There are millions of apps and services online, on the App Store and the Play Store that you cannot try all of them to test the best apps and services for your business.
1. Build your culture and values
First of all, know who you are. Take the time to set your values and the culture you want to picture with your business. It may be a long process at first but you need it not only for looking for apps but also to increase the chance of success of your business. The more you know you, the quicker you will know if an app or a service is made for you.
You should ask yourself those questions :
- What is my budget ?
- Do I invest in the short, middle or long term ?
- Do I need pay IT support or do I have tech guys by my side ?
- Do I want the latest technologies or more mature ones ?
- Where am I on the scale of design vs efficiency ?
- What business models do I accept ? Open source, paid support, advertisement, selling your data, ...
2. Discover your needs
We may not realize that our work can be done quicker. We love the tools that we use and we are not aware that the world is moving and many new tools have appeared. This is one of the purposes of marketing, making you aware of interesting products but it might not be enough.
Look around, subscribe to a few newsletters speaking about the latest apps and services in your field. Follow the influencers in your market, they will let you know about the latest things you should know about.
3. Look for the different options
If you are aware of a great app or service, don't jump into it right away. It might not be the only and best app for you. Investigate to find similar apps and services, alternative or even a completely different approach to solve your problem.
This is what you should try :
- Find the alternative or similar apps and services
- Discover if it belongs to a bigger field. For instance, you want to scan a document and discover about "Document Management System (DMS)"
- Look for what your competitors use
- What the influencers, experts, ... say about your problem
Use your favorite spreadsheet, paper, or anything to write down what you find.
Focus on the following points :
- Business model, if you don't understand quickly the business model, don't lose your time, go away.
- What are the costs ?
- What is the licence, what can you do or not with the product ?
- How long to setup ?
- Who can install it ?
- Do you have the requirement to install ? What would you need to acquire ?
- Who can use it ?
- How well is it documented ?
- Does it look simple and understandable ?
- What is the company/organization behind the product ? Are they reliable, young/old, well known ?
- Do they have other customers ? possibly well known ?
- What people say about it ? Do they have similar needs than yours ?
- Will the product still available in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ?
- What are the technologies used to build the app or service ?
- Does the website seem good, reliable and efficient ?
4. Try the most relevants
When you are done creating your table with every possible option, decide how many tools you are willing to try. From that, choose the best apps and services in the list. To do so, take in consideration the three first keys :
- Your culture and values
- Your needs
- What the options offer
For each tool, write down clearly why you have or have not selected it.
Try for a while the selected tools and work with the people that will use the app or service the most. They know exactly their needs and will let you know if they don't understand or cannot do the work more efficiently.
Take your time in this process as it may impact deeply the coming years. Don't forget to document correctly your research and justify clearly your choices.
This process is actually never ending. You will be required to start all over again for the same problems and new problems. Every time, try to improve your process and your skills to select quicker and more efficiently the next best app ever. Once again, the more you know you and your company the quicker you will choose the best app or service.