A software solution should be chosen based on the project objectives as well as the organization's budget, timeline, human resources, and systems currently in place. Here are some points to consider when evaluating the costs and fit of environmental software to your organization's needs:
1/ Identify and prioritize your requirements. What do you need the software to do and what are the essential software program features and capabilities that you require to meet your project objectives. What features could be put on the wish list and could they be added later?
2/ Is an entire new system required or would integrating a software program into an existing system be more appropriate? If so, how easily could it be integrated with your existing system(s)?
3/ Is a customized solution required or would an off-the-shelf software program do the job?
4/ Is the product scalable? For example, can it be bought and implemented in modules or can other locations be added as required?
5/ Does the solution require additional hardware / servers? Or is it an internet-based software solution?
6/ What is involved in the installation and implementation stages? (including time frame)
7/ Is the program user friendly? Level of basic computer skills required? What help features are built in?
8/ How easily can data be imported or exported from the program? Will the program produce all the reports that you need?
9/ How is the program/data backed up?
10/ What security features does the system have? (e.g. system level security, restricted access, etc.)
11/ How long has this software company/product existed? Ask for references
12/ View a demo and review documentation such as the User Manual. How is documentation kept current? (e.g., routinely updated online?)
13/ What type of technical support is provided (e.g., by telephone, e-mail, website, etc.)? When is it available? (e.g., 24/7 versus during business hours only)
14/ What system upgrades/maintenance will be required?
15/ Will ongoing consulting be required?
16/ How much training will be required? What training is provided by the software company and in what format?