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When it comes to types of software available for download or part of a service, you have thousands of choices. Knowing how to compare computer software is essential for getting the right features and the necessary support to use the software as desired.

Go Beyond Software Checklists

A checklist is a good start for reviewing basic features. However a list can only give you a rudimentary comparison. A checklist lacks a deeper insight into the form, features, feel, and issues within software development methodologies.

Some software companies focus on checking the boxes for marketing purposes and to earn ratings rather than developing a more streamlined or useful feature for customers. More in-depth reviews will often provide more feedback on software features that are cursory rather than highly functional.

Customization of Software

Some software and software services allow personalization or customization for your own business or personal needs. How much customization you will ultimately need depends on how you plan to use the software and your budget restriction, but you should have the option to fine-tune the software you’ve purchased.

The best way to check for customization options is to look for advanced options in the terms of conditions, workflow and rules and to read the software companies reviews created by unbiased experts and other customers. If the same business software can be adapted to an accounting firm and a marketing agency, it has to have at least some customization options.

How to Choose Adaptable Software

The best way to choose the right enterprise software for your company is to know what you are looking for and have a deliberate selection path and criteria including the following steps.

  • Prioritize your requirements. It’s not enough to know what you need in a software suite. You must also know what is the most important. Prioritizing your requirements will go beyond just checking boxes and allow you a deeper look into the software.
  • Try it for free. If the software or software service doesn’t offer a free trial, work with the appropriate department in the company to arrange one. Using your list of priorities and needs, test the product extensively during the trial. Look for the capabilities of the software by pushing it to its limits and look for areas that will need customization and improvement.
  • Measure simplicity. How easy is it to get the job done using the software? Do you have to host the software or is there a software service that is more functional? Having to make extra clicks and go through extra steps can be tedious and time-wasting, even if the end product is satisfactory.
  • Check intuitiveness. Even if you are the only one using the software, you’re going to miss some features during a trial period. You will need to figure things out down the road, or you will be working with employees who are doing the same thing. While a great customer service team is also critical, being able to figure out how to do most of what you need is a great feature as well.
  • Assess the customer service now and later. Companies will do anything and everything to help you learn to love their product before you buy it. The real test is how the customer service will treat you after the money is spent and the refund period has expired.

The reliability of customer service is often best measured through reviews. Read what others have said and discovered before you and allow their experiences to guide your own. The reviews for software companies may provide valuable insight you hadn’t previously considered. This is especially important if you will be implementing new software across your company with multiple users.

Don’t just rely on your own opinion to find software that seems to be a good fit. A selection committee offers different viewpoints and user experiences if you are choosing a comprehensive, large piece of software. Choosing the best software can be expensive and time consuming. It makes sense to spend the time and energy to compare and select carefully.

Understanding the Types of Computer Software

Software is a broad term that covers a wide selection of programs. Software can be downloaded to your machine or sold as part of an ongoing service and hosted online. Fundamentally, software makes hardware work. But making the screen light up or the keyboard functional is only the tip of the digital iceberg. There are millions of programs out there, but almost all fall into one of the following software types.

System Software

The system software on your computer allows everything else to work. The system is the brain of the computer and it provides a platform for functionality. Different brands and types of computer (and smart devices for that matter) use different brands of system software in order to allow the computer to function.

Programming Software

Computers speak multiple languages, but the programmer must also be fluent. Programming software includes the platform necessary for coders and engineers to “speak” to the computer. These are used to write, debug, test, improve and develop all other types of programs for computers and devices.

Content Control

You can limit or control what users can see and do on their computers using content control software. These include parental monitoring software, firewalls and web protection systems.

Utility Software

The janitorial staff of the software world, these are small programs coexist with other system software to help manage hardware and other software packages by defragmenting and cleaning periodically. For example the registry cleaner speeds up your computer by deleting the invalid registry entries and cleaning up the trail software downloads can leave behind.

Application Software

While system software is necessary to make the computer turn on and do anything at all, application software are programs that fit the needs or wishes of the user and might be cloud-based or run from a personal computer or server. Application software covers a wide range of offerings including the following:

  • Project Management Software – A package that allows multiple users to simultaneously access the programs to allocate resources, schedule and collaborate.
  • Internet Browsers – To access the internet, you will need some form of access software.
  • Antivirus Software – Security software is designed to fight off harmful programs and protect your computer.
  • Graphics Software – Designing images and art on the computer requires the use of software that can handle very fine graphical detail.
  • E-Commerce Software – While e-commerce occurs over the internet, building the necessary websites, online stores and platforms requires e-commerce software on your computer.
  • Games – Games come in a variety of styles and options.
  • Office – There are many types of software to help write papers, design reports, organize information and perform mathematical functions.
  • Media – Computers not only use media software to let you watch movies and see pictures, but to edit and improve them as well.
  • Educational Software – Programs designed to help students learn and allow teachers and administrators to manage digital classroom components.

The world of technology is changing rapidly, and software is changing along with it. While this list includes many of the most common examples of software in today’s world, there is no telling what might be included in the computing world of tomorrow.