Efficient Software Evaluation Process Through Software Metering
Choose the right software for your company with License Patrol. Let's talk about choosing the right software out of multiple competing offerings.
What can be the smart way of doing that?
An average office worker costs your company about 100,000 dollars together with office expenses, taxes, free lunches, bonuses, and 401K plans. Suppose this person uses XYZ software half of his/her time (80 hours a month). For example your company pays 50,000 dollars per annum for this person to use XYZ software. Is it important to save 200 dollars (0.4% of the employment cost) on a license? Will productivity grow by more than 0.4% if you install the right tools? We bet it will. So let's concentrate on how to grow productivity, and not on how to save a penny. It seems to be a more promising direction.
What about a scientific approach? Let's compile a long checklist of required features, associate weights with each feature, check how each product meets requirements, and choose the one that scores higher.
This sounds like a good idea. In fact the majority of organizations evaluate software this way. But let's run a reality check. Suppose you are a software company and you need to choose a Java IDE. You narrowed down the list to two products. Both products provide about 500 features. Some of them overlap, and some of them are distinctly unique. According to your checklist one product scores 2.6 points higher than the other one. Which one would you choose?
Don't forget that weights were assigned to features by a couple of highly biased software architects. So you must admit that you just have no data to make a high-quality decision.
Is there a smarter, brighter, the order of magnitude more efficient way to choose software products?
A smart way
Why not to let users decide what they want:
- Install License Patrol on a number of user workstations (preferably all the workstations in your office; VeraLab Inc. does not charge you per user).
- Download candidate products along with trial licenses into a shared hard drive accessible to all the users.
- Set up the License Patrol server so it can track the usage of these products.
- Instruct users to download and install a product of their choice.
- Now relax for a month. Let users drive.
- After a month log on to License Patrol and compare the usage patterns for each product. Take into account how many users have been using each product and whether users started actively switching from one product to another.
- Make your purchasing decision based on this information.
- Don't forget to notify the stakeholders about your choice. The majority will support you.
Why do we call it a smart way?
Usually Product Managers do a good job ensuring comparable feature sets across competing products. This is why feature comparison will not clarify the picture.
Usually subject matter experts charged with product evaluation do not have enough time to get their hands dirty with the product. As a result their decisions are often based on theoretical assumptions and prior experiences. Often these experts have different feature preferences than the majority of future users. So their opinion is not representative of the entire user population.
And what is most important, these are little things that make a huge difference in user productivity and cause users to switch from one product to another. For example the ability to "Open link in a new Tab" caused tremendous popularity of the Firefox browser, and the ability to have a separate view for each email account boosted the popularity of "The Bat" email client. This is also true for professional software. Minor differences between Eclipse and Forte made the former one a far more effective development environment.
During the evaluation period, users are likely to discover the features that boost productivity in their particular business environment and will switch to a product that provides these features.
Employ a collective brain of the community to help you come to the right decision. License Patrol is the right tool to make it possible.
VeraLab Inc. is an innovative software company located in Silicon Valley, CA. Our core business is Computer Lab Management Systems. Our flagship product is VeraLab, a comprehensive lab management suite targeted for academic institutions and corporate training centers. To find out more about VeraLab, please visit VeraLab Home Page.