The 5 Point Checklist for Evaluating Software

3 min read

If you’re reading this, you’ve made the decision to invest in the growth of your business by exploring software solutions.

You might think this is a daunting decision, one that could have a significant positive or negative effect on your operation.

We’ve been through this process hundreds of times with companies just like you, and based on our experience, we came up with a 5-point checklist that will guide you toward a successful outcome for your evaluation:

1.  Map Out Your Current Processes

This could be as simple as a drawing on a scratch pad, but the key is to capture the who and how of each step in your process. Your map should highlight who the key stakeholders are in each process and how that process is done currently. You will also need to include where information lives (example: where your artwork is stored), what must be entered into specific systems (example: purchase orders, invoices, etc), and where you spot inefficiencies and duplicate entries in your system.

2. Identify Needs

In a perfect world, what would the processes and tools look like for each member of your team to ensure success?  Meet with each team member and ask for a list of priorities. Be sure to separate these out by “must have” features and “nice to have” features. Be ruthless about what truly needs to be on the “must have” side of the ledger so you don’t inadvertently end up searching for a mythical unicorn.

3. Prioritize Features

Organize the “must have” list in declining order of importance.  Where is your cut-off to solve for the 90%? No software solution will resolve everything on your list, so, in order to avoid analysis paralysis, you need to focus on solving for the 90%. What would remove 90% of the pain points from your current process?

4. Method of Evaluation

Most software solutions offer a free trial.  Many companies fritter away the free trial “playing around”. They don’t approach their trial knowing what they want to evaluate. They have not yet determined what success looks like. Create a clear list of what you need to test during the free trial so that, at the end of the trial, you can determine whether the functionality of the platform fits your needs.

5. Set a Deadline for a Decision

The biggest mistake we see companies make when they are evaluating software is that they don’t have a clear timeline in their head of when they need to make a decision. Evaluating the software that powers your business is mission critical. Don’t let this important decision get consumed by the urgent. There never will be a “right time” or a “slow time.” This is one of the most important decisions you could make to move your business forward, determine a deadline and stick to it. Declare your deadline early and communicate it to the whole team so that everyone is held accountable. Remember, every minute you spend running your business with an inefficient system costs you money.

Follow this 5-step process, and we guarantee you will make a confident decision!


commonsku is cloud-based promotional products software to modernize your business. We give you the best tools to run your business from presentation through to invoicing and everything in between. To learn more or try it for free, visit commonsku.com.


Also published on Medium.