedback may provide you with things that you had not previously considered, and two, having everyone engaged and feeling connected to the selection of the new system will help during the implementation and training phase. An easy way to collect employee input is to "give them a magic wand." Ask what they'd do if they could change anything about the current system that would help them be more efficient. Ask employees to write down their responses and identify each item as either a mission critical or a wish list item. Designate someone in your office to act as point person for the 76 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 76 project of selecting a new system. Have this person collect and combine everyone's responses and add them to the base list created by management. What you get is a comprehensive requirements list. This list is your yardstick to measure potential software systems. It doesn't matter so much how the systems compare against each other as it does how they measure up against your company's particular requirements. Next, look into all possible software candidates and compare their features and functionality against the mission critical elements of your list. Discard anyone who can't satisfy those needs. Even if you got one of those systems for free they won't help you become more successful, so there is no point in considering them. Take the remaining candidates and schedule product demonstrations and reviews. Preferably have several members of your staff form a selection committee to participate in the demonstrations. From here forward it is really just a matter of whittling the candidates down to the system that can meet the most wish list items at a price that is comfortably within your budget range. Mike Healy, Precise Software October 2013 9/18/13 11:52 AM

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