Monday, December 10, 2012

5 Best Practices For Selecting Software

The trends are always changing in the world of technology. Who would have thought just a few years ago that tablets would become more desirable than laptops? Yet that's exactly what has happened, with major developers like Microsoft developing innovations meant for that device.

Most nonprofit managers would love to bring the latest "must-have" software to their organizations, but that's simply an unrealistic proposition. To be successful in today's rapidly changing world, it is imperative to decide which technologies best fit your organization.

In "Nonprofit Management 101," Holly Ross, executive director of Portland, Ore.-based Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), wrote that the key to selecting new software is understanding and documenting your needs. This would seem to indicate a length process, but it can actually be done by following five best practices:

  • Identify your top needs. If you are looking for graphics software, for example, will you be making graphics primarily for the Web or for print?
  • Can your existing software already do it? Before you head out into the software selection process, be sure to evaluate existing software to see if it can get the job done.
  • Find out what your peers are using. Referrals can be the best way to find the right piece of software for your organization.
  • Identify some scenarios and test. Most software packages and vendors allow you access to a demo or trial version.
  • Decide whether this software will meet your needs. You should look for software that will best meet your critical needs.

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