Smart Solutions

Tips from WennSoft for Getting the Most Out of Your Existing Software

When a business has been using the same software system for years, it is easy for employees to get trapped in a cycle of doing things the way they have always done things. It does not occur to them that there are different—and sometimes better—ways to tailor their software to fit their needs.

When a software system is first implemented, it is designed to meet the needs of the business at that time. But soon, two things happen. First, the software changes. Most software companies are continuously improving their software and often provide free upgrades. The improvements typically include a lot of newer functionality. Second, the needs of businesses change. A function that was not needed just a few years ago may now be the company’s key to success.

When it comes to discovering previously unused features of your software, how do you figure out what is available and what could be of the most benefit to your company? First, step back and look at your software as if you were buying it for the first time. Does it fit the needs of your company today? Where are your areas of greatest inefficiencies? Here are a few other ways to educate yourself about all the features of your existing software:

Take advantage of online demonstrations and e-learnings provided by your software vendor. Even executives should periodically reeducate themselves about how their systems can work. If your company had a tool in the field that your technicians were only using half right, you would immediately insist that they learn how to fully utilize that tool. Your software is no different.

Ask for a system review. Many software companies will spend time at your company shadowing your users and reviewing current processes, then provide advice on areas for improvement. These checkups are designed to provide recommendations tailored to your specific business needs.

Network with other companies using the same software. Talking to a similar business about the way you each use your software can be invaluable. In talking through each other’s successes and failures, you will learn what to try and what to avoid. If you do not already know another company that uses the same system in a similar way, ask your software company to connect you with one or more businesses.

Attend a users’ conference. Many software companies host an annual customer conference that brings together a diverse mix of different users of that company’s software. In addition to providing opportunities to meet and network with other users, these events expose users to new software functionality. Breakout sessions showcase new product features, and experience centers offer the opportunity to test drive those new features.

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