Seven Common Myths About Software Applications
1. The more expensive a software application, the better the application.
This is not the case for software. In fact, it’s the exact opposite in this case. Unlike cars, houses, etc., the nature of software is that it can be easily duplicated by a software vendor with each additional copy or service at a cost of practically zero. A good system typically ends up with a large customer base. With a large user base, the costs are spread out over more users resulting in lower per user cost. So, one reason for the high price of an application may be the limited cost recovery with a limited number of users. Another reason for the high price is that a software application or service (like most products) may be priced according to what the customer is willing and able to pay and hence extracting the highest dollar amount from the customer.
2. Software user fees need to be high in order to maintain support and service.
Once the system is setup and is in place, further costs of maintenance are negligible. The user fees are usually high because they are often decided according to the willingness to pay rather than a reasonable price based on cost. They are also high because the software vendor may feel you have been locked in with their system due to either the initial price paid or avoiding the risk of a new system.
3. Since the current system worked for others in the past, it will work for you in the future.
Changing laws, technology and global competition are always a game changer and would require a flexible system. In most applications, fields and processing are hardcoded and you have very little control over it. A great system will allow you to adapt to those changes quickly and with minimal effort by allowing you to change fields, database structure and processes while maintaining continuity of your existing system.
4. You need to use different specialized applications to do different tasks.
Using multiple systems is inherently problematic. It leads to loss of communication and issues falling through the cracks. It leads to efficiency losses due to double entry of data and more time spent retrieving information. You are much better off using a single system for your entire operation.
5. The system is built around the end user.
A typical system is built around a broad spectrum of clients and customers rather than you specifically. Hence, a system is ok for most, but perfect for none. This is further complicated by having multiple types of end users. Sometimes, you may even feel forced to change your process to accommodate the software application. Furthermore, some software developers will create a system that might represent less work for them instead of keeping the end user in mind. A truly good system will fit your business logic rather than the other way around.
6. If the application is too simple or easy, it’s probably not worth having.
An application should not be hard to use, especially if it matches your process and steps you normally take. Once it diverges from what you really need, or requires additional steps (such as navigating multiple screens or double entry) then that’s where it begins to get difficult. It can also become impossible when it simply cannot do what you need. Always do a click count when testing a system. Check how many clicks you need to get your information or process something. Your most common tasks should be possible with a single click.
7. Your data is secure.
Always ask the software vendors if critical data, such as passwords, are encrypted. Ask if the system does checking for sql injection and cross site scripting. Make sure secure transmission of data (e.g. https) is used even if the system is hosted in your own organization or not open to web access. Wirelessly transmitted packets can still be sniffed and your passwords and data would be compromised. Using SSL protocols combined with database encryptions are two good ways to reduce your risk of getting hacked.
© CMAS 2016