In this interview with TechBullion, Matt Arkin, CEO of Wheelhouse explores the challenges businesses face when selecting software solutions and shares practical tips for making well-informed decisions. The Q&A interview covers topics such as evaluating feature sets, considering scalability, and leveraging software comparison tools effectively.
Please tell us your name, about yourself and your journey so far in the software landscape.
Matt Arkin has spent thirty years in the adtech space, predominantly as an operations and sales executive within start-ups. Upon joining Wheelhouse six years ago, he recognized how much of the B2B space was lagging in understanding their target audience(s) and developing best practices for reaching, engaging, and measuring against those ICPs. Bringing efficient, measurable ways to address pipeline growth is his top priority at Wheelhouse.
What is Wheelhouse, could you give us a walkthrough of the business and the unique services you provide?
Wheelhouse is a full-service demand generation organization that uses multiple market signals to provide clients prioritization/ranking against companies & individuals to pursue their offerings. Wheelhouse provides clients access to their comprehensive target audience through a range of capabilities including: Targeted Digital Display & Streaming Advertising, Tele-qualified Content Syndication & Market Qualified Leads, and closed-loop reporting and insights.
Could you give us an overview of the software market, the most in demand software products and what trends shaping the industry?
The business software market is dynamic and multifaceted, encompassing various applications to optimize diverse business processes. Key segments include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resources (HR) management, Business Intelligence (BI), and more. Popular ERP solutions include SAP and Oracle ERP, while Salesforce and HubSpot dominate CRM.
In Business Intelligence, tools like Power BI and Tableau are prevalent for data analysis and visualization. Collaboration and communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack facilitate efficient teamwork, while project management is streamlined with Asana and Trello.
Trends shaping the industry include a notable shift to cloud computing, with Software as a Service (SaaS) models gaining prominence for their scalability and accessibility. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly integrated into business software, enhancing automation and decision-making processes. Cybersecurity is a growing concern, prompting the integration of robust measures to protect sensitive data.
There is also an accelerated adoption of remote work solutions taking place, leading to increased demand for collaboration and communication tools. The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) provides real-time data insights, and there’s a rising emphasis on mobile-friendly solutions to accommodate the prevalence of mobile devices. Customization and personalization are key considerations as businesses seek tailored software solutions to meet their specific needs.
What are some common challenges that businesses encounter when selecting software solutions, and how can they be overcome?
One of the primary challenges in selecting software solutions for businesses is often the lack of clear requirements. To overcome this, conducting a comprehensive analysis of business needs is crucial, involving key stakeholders to ensure a full understanding of the software’s required functionalities. Additionally, integration issues can arise when the new software doesn’t align with existing systems. To address this challenge, prioritize solutions with robust integration capabilities and compatibility with current infrastructure through APIs or other integration methods.
Budget constraints are another common hurdle, restricting options and potentially leading to compromises on functionality. To navigate this challenge, define clear budget constraints, prioritize requirements, and explore cost-effective options such as open-source solutions or Software as a Service (SaaS). Scalability issues, such as selecting software that doesn’t grow with the business, can be mitigated by evaluating scalability during the selection process and ensuring the chosen solution can handle future growth.
User adoption is a critical factor for successful implementation, and resistance from users can hinder the process. To address this, involve end-users in the selection process, understand their needs, and provide thorough training and support during implementation. Vendor reliability is also crucial; research potential vendors, seek customer references, and prioritize those with a proven track record of success and ongoing support.
Data security and compliance challenges can result in legal and reputational risks. Mitigate these risks by prioritizing software solutions with robust security features and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations. Customization challenges, where software may not align with specific business processes, can be addressed by selecting solutions that offer a high degree of customization and working closely with vendors to understand capabilities.
The potential lack of future support and updates is another challenge that businesses may face. Choose software from reputable vendors committed to long-term product development to address this. Finally, poor user experience can impact productivity and satisfaction. Prioritize software with an intuitive and user-friendly interface, conducting usability testing during the selection process to gather user feedback.
By systematically addressing these challenges and involving key stakeholders throughout the process, businesses can increase the likelihood of selecting software solutions that align with their needs and contribute to overall success.
How important is it for businesses to evaluate the feature sets of different software solutions before making a decision and how can business owners ensure that the selected software solution aligns with their long-term goals and objectives?
