Jewelry companies are in a difficult position when they are searching for a new management system. It’s not easy to compare different systems from multiple points of view.
The most important aspect of when choosing a jewelry software is not the price and not even the features - and you may disagree with this. But if you read this blog all the way to the end, you will find out why I believe so.
The recent trend is that more and more companies first hire a consultant, as consultants have wide knowledge of other software selection criteria too. They know what pieces to look for in this puzzle. These consultants have a more in-depth view of different systems on the market, they might have seen a few failed implementations too, so this sort of experience will definitely mitigate your risks as well.
If you can’t afford to hire a consultant, please read this blog post to receive a different and maybe eye-opening perspective on the topic.
This is why features are not the most important aspect
We can easily recognize first-time software buyers as soon as they start talking about their requirements. They typically ask many questions about the features or price and ask far less about the team or on-going support. Also, they think that one or two missing features are deal-breakers and they look for perfection. They look for a 100% functional fit for the best price, which is usually not a realistic case. My opinion is that it is easier to solve a missing feature issue than to solve other missing aspects.
Not to beat around the bush, here is the aspect that is even more important than the features themselves: it’s the usability. Although software features are important because ultimately, they define the functional fit for your organization, usability is even more important.
To demonstrate this with an example: if you need to create an invoice, but you have to click 8-15 times to collect all the information in one place, it will take too much time. You might end up saying you can write the invoice much faster with pen and paper. Well, this means the software has the invoicing feature, but instead of helping you, it makes things worse. The number one target, process automation, has not been met.
In a good system, the invoice is generated automatically, collecting all the necessary data points from the database, and the user can get the printed version of it within a minute, with only 3-4 clicks.
So most of the RFP-type checklists mislead organizations as they focus mainly on the existence of a features rather taking into consideration:
- How easy-to-use is the interface?
- How well designed is the software when a feature needs to interact with other features? Is it clear, is it logical?
If the concept behind that feature is illogical or superficially planned, it will be very difficult to improve usability even with more custom development work.
Other important aspects you should definitely take into consideration
Second-time software buyers rarely ask about the price during the demo. Not because they are not price-sensitive or they have an infinite budget, but because they look for other aspects first. They know what went wrong with the previous software and they would like to avoid that. They look at the price as an investment and not as a cost, and this makes them “wise” enough to focus on the other aspects too. They know that ongoing (license subscription) and upfront (implementation) costs will eventually reach the ROI point where the benefits will outweigh the investment.
So far, we have covered that the “existence” of a feature or the software price should not be at the top of the list. As for the features aspect, you should not ignore the usability. As for the price, you should look for long-term benefits.
Now, I will write about a few aspects that you may not have considered important:
- Cloud technology - does the vendor offer a cloud version? Bear in mind that slowly a huge gap is arising between legacy softwares and cloud-based platforms. In the era of web 3.0, the cloud platform wins out in the end. Benefits in a nutshell: very low infrastructure and maintenance costs, mobility, easy updates.
- Team size - does the vendor have enough resources to handle multiple projects at the same time? Do they have a big enough support team to provide live support? Do they have enough technical team members to improve the software or handle software change requests? Do they work in maintenance mode or do they have an active list with new developments to make the software better and better? These are important questions to ask.
- Easy to customize – is the software easy to customize? Is it configurable without touching the software code?
- On-going support – is support available during your business hours? Is there phone support, or is there only email and knowledgebase based support? What is their average response time?
- Interface and UX/UI – does the software have an intuitive interface? How easy is it to navigate in the software? How much manual work can you automate with it? How much time can you save if the software automates even the complex processes?
- E-commerce integration – how easy is it to integrate the software with your website? You can save a lot a headache here.
- Connectivity – Ability to integrate with other systems. Does the software also support the legacy (EDI) and the latest (API) connectivity methods?
It is not my goal to rank these aspects for you, as their important will differ from client to client. But these considerations shouldn’t be omitted from your checklist when choosing a software system. You weigh their importance as you wish.
Where is PIRO’s place if we put all these aspects together?
Like every other company, we also check our competitors regularly. From time to time, we evaluate our position on the market. You must have encountered the hackneyed phrase: leading company, leading software. We don’t like to use such phrases because they can be misleading and often difficult to check the real value behind these words.
In what aspect is a company a leading company? The most difficult aspect of comparison is the features aspect. RFP’s (Request for proposal) were introduced to help compare two or more softwarse, but in my opinion, they are far from being accurate as they don’t provide enough data about the features’ usability.
Consequently, omitting the features comparison entirely, we created our own comparison chart using publicly available data about our competitors. You can see the result below.
Although the chart below is based on our data collected for multiple years, we reserve the right to say that this data might not be 100% accurate. All notes are welcome, let us know if you have used any of our competitors’ software and if our data needs to be corrected: