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About nZoom

nZoom is our resource-management, communication and information-flow solution. Our customers needed to be able to better track and manage the document flows within their businesses—this was how it all started. Over the years, we managed to develop flexible business software, with many additional functionalities, allowing integrated customer relationship management (CRM) and quick access to relevant data, without compromising the corporate access-control and privacy policies. nZoom's underlying logic makes our platform an indispensable tool for the ISO-certification process. Having all business processes and workflows "nZoom-described" stops the mushrooming paper document flows—a major concern for all businesses undergoing this certification process.



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Quick Start Guide: Choosing the Right Business Software
Knowing in advance what you need your business software to do is key to finding the right solution. This is true for any CRM, document, inventory management or customised solution for a specific business unit.

The first step is always defining the required scope of your business software. CRM systems, for instance, usually track and automate sales processes, while managing the Sales and Customer Service units. Once all tracked processes are identified, you need to set your specific requirements for each one. These requirements may be based on the way of work, specific information you need recorded, workload transfers among departments, deadline monitoring, etc. The best strategy is to take some time to have all people responsible for the respective processes meet and discuss what the respective system should do. A good practice is to start with the final goal: take a look at the reports you need your new software to create—they will tell you about the data the system should collect. Don't start looking for a car that has four wheels—they all usually do. Start by knowing in advance what you need, what you can't and can do without. "I am looking for a CRM" or "I am looking for an ERP" are not helping your software vendor to understand your needs. The lack of a clear idea about the needs for a software business management tool is one of the root causes for the large number of failed information system deployments (the staggering 30% worldwide).

Ideally, the result of the company's effort to collect and summarise its information-system needs would be a "Request for Proposal" document (you can google "RFP" or "Request for Proposal" to see what these look like). It will help the companies you contact quote a much more precise budget and take more serious commitments regarding the features of your expected product. Please, note that the type of software you need would tell how detailed your specification should be. For instance, when you specify your requirements for an inventory management software, you don't have to say that it has to track inventories, goods in, goods out, etc. On the other hand, if you need a CRM system, you need to be much more specific, because this kind of software needs to be much better tailored to your particular business model.

You should also be very careful with the budget limits you are comfortable to set for buying and deploying any software system. Unfortunately, the software licences are just one component of the total costs. Here's a shortlist of what you need to have budgeted in advance:
Quick Start Guide: Choosing the Right Business Software
  • Licence prices for the software solution itself
  • Software licence prices (server systems, database, etc. licences)
  • Hardware prices (required to run the software) + backup (if you run a higher-grade system)
  • Customisation costs to have the system tailored to your needs (could be quite significant, especially in more complex CRM and ERP implementation scenarios)
  • Deployment and training costs—usually quoted as hourly rates, so you should try and agree on a fixed, result-based price with your vendor
  • System maintenance costs—for some systems, it is mandatory for 1 year, at least
Remember to take into account the time your in-house team would need to work on the project. The more demanding software projects require to have the best trained people from the teams involved with the vendor to detail the specification and support the deployment.

Once you have the specification and the budget, you can proceed with the next step—find the right toolset and the right partner.
Choosing the software vendor is no less important than choosing the right software solution for your needs. It is our experience that a successful deployment of business software heavily depends on the service throughout the process (as for the ERP and CRM projects, it is essential). We see the deployment and the subsequent support of any information system as an integrated service, which would help maximise the benefits of your investment only if it is properly and expertly performed. This is why we would advise to be very particular in choosing the right partner—especially, if you set your sights on a software solution, offered by multiple vendors.

How to improve your chances to find the right software and vendor? Once you have your scope, your result sought and your budget set, start researching the market. We believe Google is your best starting point. For instance, if you are looking for a CRM system, check out the sites the engine will propose when searching for "CRM" and its derivatives—"software," "system," "solution". Normally, you will also find links to specialised listings of companies, offering your required product. Check out the companies' sites, their customer bases and references. See if there are any companies in your industry there, to contact and get some feedback whether the software is any good and the deployment has gone smoothly. Get the opinions of some people you know if they have gone through a similar process. If you are in a specific industry, try finding some information from your industry association or be more specific in your search: e.g. "CRM real estate."

Send your queries to your selected prospective vendors and gauge their responses: how long did it take to receive a reply or a call from the vendor, what was their approach, what additional information they have requested from you? How well the communication with the team goes? These are some indirect signs to tell if the vendor is capable to deliver the service you require and expect.

We would advise you to insist on having a "live" demonstration of the software systems—not just presentations. This way, you would get a much better idea about the system's capabilities. Ask your questions during the demonstration and see if they are answered expertly and fully.

When you narrow the field of your prospective software solutions and vendors, ask them to have one of your specific processes described in their system. Ask them for a demonstration and to let you work with the system on your own for a while. See if it is user-friendly and how easy it would be for all users within your business (does it have a localised interface, for instance). Ask the vendor to arrange a joint visit at one of their customers with business as close as possible to your business and demonstrate there the software in a production environment. Ask the system's users for their opinion.

Evaluate how well your reviewed system would communicate with other software you are currently using. For instance, if you are looking for inventory management, you might want it linked to your e-commerce and accounting software; if it is CRM—then you would want it linked with your ERP system, the web forms on the corporate site, the e-marketing system, etc.

Lastly, ask to test working with the system on your own and involve its future users in simulating some standard processes for your business. Get feedback from the software testers.

We hope these short tips would help in your choice of the right information system for your business!




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