While speaking with over 900 Asset Management Software buyers, we found that most first-time buyers took a free trial before initiating any contact with software vendors.
Free Trials are best used to validate what you know from the product’s demo and vendor’s interactions. If used at the start, chances are that you will buy the product based on how it looks, not what it does.
Utilising free trials when it comes to purchasing software can be crucial in your decision-making process, particularly when it comes to choosing the right Asset Management Software for your business.
When to Consider Using a Free Asset Management Software Trial
The best point to consider free trials or evaluation licences is during the later stages of your asset management system selection process. Evaluations or free trials should be used to complement your decision-making, rather than as a starting point in your selection process.
The tendency to try out free trials at the start is completely understandable. In most cases, free trials just give an idea of the interface or usability, which can be easily understood by looking at product demos or product images.
The pitfall of trying out software early in the process is you may miss the overall impact of your software choice and focus purely on user-level requirements. There are three types of requirements;
It is highly recommended to map out and quantify your requirements first; this will set the scene for the necessary management/budgetary approvals. (Otherwise, the whole exercise can become a loosely managed purchasing decision; somebody’s neck is always on the line…)
Key Areas to Evaluate During Free Trials
Ease of navigation, ability to spot data quickly, user-friendliness of the reporting capabilities, and data flow between different windows are the key areas to evaluate.
How closely your current workflows can be adopted by the software? Better still, can the software enhance your current workflows, is it easy to upload data and, most importantly, how easy is it to change workflows in the software?
Call the support teams during the trial to get an idea of the quality and response time to resolve support issues.
Make notes whilst evaluating the software, understanding the above areas will help you to ask detailed questions of the vendors before finalising your decision. (This is almost the biggest takeaway of conducting free trials.).
The more familiar you are with the software before making the purchase decision, the better it is to implement and use.
How Many Free Trials Should You Consider Taking?
Ideally, free trials should be done with two vendors (three if you are really keen). You also want the trials to be done simultaneously with the same user (not you, but under your supervision).
The trials should be mapped out and should not last more than two weeks, i.e. before you start your free trial, you should have your data ready and also have a clear understanding of exactly what you are trialling the software for.
Resource and time should be allocated for the free trial (preferably somebody who has been in your business for three years or more).
Feedback and discussion meetings to review trial progress should be planned.