How To Save Money On Software

August 14, 2016

Many people purchase a computer for $500-$1000 and think that’s where their expenditure stops. However, all you’ve really purchased is the hardware to run the software. With the possible exception of Mac based computer systems, which come loaded with plenty of good quality software programs eg. the iLife suite, Windows computers tend to come with very few useful software titles preloaded on them. This means that you may end up spending the same amount again – $500-1000 on software programs to run on your computer. Luckily, there are several ways you can reduce this outlay.Use free or open source softwareMany expensive software programs have free or open source equivalents. Probably the best example of this is OpenOffice, which aims to replace the functionality that you get from Microsoft Office. By using OpenOffice you could literally save $100s compared with buying Microsoft Office. OpenOffice has most of the features that you would need from an office suite e.g. word processor, spreadsheet, database and PowerPoint presentation creator. The only slight disadvantage compared to Microsoft Office, is that there is no dedicated customer support, although there is an active OpenOffice community that can help with most user queries.

If you do a search on Google you will find that there are many free alternatives to paid for software, from graphic programs such as GIMP, which has many of the functions of Photoshop, to web-based email such as Google GMail, which would replace the need to buy Microsoft Outlook. There are many software download sites such as CNET, which have huge databases of software that you can search for and download.Buy a software bundle.Buying software in bulk, especially when you have a new computer which needs filling with software, is an excellent way of making software savings. How it works is that a group of say 10 software developers, decide to offer their software at a massively reduced price for a limited time. This can mean you pick up software for 80-90% off the retail price. The idea has been especially successful on the Mac platform, with companies such as MacHeist and MacBundles having several software sales every year.Buy software onlineBuying software online has a two big plus points – cost savings and often instant download. Buying software from a retail store in a shopping mall tends to be expensive. This is because these ‘bricks and mortar’ shops have additional overheads such as premises and staff. Online retailers such as Amazon don’t have such large overheads, so are able to sell software at a considerable discount. Some online stores also let you download the software after purchasing it, which means you have the convenience of using your new software right away.

Use software coupon sitesBefore purchasing software online, do a search on Google for ‘your software+coupon’. You will find that there are a number of software coupons available if you search for them. These coupons can give you discounts on your software of between 10-70%. There are a few coupon sites that specialize in just software coupons, these sites can help as they have collated the latest software coupons in one place, to make discovery of new coupons easier.By following just one of the above tactics you could save yourself $100s on software for your new computer, which may mean you have money left over to buy other computer peripherals.

Top ERP and Enterprise Software Technology Trends for 2014

August 13, 2016

As another year passed, the technology marketplace has been tumultuous in terms of adoption, trends, mergers and acquisitions. Large software players have broadened their portfolios and have started to target customers upstream and downstream from their typical customers. For the new year we have compiled a list of top technology trends – mostly for enterprise software. These trends include ERP, Social business, CRM, BI/EPM/Analytics, Collaboration, Project Failure/Success, Mobile and Security and others are the main areas of focus.Looking back at the 2013 list of technology trends, most of them have come to pass and are still evolving as adoption continues to grow. Projects continue to fail, spending increases, infrastructures and applications are being remade using the cloud and other IT issues continue to appear and also be resolved.Here is a list of what we think the top software trends will emerge in 2014.1. Rise of BI/EPM/Analytic Vendors: This trend has become apparent as many new small start-ups have introduced some type of analytics or BI tool. We have seen very vertical specific solutions to broad all-encompassing software that can be customized by industry. A reason for this trend is that enterprise applications have become easier to integrate and require less technical knowledge to aggregate data out of a system. Organizations are requiring more real-time information, by implementing these systems unlocks the decision-making potential that is stored in the data.2. Increased Consultant Use: This trend is a 180 from organizations wanting to bring back in-house technical expertise. CIO’s have committed to spending more money on contractors for the upcoming year and software selection is a key component of this spend. Other areas where organizations will spend money in IT and Business alignment are resourcing to support existing projects, project management recovery services have started to push forward as an important area to save failing IT projects to get them back on track. Organizations often do not have the resources or skill sets to properly evaluate enterprise software thereby, more attention will be attributed to lowering project failure. An impartial properly executed software selection greatly lowers the risk of IT failure.

