It is an acknowledged fact among all of the CFOs that in order to change today´s finance function and drive the company forward and upward, a successful integration of technology and business must happen.
The role of a CFO as a business partner is highlighted today more than it ever was as we move toward an era of data-driven decision making. CFOs have entered a period of greater demand for accuracy of data from their IT systems and a period when CFOs scramble to get better help in getting real-time insights so they can back up their gut feel as they make harder decisions in today´s economic climate.
Varying systems and applications are mushrooming claiming more or less the same features as that of every other software provider. The critical question for you as a CFO who is tasked to adapt newer technology then becomes – what type of questions should I be asking before choosing a software?
We have put together a list of the top 10 questions you should ask before purchasing a financial software:
What are my new software´s non-negotiable features?
Before you start looking into different solutions, it is vital that you know exactly what pain points you wish for the software to address. If you need a reporting, budgeting, and planning solution
for example – what type of features is most important for you? Once you know that, then you start looking for those features among the list of what providers claim their software possesses and everything else is just added value.
Can the software do a demo with my company´s data on it before I am asked to purchase?
It is very easy to be impressed by an online demo of a software done by a sales expert but more than just looking at a general demo, you should be looking into how that technology fits your unique business needs. If the software is not able to provide a good look at your own data because it needs months to customize, that might be a cause for you to worry as it will signal a long and complex implementation ahead.
How is this system better than its competitors?
It is expected of you to look into what makes your prospected software better than the rest in the market. You do not want to miss out on a more robust solution out there. If the software of your choice can fight head to head with other competitors, that is a good sign.
Do we meet the technical requirements for this system and can it integrate with all other deployed systems?
If you find a convincing software, you should then have a look at what prerequisites it asks of you to ensure you have what it takes to implement it. Another important consideration is its ability to integrate with other systems in place. Over 50% of companies deploy a combination of different systems today. It is then very important for the new software to be able to integrate with what you already have or at least to be able to integrate with a system you wish to have in the near future.
Can I get in touch with other users who successfully rolled out the same system?
It is common for providers to claim that they are good and that they can do all this and that for you. They can even show you a nice, well scripted, well prepared demo but one of the best indicators of how good the system is and how pleasant the experience of rolling it out was is to reach out to a fellow CFO or user who have gone through all the trouble ahead of you. It is through a reference that you can have a feel of how the software really fares in terms of performance, of roll-out experience, and of turnaround time to implement it.
How long will it take for my team to learn how to use this tool?
There are tools that just by looking at it you can´t help but be in awe because of what it can do but it is good to keep in mind that the people who do the demos for you have been trained for years or are the ones who created the software. What good is a robust software for if it requires a rocket scientist to operate it? You must always take into consideration the skills of your finance team and the time it requires for them to learn it before they can actually be productive.
How many people do I need to pull out for the implementation?
An ideal software should not require a platoon of workers. Majority if not all of IT departments of companies are already overworked. You want to make sure that first, you have the right number of resources you can spare and second, that you do not take so much of their time. The shorter the implementation time, the better it is for you.
Can I get quick and reliable support before, during, and after implementation?
Some systems can be very good and feels like a good fit for your business but halfway through it, the entire project just fails. It is not because the software is not capable, it is not because it doesn´t fit your business but simply because the working relationship you have with the providers is not good. It is important that when you have problems or questions, you get the needed support.
Do I have the potential to build more or upgrade this system?
Once you purchase a software, you must be able to plan things with it. You must be allowed to build something on top of it, tweak it to better suit your business needs, and you must be allowed to upgrade it by adding new modules so that the growth does not stop by simply having it in place.
Do all the improvements justify the cost of the software?
In this day and age, the software with the highest price is not anymore always the most robust. Many providers have now taken a more pragmatic approach to pricing to be able to cater to a wider range of customers. You must balance what type of improvements it can do for your finance function versus the costs involved.
We hope that these 10 questions will help you as you search for the right tool for your business. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to financial software. Technology must always be tailored to fit into unique business needs.
Do you have questions or are you still looking for a Reporting, Planning, Budgeting, and Consolidating solution? Contact us at DSPanel and we will show you the full capabilities of our Performance Canvas products via a free and interactive online demo.
DSPanel offers cutting edge technology platform for business analytics, planning, and visualization. DSPanel designs, builds, and operates with the end users in mind. Performance Canvas was created by DSPanel to answer the unarticulated needs of the market not addressed by previous available solutions. With Performance Canvas, information is transformed into valuable business insights for the business executives to utilize in their decision-making process. DSPanel currently has over 2500 organizations deploying their solutions.