Software has become an essential component of modern businesses thanks to the rise of the cloud and the SaaS business model. Software unlocks productivity and minimises a team’s dependence on expert resources to perform certain tasks, allowing them to accomplish more with less. For example, Legislate helps small businesses create lawyer-approved contracts without requiring full-time legal support. The popularity of SaaS has also led to software overload. According to one study, companies with 50 employees or less use on average 40 software subscriptions which can make teams reluctant to onboard new software. Companies might opt for “all-in-one” platforms to reduce the number of software applications they rely on. Whilst this is a solution to software overload, it isn’t always the most optimal approach. This article provides guidance on how to choose your end-to-end software platform and avoid pitfalls.
Is the software solving a new problem?
Software provides a digital solution to solving tasks, including tasks that you might already have a non-software solution in place for. If this is the case, you need to determine if the non-software approach is optimal, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable. If you already have software which solves the same task you need to assess if the new approach is a step change in technology or simply an incremental improvement on your existing solution. If you do not have an existing solution for the problem then you need to see what alternative solutions exist or if this task justifies a solution in the first place. For example, e-signatures avoid the need to print, sign and fax but don’t take care of the contract template generation or tailoring which is critical to the signing process. Legislate offers e-signatures as part of its flow but is ultimately solving this critical problem of creating, tailoring and maintaining contracts.
Is the solution an all-in-one or start-to-middle?
A software solution which solves multiple tasks might be more appealing than multiple software solutions but it might not solve each task as well. The all-in-one approach might be suitable if the individual tasks don’t require a thorough or flexible solution. However, if the all-in-one platform can’t address edge cases for individual tasks then you will find yourself in a start-to-middle situation. This means that you will need to address the task outside of the platform which can erase the efficiencies from the all-in-one platform if you encounter the edge cases frequently. To solve this problem, it might be worth considering a standalone solution for that edge case even though the functionality is partially addressed in the all-in-one platform. For example, CRM platforms might offer standard templates as pdfs either for free or for a fee. This might address 75% of your contract requirements but since the contract is not the CRM’s core functionality it won’t be equipped for queries from parties or less frequent contracts which account for the remaining 25% of your requirements.
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Does the software fit with your current workflow?
Software only works if it is used which means that it needs to fit with your current workflow and processes. Fitting into a workflow can mean integrating smoothly with other software applications either via native integrations or if the style and instructions are similar to what you’re used to. You might need to consider a SaaS migration if you don't have the right workflows in place. If your workflow requires going out and about it is essential that your software can be accessed on a mobile device.
What is the return on investment?
A software purchase needs to generate a return on investment for your business which can be measured using multiple criteria. The return on investment can be the sum of the time and expenditure savings you extract from the problem you are solving with the software but it can also be a result of increased business thanks to the freed up capacity. Software can also increase employee satisfaction if it makes their tasks more enjoyable and less tedious.
How to choose software you’ve never needed until now?
The increased popularity of software has led to solutions being developed for previously unsolved problems or tasks. This can make the process of selecting the right software more challenging as there won’t be a reference point. For example, online contract platforms are not common for small businesses because lawyers or templates have been the default solution. Contracts are a core part of every business transaction which is why it is critical that they are done properly and until now few contract platforms could offer a good enough contracting experience to seriously challenge the traditional approach.
Legislate helps small businesses tailor lawyer-approved contracts to their requirements on no-legal budget whilst offering a transparent and pleasant experience to all the involved parties. Legislate maintains its contract templates so that you don’t need to worry about legal updates and out-of-date clauses. To create all the essential documents you need to run your business, join Legislate today.