The very first thing that you have to consider is the business goals of the company. Since its planning season for your next year's activities, it would be best to review the business processes so you can identify the current status. In this way, you have a clear perspective of what are the processes that you need to automate and what are those that you can still handle using manual tools.
During the current process review, its also important to prioritize the needs of the different stakeholders of the company. Every member of the organization that has vested interest or role in choosing the software should be accounted for. Getting the ideas and opinions of the people involved particularly on their challenges and problems would enable you to establish the basic requirements.
These requirements will serve as guide in your selection for the right software. There is no perfect one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to software. Some softwares may have one or two of your requirements and some others may only address few of your needs. So it's advisable to prioritize your needs. Which of these requirements have a greater impact to the stakeholders and to the business as a whole? You may do a cost-benefit analysis to assess such investment.
After matching your requirements with the available software tools, its recommended to qualify your software vendors. Its important to look for strong capabilities and credibility when evaluating your list. Check what their existing clients will say about them. Building a long-term relationship with your software vendor will help you make the best out of your investment. Constant support and communication between software vendors will ease any technical concerns and issues on the software.
Lastly, check out on free trials and demo. Getting into the feel of having your manual process get automated would allow you to discover if it really matches your business requirements. Most of the time, only during free trials and demo that we discover some issues and concerns that were not identified at the start of the selection. Availing of free trials and demo will qualify the software and will allow you to decide to proceed with the purchase or not.
Selection process might be tedious but automating your business processes will provide greater returns in the future. Expansion and collaboration would be easy and seamless! Talk to a software provider and get your business process automated.