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Six questions to ask before buying software

When choosing software make sure you ask the following questions so you have all the facts before diving in and purchasing. Once you have bought into a software program it is very costly to change. Unfortunately, if you don't ask you won't be told. Here is a list of questions you can ask both yourself and the sales rep so you have all the facts before buying anything. Be smarter than the sales pitch!



  1. Cash flow – do you have available cash to fund the software upfront? How many years would you have to subscribe to this software program to catch up to the cost of buying a perpetual license?

  2. Transfers - Ask the software provider for a list of the rules and conditions they have regarding licence transfers. Most providers will charge significant fees to reregister software to a different owner. Transfer fees can often negate any perceived advantage of ownership.

  3. New releases – is it important for you to have access to the latest technology? Check with the software provider how much future updates cost and factor that into your decision. If you miss a version update will you be back charged when you want to update later? Also, ask how many versions you can fall behind before you reach a sunset clause.

  4. Additional users - How many licences do you need? Check how much it will cost you to add another licence at a later stage and ask if that license has access to all the features or if it is restricted to design only functionality.

  5. Upgrades – If you are buying in at a lower price point than the top of the line level, ask how much it will cost you to upgrade to each higher level. That way you will know the true cost of the software. Eventually, you will want all the functionality as the missing features in lower levels are often designed to make you want to upgrade out of frustration more than anything.

  6. Support - Check the price of tech support and be clear about the inclusions. Most providers will back charge you for any support fees you missed. If you add this to the purchase price how much will the total spend be over 10 years?

Copy and paste this list and send it to your sales rep. If they can't answer these questions you should run the other way.


Sincerely, David Carr

Cadmate

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