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How to Handle the Fork in Your Software Selection Road

The continued rise of industry-specific software is creating a decision fork for businesses as they consider new technology solutions. Businesses now face the added complexity of deciding whether or not an industry-specific solution is the best choice.

Industries that encompass unique business processes and/or highly fragmented sectors comprised of small-to medium-sized businesses are experiencing the largest influx. Property management, construction, retail consumer services, and legal are a few industry examples where these solutions are regularly appearing.

For these industries, when researching software to run a division or to implement across the business, they face two distinct solutions, creating the proverbial fork in the road.

General Software
General software can be purchased by an organization and configured to fit the business needs. Examples where general software is often applicable includes:

  • Sales, marketing and customer service software, such as Salesforce
  • Financial software, such as QuickBooks
  • Systems that focus on specific business-functions, such as human resources or talent management


Industry-Specific Software
Industry-specific software is developed specifically to run entire businesses or specific business functions within a defined industry. Examples where industry-specific software is applicable includes:

  • RealPage for property management
  • Viewpoint for construction
  • Doxly for legal
  • ViewPoint Cloud for community and land management for municipalities
  • Iris Works and Mindbody for retail consumer services such as photographers or wellness providers


Trends Driving the Rise
There are several factors that have led to the growing market of industry-specific software solutions. A few common reasons include the maturity of software-as-a-service and the cloud, fragmented industries, and innovative startups. In addition, an increased focus on user experience has driven industry-specific software because it can lead to minimal application complexity and upfront implementation cost and time. The continued modernization of systems and the digitalization/automation of business processes has created a trend that is here to stay.

Choosing Which Fork to Take
With greater choice and complexity how do you choose which fork is right for your business?

These steps can help:

  • Understand the business needs and define goals for a solution.
  • Determine if your business and/or business processes lend themselves to an industry-specific solution.
  • Understand requirements prior to beginning the software selection process.
  • Identify and evaluate multiple software options, both industry-specific and general software to provide an effective comparison.
  • Narrow your choices to dig into the specifics of the software. Understand the strength and staying power of the vendor and focus on how configurable and interoperable the software is.
  • Leverage free trials to explore and pilot potential software before purchase.


Wrap Up
While the software selection process is now more complex, having choices enables businesses to select a solution to effectively meet business needs.

If you need assistance with the software selection process for your next technology implementation, contact our team.


About the Author

Dan Moyers is a Technology Practice Manager for KSM Consulting. Dan’s mission is to aid in determining the right technology to help businesses effectively solve real challenges. Connect with him on LinkedIn.