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A software evaluation is a type of assessment that seeks to determine if software or a combination of software programs is the best possible fit for the needs of a given client. The idea is to look closely at the resources and tools provided by the software that is either currently in use or is being examined as a possible addition to programs already in use by that client. Based on a prepared list of criteria along with some practical experimentation, a software evaluation makes it possible to determine if the products would be helpful to the client or if some other combination of software products would serve to better advantage.
There are several factors to consider with any software evaluation. One has to do with compatibility of the software with the hardware resources already in place on the client’s network or computer equipment. Here, the focus is on the type of operating system the software requires in order to function, as well as the amount of memory and capacity that the hardware currently provides. This is particularly important if there is no budget for hardware and memory upgrades that would accommodate the software under consideration.
Another key factor in software evaluation is how well the proposed software package will interact with other applications already in place. For example, if a proposed word processing program were found to be unable to easily import and export data from the sales database currently in use by the company, this would mean additional time spent preparing mailing pieces to customers and prospects. In like manner, if software used to process customer orders will not download to the accounting software, this can add more manual steps to the preparation of invoices. The right combination of software programs can streamline essential functions, allowing employees more time to devote to other activities that help to enhance the process of revenue generation.
Software evaluation is necessary to make sure that all software used by an individual or business is actually increasing the efficiency of the operation rather than creating additional work loads. While individuals and companies can conduct this type of evaluation on their own, there are also consultants who can engage in product and software assessment for a client, making suggestions for any changes or additions that would be in the best interests of the client. This approach can often uncover issues that would be overlooked otherwise, ultimately saving the company a great deal of money in terms of labor and other types of operational costs.