I once used software from a new company that had created very promising technology in an industry that was a bit of a “tech desert” (i.e., very few options). I loved the potential of the software: it integrated many of the tasks I needed to perform in one place, keeping me from double entry and using multiple applications. It also offered tools that allowed me to see the operations as a whole. The software was new, and I understood it was in beta, but the price was good and I was willing to help them continue to improve the product with real-world feedback. A win for both of us!
The only problem was the software was incredibly slow and clunky. In fact, the more I worked in it and the more data I put into the system, the slower it became. My frustration grew to the point where I avoided using the software—a major problem in an otherwise great solution.
It goes to show, software doesn’t have to be old to be a clunker. Even new products can slow you down if they’re not designed with performance and scalability in mind.
My experience with that slow, lumbering software taught me an important lesson: Performance matters. All the best product features in the world can’t make up for performance issues.
If you’re in the market for new software, I’d encourage you to ask these questions before you commit:
- How quickly do records and reports display in the system? (And not just with a few records but with thousands or millions.)
- How quickly are changes saved in the system? Could timeouts cause loss of data?
- Can you access the software from anywhere (even a mobile device), and how does bandwidth impact system performance?
- What factors can slow down system performance? How does the vendor manage these factors?
Beyond performance, also ask these types of questions:
- Is the interface easy to use?
- Does if offer reports that are easy to customize to get the relevant information?
- Will you be able to integrate it with other software you are already using?
- Does the vendor offer pricing options to meet your needs?
If you are tired of entering data, then getting up to refill your coffee while you wait for the system to update, then it may be time to ditch your clunky software for a better model. And (shameless plug), I’d highly recommend that you take a look at Onspring. Our sub-second load time for records, reports and dashboards will blow your hair back! Onspring cares about those fractions of seconds and making the user experience great. We also place a high priority on client feedback and use that feedback to drive our future releases. That level of care and attention to detail can make a huge impact on your productivity and work satisfaction. As we like to say, your software shouldn’t frustrate you or slow you down. It should help you do your best work.