3. ERP’s and Enterprise Software Projects Continue to Fail: Lack of expertise and accountability from both the organization and the vendor lead to failed implementations. There is no clear direction from organizations as to what should be implemented, by whom, what timeframe is acceptable, training, POC, management of scope creep, budgetary overruns, and how problems are resolved should they arise with definitive timelines and accountability. Clear business process definitions are often not revealed by the customer leaving vendors to guess how an organization does business. Organizations should be fully transparent with the vendors they select as they business partners with full two-way communications whereby the vendor can provide a smooth transition after implementation and the organization should also become a reference site for the vendor.4. Changing IT/Business Selection Criteria: As delivery models continue to change organizations are evaluating different priorities and criteria. Previously organizations have relied too much on features and functions when selecting enterprise software. Many new selection criteria have started to emerge such as: nuances of data, cloud model, portability, scalability, TCO, SLA levels, Vendor lock-in, ROI and agility are areas that more closely scrutinized.5. Enterprise Software Categories Continue to Merge: The creation of new enterprise software categories continues to emerge. Specialized software vendors have started to include additional functionality that expands the breadth of their solution but often times not the depth that is required. Customers are confused as to how to match the right type of software with what functions and depth they actually require. Vendors have started to include social, collaboration, CRM, project management, billing and BI within their software. This delineation muddies the water for the consumer as they may not know how to categorize their business to match enterprise software categories thereby contacting the wrong vendors to start out their software evaluation.6. Paying More Attention to BYOD and Security: As use of mobile devices continues to proliferate mobile security and social user policies must be put into place and enforced. Additional security will lower organizational risk by securing multiple mobile devices. Employees should also have direction from the company as to what is acceptable and not for social media interaction, who owns the information, where it stored and clear lines of communication where social accounts differentiate if communications are from the company or an individual user.7. Increased Spending for Social, CRM and Email Automation: Organizations have committed more IT budget to these softwares. Coincidentally, this is one of the enterprise software categories that are blending functionalities. An organization should comprehend its main business function as to what the organization requires and the auxiliary functionalities. A mistake often made here is that the auxiliary functionalities become the focus which strays the original intent of the software evaluation.8. Shadow IT Emerges: This is caused by the CMO spending that does not often include the CIO. Usually, the new marketing, social software and BI software is implemented and rarely incorporates into existing IT infrastructure. The new software is independently supported, updated and managed proving difficult for internal IT management and integration to existing systems. Support also becomes a point of contention as the Shadow IT organizations are created as support is often non-coherent and difficult to manage.9. Vendor Consolidation Continues: More vendors are increasing their portfolios by acquiring either complementary software to bolster existing functionality or even acquiring software that is completely different from current offerings. Organizations should carefully distinguish their needs and if the vendor can support their requirements, if the vendor has enough industry experience or is new to the space altogether are areas for companies to watch out for.

10. New Government and Regulatory Standards: These new requirements will require system upgrades and in some cases new system implementations. ObamaCare, New HIPPA and medical industry requirements will drive software spend in this sector. Also there have been many changes in food processing and manufacturing industries that will cause companies to re-evaluate existing systems or completely installing something new.11. Turning into ERP: Salesforce continues to grow its cloud presence by acquiring more SaaS solutions. Its recent acquisitions and cloud portfolio suggests that one of the few plays to increase company value is to increase its offerings. SFDC will acquire solutions that complement their SCRM business with more HR/HCM, Financial and possibly project management which will effectively turn into an ERP for Services. The Oracle partnership suggests that SFDC is targeting Workday customers with Oracle functionality – all to be offered in the cloud. This one should prove interesting to see where this ends up.12. Further IT Specialization Being Required: New softwares are emerging and requiring specialized expertise. A new software category that enables integration and workflow capabilities are greatly reducing complex IT tasks. However, these new applications often require highly specialized expertise such as programming, business process mapping, API creation, administration, integration and design capabilities that may not have been part of the IT department.13. Organizations Going Hybrid Cloud: Organizations are adopting a combination of public and private cloud creating hybrid clouds. Organizations are not comfortable putting some types of information in the cloud. They create an internal cloud and have less important information in the public cloud. The cloud provides a seamless integration for employees.It will fun to see what unfolds this year as with each year. Did we forget any? What trends do you see?

