Software beware! – Does it really do what it’s supposed to?

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Software. We all use it every single day. Sometimes it can be as simple as using Excel, sometimes it can be as complicated as juggling billing and provisioning engines. But in whatever capacity it exists, we’re using it. So, it is really doing what it claims to ?

We’ve all been there, we purchase or download some software expecting it to perform certain tasks, only to find out it can’t, or it’s buggy, or it’s crash-prone, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve seen software that doesn’t work as advertised. Sadly, too many times to count. So what can you do to protect your clients from wasting money on poorly designed or poorly functioning software ?

First and foremost, make use of free trials! Almost all software out there today, even the poorly designed and almost beta-like ones, have a free trial. Usually this trial lasts 14 to 30 days. Even if your clients are willing to pull the trigger and purchase the software today, convince them to give the trial a try and make sure that the software does what they require of it.

Secondly, ask questions to the sales / support team. If you’re a prospective buyer, companies generally treat you with a slight bit of prioritization as compared to clients who have already paid for their product. I’m not saying that this is a good business practice, or that it’s ‘fair’, but it is what it is. If the support you receive is slow, or even worse, completely absent, then you’ll get a pretty good idea of what the support will be like after you’ve made the purchase and spent the cash.

Thirdly, look for reviews. Generally speaking, if a piece of software is popular, there will be reviews. You have to take some of these reviews with a grain of salt however, since some negative comments could stem from a lack of understanding of the product, or a poorly configured workstation, server, etc. That said, if there are numerous reviews out there, then you know the software is being actively purchased and used, and the vendor is less likely to be some ‘fly-by-night’ operation.

Remember, make sure you’re careful with software, and unless you have personal experience with it, NEVER put your own guarantee on what it will do. If you do, your clients will end up coming back to you and asking why you recommended it in the first place.


Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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