You want to make an informed and complete decision before investing in landscape management software. Doing this requires a comparative analysis of the options. It starts with knowing exactly what to compare.
Do you know what you really should be comparing?
What you don’t know can undermine your landscape software and vendor analysis, leading to a poor decision. Unless you're an expert in landscaping business management software—and most of us are NOT because it’s not something we purchase every day—then having some guidelines to establish a comparative baseline can help.
The devil is in the details
When evaluating landscape management software the devil is in the details, because—on the surface—many software systems appear the same. But that’s like saying all cars are the same because they have engines, transmissions, and steering wheels. Again, it's what's beyond the obvious common features that make all the difference to the actual people using the software in your landscape company.
Take the time to do it right
Since every software demonstration looks good, and because often you just want to make some decision and start implementing, there is a tendency to under-analyze. So—SLOW DOWN!
- Getting references is good. But make certain you ask for “warts-and-all” references. These are industry peers who will tell you the good and the bad about their software experience. This is invaluable as there is no perfect software solution for all of your needs.
- Analyzing features, training, set-up, data conversion, support, documentation, growth plans, organization charts, ownership, and pricing (inclusive one price for all or à la carte pricing models) is not that hard if you know what to look for.
Weight your analysis toward the vendor's implementation & support
For my money, I would put half the weight of my selection on the implementation and support programs of the vendor.
Why? Because you are going to be living with this investment and these people for a long time—and five years from today, you want to:
- Be using 100% of the software features
- Be using software that's up to date, NOT a solution that's become obsolete because your vendor did not re-invest in the product
Remember, price is what you pay—value is what you get
That’s why price – while important – is not the primary consideration when making this investment. The strategic and tactical benefits, as well as BEST PARTNER are way more important than mere price.
Tools for comparison
I've created a useful spreadsheet that makes it easy to compare landscape software vendors against the key areas, features, and considerations for evaluating business management software.
You can request my comparative features sheet by emailing me with the subject line: “Landscape Software Comparision Spreadsheet.” In the body: include your name, company, and a brief comment describing what you want, and I’ll reply with a copy of the Excel spreadsheet.
You can also download our Buyer's Checklist for Selecting Landscape Business Management Software to learn which questions you should ask when comparing solutions.
Rally Cap Update: Spring is a good time to assess software options and make plans for a June implementation start date. This timeline allows you to be up and running for snow sales and green contract renewal seasons. This plan also helps you to manage your Fall upsell season better.