The importance of evaluating different software solutions by evaluating feature sets, user reviews, and pricing is exactly why we created the new Wheelhouse.com. Our number one constituency is the software buyer. Our goal is to provide that buyer with a comprehensive review and comparison of the features, pricing, and case studies to make the most informed decision for his company based on core needs, company size, industry specifics, etc. Many companies end up implementing several software solutions before they find the right fit, which can be time-consuming and costly. Evaluating features carefully and choosing software with the most valuable features and functionality for your business the first time around is very beneficial. Doing the research saves time, frustration, and budget in the long run.
On leveraging software comparison tools effectively, can you explain why leveraging software comparison tools is crucial when evaluating different options, with a walkthrough on how to do this?
Having the ability to compare options/features for different software types and companies is critical. Different sized organizations within diverse industries prioritize and need specific and unique feature sets. In this complex world where software is no longer siloed as a one-off and “crosses the line” into other areas, it is important to identify the capabilities of individual software and features and determine the integration/flexibility levels to fit the organization’s needs.
In what ways can scalability affect the selection of software solutions for businesses, and are there any other specific factors that small businesses should consider when choosing software solutions?
When selecting software solutions for small businesses, scalability should be a top consideration. The ability of a system to seamlessly grow with the business is crucial, impacting factors such as flexibility, cost management, and performance. Scalable software allows for efficient adaptation to increased demand, ensuring optimal performance and responsiveness even during periods of expansion.
Scalability influences the long-term cost-effectiveness of a software solution, as businesses can scale resources based on evolving needs without incurring substantial overhaul costs. This adaptability is essential for small businesses aiming for growth and facing dynamic operational requirements.
Small businesses should also weigh factors like cost, ease of use, support and maintenance, security, and customization. Affordability, user-friendliness, and robust customer support are pivotal for businesses with limited IT resources. Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations is also crucial. Customization capabilities and the ability to scale features contribute to the software’s suitability for a growing business.
To sum it up, a well-rounded software solution for small businesses combines scalability with considerations such as cost-effectiveness, user-friendliness, security, and adaptability to ensure seamless integration into the current operations while providing room for future growth and innovation.
What role does budget play in the selection process, and how can businesses find affordable yet reliable options?
Wheelhouse recognizes that pricing and the efficiencies software creates become a big part of the decision-making process for businesses to rationalize timing and buying options. Our editors capture and stay close to thousands of product price changes and thus pass that information to the buyer where available. The reliability of these products is well demonstrated by the extensive reviews we provide on the site.
Would you like to share any other practical tips for making well-informed decisions when choosing software and best practices for ensuring a smooth transition when implementing new software into existing systems?
The process of choosing and implementing new software is a critical aspect of ensuring operational efficiency and meeting business objectives. Clearly defining the business requirements and objectives is imperative to make informed decisions when selecting software. This sets the foundation for evaluating potential solutions. Scalability is another key consideration; choosing software that can grow alongside the business and seamlessly integrate with existing systems is crucial.
Compatibility is very important as well. Before deciding, thoroughly assess whether the software aligns with our current hardware, software, and infrastructure. A user-friendly interface is also a priority, as it reduces training costs and facilitates smoother user adoption.
When considering software vendors, I conduct in-depth research into their reputation, looking at reviews, testimonials, and case studies. Security features are non-negotiable – the chosen software must comply with industry standards and regulations to ensure data integrity.
Moving on to implementation best practices, a detailed plan is fundamental. This plan should outline the entire process, including timelines, milestones, and responsibilities. Training the team extensively before the software goes live minimizes the learning curve and maximizes user proficiency.
During the implementation phase, meticulous testing is conducted to identify and resolve any issues or bugs. Piloting the implementation with a small user group provides valuable insights and allows adjustments before a full-scale rollout.
Support mechanisms are put in place to assist users with any issues or questions that may arise. Effective communication is key to managing expectations and minimizing resistance to change.
Post-implementation, continuous monitoring, and evaluation are essential. Gathering feedback and addressing any issues promptly contribute to the software’s ongoing success within the organization. In summary, the decision-making process involves thorough research and consideration of scalability, compatibility, and user-friendliness, while successful implementation hinges on meticulous planning, training, and ongoing support.
What do you have on your pipeline at Wheelhouse, any available opportunities for business owners, investors or partnerships you would like to share with us?
Since launching the new Wheelhouse.com site in July of this year, we have been incredibly busy adding new categories, speaking to hundreds of software creators, and monitoring everything on the site to flag and publish all changes, additions of features, pricing, reviews to have the most up-to-date software comparison website in the space. As a software creator, reviewing all the company’s products listed on Wheelhouse.com is imperative. We provide clients the ability to focus their value proposition toward their target audience.