Software: Tips for choosing the right software
There is a wide range of software to choose from. Companies should choose the software that best meets their requirements. It is better to opt for software for businesses.
The software offer for SMEs is vast in Switzerland. Companies are therefore recommended to use an external software expert. Attending a trade fair such as the Topsoft Trade Fair for Business Software could also be useful.
When buying suitable software, the following points should be taken into consideration:
- Programs for individuals are generally not suitable for the business sector since they offer no extension capacity
- Accounting programs must be adapted to Switzerland (regarding accounts, VAT, currency, social insurance, etc.)
- The company must be able to extend the software in modular terms and regularly update it (using upgrades)
- The various programs must be able to cooperate with each other and must be compatible
- License: anyone using software protected by copyright and failing to respect the licensing terms and conditions is committing a crime
Software for the operating system
In most companies, computers use Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X operating systems. However, the number of companies expressing an interest in free operating systems, like Linux, is steadily rising. The advantages are markedly lower costs, the manufacturer’s level of independence and the possibility of adapting the programming code. However, users risk having to deal with technical problems from the lack of standardization and compatibility. As far as servers are concerned, free systems are very common.
For standard office programs like Word, PowerPoint, Excel and email managers, you don't necessarily need the official versions, which are expensive. Particularly for young entrepreneurs, competing products like OpenOffice are an interesting alternative.
This software is free and the features are the same. As regards compatibility with the official version, the user does not usually experience any problems. For the everyday tasks of a small company, free software is completely up to par.
A company not wanting to give up Microsoft can make considerable savings by buying an OEM software (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This software was originally designed for traders. Accompanied by a large manual, a comprehensive version without packaging and with restricted support is an interesting alternative to the packaged version.
Shareware and freeware
Shareware refers to a form of software tested before purchase. As a general rule, shareware authorizes copying without modification, unlike freeware which, after a trial period (usually 30 days), requires registration for a fee. You can save big this way. Entrepreneurs however, risk the software not always being compatible with their customers’ software as well as disruptions during data transfers. Free software (freeware) and shareware do not offer any support.