So, you are evaluating new technology solutions and why not? In most cases, software will help your business run faster and more efficiently.  Despite the ease with which you make the call to explore new solutions, the process for evaluating them is not so easy.

Traditionally, there have been two key ways to truly experience a software solution to make an educated decision on how well it will work for your particular business needs.  One, is to install a free evaluation version in your live business environment.  The other method is an online software demo.  We offer both at Sherpa Software for all our products – from on-premises solutions to our SaaS platform, Altitude IG.  While both are valuable forms of education and testing at different stages of the buyer’s journey, many choose to begin their process with the free trial evaluation.  A free trial with no sales support seems less intimidating.  Work at your own pace and avoid the hassle of a pushy sales person following up all the time.  But, as valuable as these trials are as a proof of concept later in the decision making process, it may not be the ideal place to start.  For most organizations, the ideal starting point is a live, custom demonstration.

A live demo offers several advantages over a free trial.  For one, your time is valuable!  An evaluation trial will take time to set up and test.  Any issues encountered during this process will be entered through support and may, depending on the day and time, require more time to address.  If you also figure in the delays and gaps when you are too busy with day to day operations to test, the overall process could take weeks.  During which, you have access to an entire platform with thousands of features and functions and no guidance as to which specific use of the product fits your needs.  In the end, if the solution doesn’t solve your problem, you are out a lot of time and energy that probably could have been put to a much better use.

The live online demo allows you to take a very different approach.  In 30 minutes to an hour, you get a guided tour through the solution by a seasoned expert in the application and its various business uses.  This individual can steer the demo toward your specific needs or immediately let you know that there isn’t a good fit.  They can make recommendations for uses based on years of experience and best practices.  The ability to tailor a demo to your business needs early on saves time and ultimately money by identifying fit or non-fit very early in the process.  Making a demonstration relevant to you ensures it will solve your core problem.  And because you are on live with an expert, your questions can be answered immediately.

Before you spend your valuable time installing and running an evaluation software version, schedule an online demo.  It’s the quickest and easiest way to ensure that the solution you are evaluating can actually meet your business needs.  To demo, or not to demo?  There is really only one way to answer that question.