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There are some important questions that need to be asked before you make any purchase. The first step is to make a list of the things you would want software to do. Next, separate these functions out between what you absolutely need and what it would be nice to have. This is important because separating out nice and need will save money and reduce the temptation to over buy. It also enables you to have a greater understanding of the functions that any software you buy will be required to perform.
The next step is to determine what you are willing to spend. Then look over your needs and budget accordingly. While any money left over may be budgeted for items in the nice column, it is also prudent to set some funds aside until you know the actual cost of the software you need. Once you have a reasonable budget it then becomes fairly easy to eliminate those software packages that either don't deliver enough for the money or are too expensive to begin with. Remember that packages should fit your company and should not be too complex or too simple for what you want to do. They should also, as much as possible, deliver those functions you need without unnecessary additives.
Pick half a dozen packages that fit your criteria from companies that have demonstrated experience in writing software in your field and also have a good reputation for support. Any software package you buy should integrate well with any other, so it's vital that your potential suppliers also have a good reputation for writing software that integrates well with different applications. They should also use established and well proven technology.
You may not be able to buy everything you need and certainly not everything you want, so it's a good idea to purchase software that can be upgraded with add-ons in the future, if necessary. It then comes down to how user friendly the various candidates are. Regardless of what you’re buying the application for, it should not force users into a strict input and output regime that makes it difficult or impossible to handle unusual situations.
There are many other elements in choosing the right software, such as the type of vendor support offered. However, choosing the right software is based on knowing what software you need. Determining what you need isn't all that difficult, it's simply a matter of separating needs from desires and budgeting for needs first.
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