So, you’ve decided to invest in business management software for your landscaping business, but now you must determine which solution is best suited to your business needs and goals. Where do you start?
While there are many factors that may ultimately determine which solution is best suited to your business needs and goals, below are the main areas to assess when comparing potential options:
- Industry experience
- Platform architecture and scalability
- Product roadmap and integration
- Implementation process
- Training and support
- Customer satisfaction
- Value for fees
Now, let’s take a closer look at the specific criteria to take into consideration for each of the above.
1. Industry experience
As far as management software goes, there are a multitude of options available on the market, yet not many provide the specialized functionality that landscaping companies like yours need. When looking at potential solutions, it’s imperative to consider whether the software was built specifically for the landscape vertical and if the vendor has actual industry experience. Implementing a solution requires an investment of both time and money, and the last thing you want is to have to educate a provider about the industry because they don’t understand your business’s needs.
Landscape management software has the potential to transform your entire business—for the better—and is more likely to do so when you partner with a company that understands the demands and needs of the industry.
2. Platform architecture and scalability
Among the business management software options that are specifically built for landscape contractors, vast differences exist between the platforms and their capabilities.
Because technology is ever evolving, it’s important to select a solution that’s adaptable. Cloud-based platforms offer a level of security, flexibility, and mobile accessibility not possible with server-based systems. Utilizing a SaaS solution also saves time and resources, such as IT staff and server equipment, required to host an on-site system. Even better, cloud solutions help ensure that everyone is always using the same—and most current—version of the software so there are never issues with sharing information across your team.
Scalability is another key factor to consider, particularly when you’re focused on growing your business. When investing time and money into landscape management software, you want to make sure the solution you choose can accommodate your organization no matter how large it becomes.
3. Product roadmap and integration
With as quickly as technology changes, you’ll want to partner with a provider who takes product improvements seriously. When researching options, look for a vendor who follows a release schedule that includes frequent updates to ensure continual improvement of their product and its functionality.
Beyond the product roadmap, another crucial consideration is whether the solution offers integrated functionality that spans all areas of your business as well as the ability to integrate with other applications. Without either, it’s nearly impossible to gain full visibility into every aspect of your business or gather meaningful insights from your data.
Replacing multiple solutions that keep your information siloed with one that offers end-to-end functionality and supports valuable third-party integrations enables you to gain real-time insight for making informed, proactive decisions and also frees up time to focus on activities that make the greatest impact.
Additionally, fully integrated software can help increase productivity and improve accuracy across your entire organization. With seamless, centralized access to information from every area of your business—from sales, production, and finance to HR—and the elimination of manual processes, multiple spreadsheets, and duplicate data entry, your staff can work more effectively to accomplish more with their available time.
4. Implementation process
Your success implementing and using landscape management software is heavily dependent on your solution provider’s approach to onboarding new customers. When looking at vendors, be sure to consider their implementation process and the experience of the individuals who are responsible for training and supporting your team.
When implementation is supported by a team of industry professionals who understand how to marry software with standard operating procedures and best practices, your team’s learning curve is shortened and adoption and use of the system by your organization is maximized.
5. Training and support
Adopting new technology takes time, and the learning curve for using a business management platform to its full potential extends well beyond the initial onboarding. As with the implementation process, your success using the system hinges greatly on finding the right solution provider. Look for a partner who has a vested interest in your success and continues to support your business—and its use of their solution—beyond the sale and implementation.
When evaluating vendors, take into account whether ongoing training and support is offered; if in-house support and customer success teams are available to assist with any issues or concerns that may arise; whether training classes, webinars, videos, online documentation, and other resources are readily accessible to customers; and, most importantly—at what cost.
Leading providers of landscape business management software will offer all the above at no cost to you.
Another key consideration for selecting a business management system is the experiences of those who use it. Be sure to confirm the vendor you’re considering has a track record of healthy, productive customer relationships and success in helping businesses grow and thrive.
6. Customer satisfaction
Start by visiting the vendor’s website to review their customer logos. If many of the top landscaping organizations in the industry grace their customer list, that’s a strong indication they offer a solid solution you can trust. Case studies, also frequently posted online, are another useful tool for gauging customer experiences and understanding how the software has helped other companies and the ways in which it might benefit yours.
Investing in and implementing business management software is a major commitment, so it’s crucial to select a solution that’s backed by a history of happy clients.
7. Value for fees
When comparing solutions, it’s important to remember that business management software is a long-term investment, not a one-time expense. Considering the significant impact that a business management system can have on your organization, your technology provider is much more than just a vendor; they will essentially become your business partner. And, if you make the right decision, the software you choose has the potential to increase your business’s profit margins; drive customer satisfaction and retention; and employee productivity, engagement, and retention.
Although it’s natural to want to minimize your financial investment, going with the cheapest option can end up costing you more in the long run. Less-expensive software often lacks the impactful features and valuable end-to-end functionality that yields the best results.
Keep in mind that the best solutions on the market today typically offer the greatest value. The industry-leading systems are best equipped to help you make timely, strategic decisions, ensure profitable job costing, maximize operational efficiency, and eliminate hidden costs and avoidable expenses related to overhead, labor, materials, and equipment.
In summary, selecting the right business management software for running your company might seem like a daunting task but knowing what to look for can help simplify your assessment and decision-making process. Be patient and take care to explore and consider your options thoroughly before making a commitment.
Putting in the extra effort now will pay off dividends in the long run by helping ensure you choose the best option for your business. Because in today’s world—where technology drives success—businesses are only as strong as the software behind them.
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