Take Software Demos Seriously
Not sure who to trust when it comes to your enterprise software? Confused by the variety of vendors and consultants? With software demos, you can see a system in action rather than rely exclusively on marketing materials and enthusiastic sales pitches. Despite this crucial insight, far too many small and midsize businesses choose to go without a demo. Big mistake.
Most modest companies don’t have the resources for a lengthy software project, which often compels them to rush into an implementation rather than take the time to carefully explore their options. This approach, however, is far too risky. Refusal to diligently research software vendors and view demos will likely result in an implementation that fails to meet your needs and is ultimately unusable for your enterprise. Thus, that time you saved by diving into a software installation without a demo ultimately costed you a pretty penny by resulting in a large investment that went to waste.
Whether you're interested in ERP, CRM, eCommerce or any kind of software, there are some simple but effective steps that businesses should take to ensure they are getting the most from their software demos. Keep reading to learn what these methods are and how they guarantee that your business will receive the right enterprise software platform.
Understand Your Demo Options
Ideally, your demo would allow you to try out the software for yourself and integrate your current data with the system. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a few types of demos:
- Video Presentations: This is the simplest demo format. Though videos won’t allow you to use real data or interact with the system, they do demonstrate important functions in short clips. Plus, your team can view the videos at their convenience rather than worry about scheduling a specific time.
- Guided Demos: In these demos, a representative from the vendor or a consulting firm will walk through the software either online or in-person. These are more helpful than video presentations since the representative can use your specific requirements and workflows to tailor the demonstration to your interests. For manufacturers, it is especially important to get representatives on-site to take a look at your shop floor and make their demo more relevant to your processes.
- Trial Software: A few vendors and consultants offer self-guided trials to empower businesses to test-drive the software themselves using their real data and processes. Though functionality might be limited, this is still a comprehensive option.
Though you want to take advantage of video demos, push for a guided demo or software trial, and follow our remaining steps to gain the knowledge you need to find the right system for your business.
When it comes to guided demos, you can’t find out about the specific functions most important to your business processes if you don’t communicate your needs and operations to the representative. Make sure you have an agenda for every demo that is clearly defined and communicated to the vendor or consulting firm. If you are considering several systems, use this same agenda in every meeting to ensure consistency, so you can effectively compare platforms.
Additionally, set aside extra time at the end of each session for additional questions. You should also schedule conference calls or video sharing for any project team members who can’t make it to the demo, so you can keep the entire team in the know. Ultimately, you want to maintain control of the meeting. With an agenda, you can prevent representatives from taking over the session and get relevant information for end users.
Though this may seem obvious, your team might become bogged down with information from several sessions or blinded by savvy sales reps if they don’t stay focused. Assign someone with the task of taking notes at each demo to ensure information doesn’t get mixed up or forgotten. The note-taker should also keep track of the number of steps and amount of time it takes for the system to fulfill crucial tasks. Remember: The goal of enterprise software is to boost efficiency by simplifying and automating processes. A system that completes some of your core operations in a few quick steps is likely the right choice for your company.
No matter the type of enterprise software—ERP, CRM, eCommerce, BI, integrations, etc.—it’s important to fully delve into your options to find the right vendor for your end users. An integral step in making this decision is organizing demos.
At Datix, we have over 20 years of experience in providing premier enterprise software solutions. We know that in order to provide real solutions, we have to cut to the chase and give you the honest information you need to get the software that works best for your company. By providing a comprehensive demo, Datix will offer insight to enable you to make a smart choice in vendor. We can offer in-person demos to illustrate how our enterprise software solutions can meet your specific business needs.
From demos and pilot testing to go-live and beyond, Datix is your one-stop shop for all your enterprise software needs. Reach out to us today for a demo and answers to your software questions!