Home > Technology & Telecom > 10 ways to evaluate your IT management software

10 ways to evaluate your IT management software

November 14, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Choosing the right IT management software solution is a strategic decision that requires the careful planning and consideration of every IT department.

Many factors can influence your ultimate choice. High functionality is a must, but what about cost? Is the software portable and flexible? Is it user-friendly? Are there customization options for your specific needs? How long will it take to implement? It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish irrelevant factors from truly crucial ones. These considerations can be painstaking – after all, every IT management team dreads the risk of choosing the wrong software solution. Here are some essential criteria that industry experts have gathered to help you determine whether or not your software is getting the job done.

 

  • 1) Quick installation and implementation
    Installing your IT management software should require minimal time and resource investment. After installation, implementation should be a quick and seamless transition into immediate use. The processes of deployment, customization, and setting configurations should take no longer than a few hours. If a program is so cumbersome that it takes months to effectively implement, you’ll have wasted valuable time and energy that could have been channeled towards meaningful productivity.
  • 2) Simple interface that facilitates ease-of-use
    All too often, your purchase of IT management software is immediately followed by a new challenge: how does the thing even work? If your software does not provide a user-friendly interface, you’ll have to invest more time and resources into learning the program’s basics. Even worse, you might miss out on important functionalities simply because you can’t figure out how they work – or can’t find them in the program to begin with. Your program should offer an interface that is so intuitive that even your less technically-inclined end-users can use it without needing a user manual.
  • 3) Modular and integrated structure for centralized access to information
    Effective IT management encompasses a wide range of components: helpdesk, asset management, monitoring, reports, projects, tasks, problem management, change management, and CMDB. Combining multiple tools can be incredibly complex, and your IT management software solution must not consist of “stand-alone” modules that isolate data into silos of information. Your software must provide a comprehensive and completely integrated range of tools. This unified approach provides centralized access to information and facilitates your success.
  • 4) Low maintenance and upgrade costs
    When evaluating the cost-efficiency of your IT management software, the price of your initial purchase is only a small component of your long-term investment. Many tend to overlook the pressing issue of hidden costs: how much is maintaining your software going to cost you? Maintenance fees can be surprisingly expensive, and if the program is complicated, you may need to hire private consultants every time you want to upgrade your system. As the effectiveness of your software depends on continued maintenance, you should have to pay no more than a small percentage of your initial purchase on an annual basis for continued maintenance.
  • 5) Intuitive customization options
    Customization extends well beyond implementation into the ongoing maintenance of your system. Choose IT management software solution that provides you with as many customization options as possible, and these customization options must be simple and straight-forward. You shouldn’t have to hire a team of consultants every time you want to make a customization. The point of customization is for the product to cater to your needs, and if the process takes longer than a few minutes to do on your own, it’s too complicated. Remember, you shouldn’t have to work for your software – it should work for you!
  • 6) Long-term support approach
    In the months and years after you purchase, your software provider should demonstrate an unwavering commitment to your satisfaction. An excellent service experience means that every issue you report is taken seriously and quickly addressed. Personal attention should be more than lip-service – it should truly be a core tenet of your product provider’s support mission. Your purchase of an IT management software solution is largely motivated to by the desire to improve your IT service quality; why shouldn’t you expect the same quality of service from the company you purchase it from?
  • 7) IT professional community
    A true enhancement to any IT management software is access to an active online community of other IT professionals. Whether it is learning how to perform a remote reboot or how you can implement ITIL best practices in your organization, online community forums give you indispensable tools for better IT management. Your participating can help you get the most out of your software’s capabilities. An IT community also lets yourself compare yourself to other IT professionals – see what they’re up to, what they’re concerned about, and where you stand. Staying in-the-know on the latest trends is crucial in the ever-dynamic world of IT.
  • 8) Strong references
    A reliable indicator of your software package’s merit is what other customers have to say about it. When evaluating your IT management solution, ask for references and testimonials. Don’t hesitate to ask for references per industry or geography if this is meaningful to your evaluation. Feedback from other IT professionals is a trustworthy reference, and it can help you reach a conclusion about what the product can do for you. If they love it, ask why. A company that boasts an especially loyal customer base is doing something right – especially when those customers are IT pros, who don’t settle for anything less than excellence.
  • 9) Commitment to feedback
    As an IT professional, you know what tools and features you need to maximize your IT performance. The company that provides your IT management software should listen to your input and strive to implement your ideas in future releases. Your constructive feedback can – and should – help forge the future of the product, and you must feel that your ideas are valued. More than just demonstrating a commitment to user satisfaction, a company that incorporates your feedback into its product guarantees to deliver the kind of performance you need.
  • 10) Strong vision and dynamic future
    IT is a world of ever-evolving innovation and technological development. When evaluating your IT management software solution, you need to ask: is this company receptive to change and improvement? What is its past, and where is it going? How many new versions does it release a year? How many features does every new version introduce? Are these features significant additions to the product’s capabilities, or are they just minor patches and bug fixes? On the support page of your product’s website, check out its release history to evaluate its direction into the future.
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