What is “successful” or “great” software? Is it easy to use? Does it have a lot of features and functionality? Is it cost effective? Does it help organizations streamline their processes? How about this? I have a new definition. Great software is software that the users actually use.
I don’t care how “great” software is promised to be, if the users don’t use it, then it can’t be that great. You can do all the due diligence in the world, vet software against a huge requirements list, call references, use trial versions, do conference room pilots, and everything else you can imagine. At the end of the day, the users have to use the software. Any software package that makes itself “usable” is a great software package. And any management team that implements new software and gets its users to use it is a great management team.
This whole thing about getting users to use software is generally not a huge problem for accounting and ERP software like Sage MAS 90 or MAS 200, although getting users to use ALL of the software can be a challenge. However, getting users to use CRM software has historically been and continues to be a challenge. If you have a package like SugarCRM, the software can be incredibly valuable, but management has its hands full getting user adoption for CRM software. Management needs to spend as much time thinking about implementing the software, and getting user adoption of the software, as they do selecting the software. Selecting the software isn’t even half the battle. Have a “User Software Adoption Plan” in place before doing anything.
It turns out that asking “What is great software?” is a trick question. The real question is how to successfully implement and gain adoption for the software. Now, that’s the trick. And, if you can pull off that trick, you’ll have great software.