Evaluating a new software for your business can be a challenging process.
Software tends to be a substantial investment for companies, and as such, requires a comprehensive evaluation process to ensure the right product is selected. Choosing the incorrect software can be costly for a business, so it is important to evaluate options thoroughly in order to make the best selection possible and choose a software that will maximize your return on investment.
When it comes to Professional Services Automation (PSA) software, there are numerous products on the market to choose from. However, the software evaluation process can be made easier with careful preparation and an emphasis on the 3 following considerations throughout the evaluation phase:
1. For each software you evaluate, ask yourself, “Will this software solve the business outcomes that I’m looking to achieve?”
You may evaluate software with a multitude of fancy features and functionality, but unless those features help you achieve the business challenges you’re trying to fix, all of the functionality in the world isn’t going to add value to your company. You may find that a simpler product with less overall features, is actually the one that has the right functionality to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.
Helpful Tip: Before you begin evaluating any PSA software, create a list of the outcomes your business is looking to achieve. Then make a list of must-have features that will help you accomplish your desired outcomes. You may also wish to make a secondary list of “nice-to-have” features that could add value to your business in other ways, but are not necessary for achieving your imperative business outcomes.
2. Include representatives from every department who will utilize the software in your evaluation process.
By including members of all teams that will utilize the software, you not only ensure that the final selection will achieve the outcomes needed by each team, but you also ensure you are getting buy-in from the people who will ultimately be using the software. If you select a software in a silo, you run the risk of certain departments choosing not to effectively adopt the software, which will ultimately affect your return on investment.
Helpful Tip: Select a key member of each department that will use the PSA software you select. Likely this will include at the very least a services team member, a finance team member, a sales team member, and perhaps an IT team member. Make sure that you clearly define what outcomes each of these departments hope to achieve with the software, and then evaluate options keeping in mind which ones have features and functionality that will be most beneficial to each team. To learn more about motivating employees to make effective use of a new PSA software, read our blog here, “Strategies to Encourage Employee Adoption of PSA.”
3. Know what questions you want to ask the vendors, and approach them with specific elements that you want their product demo to address.
If you don’t let the vendors you approach know what you’re looking for, they will likely overwhelm you with a flood of information about their product that isn’t relevant to your evaluation process. When you become overwhelmed with facts about products and find yourself reading through pages of information on various features and functionality, it can become difficult to determine what product is actually best for helping you solve your business challenges.
Helpful Tip: When you approach a software vendor, get right to the point. Tell them what business outcomes you need to achieve, let them know what functionality you’re looking for in a product in order to achieve this outcome, and ask them to set up a demo for you that will walk you through exactly how their product can help you achieve your desired outcomes.
If you’re evaluating a PSA software for your business and would like to see a comprehensive demo of Klient PSA, please contact us here: https://klient.com/request-demo/
The Salesforce AppExchange can be an overwhelming place to visit. In total, there are well over 2,500 apps to choose from, including hundreds designed for project management.
How can you choose the best Salesforce app for your business?
Here’s one thing to look for: apps that are 100% native to Salesforce.
Integrated vs. Native: The 2 Types of Apps in the AppExchange
Every app in the Salesforce AppExchange falls into two categories:
- Native applications
- Outside services that integrate with Salesforce
To give a more technical definition, native Salesforce applications are built on the Force.com platform, which is owned and maintained by Salesforce itself. Integrated applications live elsewhere. They pass data back and forth between their environments and the Salesforce environment. That might not sound like a big deal, but in practice there are a number of problems you might run into if you choose an integrated app instead of a native one.
Fully Native vs. Partially Native
Inside of the AppExchange, when you look at an individual app, it will say whether it’s native or not. Something to watch for, however, is that an app in the AppExchange can be listed as native, even if it’s not fully native. Sometimes companies offer managed packages of services, including some applications that run on the Salesforce platform and some that run on their own platforms.
There are two ways you can tell if an app is fully native or not:
- Fully native apps will usually say “100% native” or something similar in the description. Klient is 100% native to Salesforce, so we highlight that advantage in our product description.
- Apps that are not fully native will usually ask for permission to send data outside of Salesforce. That’s a sign the app is relying on third-party servers.
5 Headaches of NonNative Apps
Here are five significant issues you need to be aware of when considering apps that integrate with Salesforce, but are not native to the Salesforce platform:
1. They Don’t Share the Salesforce Database
A native app works directly from your Salesforce database. It doesn’t have to sync, push, or pull data to work. That means your data will always be up to date. A nonnative app passes data back and forth using Salesforce’s API. It must try to keep its data in sync with your Salesforce data, all the time. If your data gets outofsync, different people in your company will be making their plans and estimates using different data, a recipe that almost always leads to trouble.
2. They Might Not Be as Stable
With native Salesforce apps, if Salesforce is available, the app is available. That’s because they both run on the Salesforce infrastructure, which is one of the most stable in the business. A nonnative app could be built on any kind of infrastructure. If it becomes unavailable, you’ll have to deal with error conditions while it’s down, plus reconciliation problems once it comes back up.
3. Security Can Be an Issue
Native Salesforce apps share the existing Salesforce security model. If your IT team has already given the ok to use Salesforce, you shouldn’t have to engage them again if you decide to use a native Salesforce app as well. Non-native apps will have completely different security policies and protocols. They may pose a security risk for your business, or they may not. Either way, you or your IT manager will need to take a look before you trust your data to the outside provider.
4. Data Counts Against Your Salesforce API
Native Salesforce apps work entirely within the Salesforce environment and don’t have to pass data through the Salesforce API. Applications that integrate with Salesforce have to use the API to transfer data back and forth. Depending on your service level with Salesforce, those data transfers might lead to additional charges for you.
5. They Might Not Be Fully Committed to Salesforce
Finally, there’s the business model to consider. An outside service provider may not be fully committed to supporting Salesforce integration for the long term. Companies with fully native Salesforce applications have given a strong sign that they’re committed to Salesforce for the long term.
If you’re considering an app from the Salesforce AppExchange, we think you’ll gain tremendous benefit from using one that’s 100% native to Salesforce.
If you’re not sure if an application is fully native, just ask the developers of the app you’re considering.
Choosing a 100% native app will save you from headaches, and it will ensure your data remains current, secure, and useful to anyone in your company who’ll be using the new functionality.