Daycare Software – A Friendly Partner: How to Pick the Right Software for Your Daycare Center

August 12, 2016

Researching new software for your daycare business can be a fun and easy process. In this article I’m going to talk about some of the specific things that you should think about and look for in order to help you make better and more thoughtful decisions about purchasing software.The first question you need to ask yourself is: what are the specific daily tasks I do today that software can help me with? At first this seems like an easy question to answer, but when you consider the myriad of tasks which you complete in a day you’ll find that this simple question can become a little overwhelming. Think closely about the main tasks that you spend hours of time on and think of daycare software as a potential partner who can help with those tasks in an affordable way. For many daycare centers one of the most important things that software can help with is speeding up their admin work. A good example of this is automating reports. Some examples of the types of reports include: Attendance sheets for tracking attendance, projections reports to help you schedule your classes and maximize enrolment, and automated invoices and customer statements to send to parents. Many centers create these reports manually in Microsoft Word and Excel, and are required to update them regularly with new information. A good software program will create these reports automatically for you, saving you time and also minimizing the possibility of human error. Take a step back and imagine how much time you spend creating reports like attendance sheets, and now consider what else you could be doing with your time if you had a software program to automate the job for you.

Reports are just one example of a task that can be made simple with a daycare software program. Make a list of the administrative work that you perform on a regular basis and use this as your starting point for the features you feel are most important to you.Daycare Software Must – Intuitive and Easy to use
Once you have found the software programs that will handle your specific needs, you’ll need to consider the other factors which will impact you in making your final decision. Over the years many different software programs have become available for use both in personal and business environments. New programs continue to become available at a rapid pace, which can be both good and bad for consumers. You’re now faced with a myriad of possible choices, but not all of these choices are programs that are worth investing in. Software can be difficult to evaluate, but you can often distinguish very quickly between a program that is effective and easy-to-use, or one that is outdated and complicated.Ease-of-use is one of the most important things to look for in a new software program. Many childcare centers will make the decision to purchase software but never end up using it due to it’s complexity and the time required to make the transition from their current systems. Software should make your life easier, not more difficult. Software doesn’t need to be complex in order to handle your specific needs. Apple is a great example of a company that continues to release powerful, yet intuitive and easy-to-use software.Information kept safe and secure
Security is also a very important aspect to consider with childcare software. Child and family information is sensitive data, and needs to be stored securely. The software program that you choose should require a user name and password to login. Many of the newer software programs are web-based and make use of SSL technology to encrypt your data and prevent it from being accessed by unauthorized parties. Ask the vendors you’re working with which technology they’re using to keep your data secure.Keep your Daycare Software current
You will also want to look at how maintenance and support are provided with the daycare software you choose. As with anything in life, computers and computer software require regular maintenance in order for them to run efficiently, so you should make sure that you select a software program from a company that clearly outlines their plan to provide you with support and maintenance. This enables you to easily budget the ongoing cost of using the daycare software, accessing support, and keeping the software up-to-date with the latest features and improvements. Be sure to ask about any ‘hidden fees’ for technical support or new product upgrades.

Don’t be shy, give Child Care Software a try
Once you’ve found the daycare software program that handle the right tasks, is secure, easy-to-use, and has a clear support and maintenance plan, your last step is to use the software in order to properly evaluate it. Most software companies will provide you with a free trial period where you can work through the software for a limited time at no charge. This will allow you to compare two, three or more programs at the same time, and decide which one is the best fit for your daycare center.Daycare Software can be a friendly tool which saves you hours of time on some of the more tedious parts of your job. Using these tips and your own instincts, weed out programs that are difficult to use, and be sure to pick the software program that you’re most comfortable using.

Where to Find Beat Making Software

August 12, 2016

If you are a laptop DJ just starting out, one of the first things you need is some music mixing and beat making software, preferably without breaking your budget. But where can you find software for making beats? The good news is that beat making software is everywhere online, if you know where to look. The bad news is that the quality of software for making beats varies dramatically. Some beat making software is solid gold, while others are worse than useless. This article will tell you where to look, and what to look for.Software Download SitesThere are many websites on the internet that are essentially just vast catalogues of software that you can download for free. Although there are more free download site than can be counted, two in particular ( and have a excellent reputation for quality, security, and a good selection of software to choose from. On these sites, you’ll find Freeware, Shareware, and Professional software available for download.FreewareFreeware is software that is available for download completely free, with no strings attached. Be very, very wary when downloading and installing freeware. First, freeware is notorious for carrying hidden viruses, spyware, malware, or at the very least irritating advertisements.Second, because software developers give freeware away, they have no income, and consequently almost no development budget. Consequently, free software for making beats tends to be inferior. They have fewer features, support fewer music file formats, and are generally less flexible and useful than shareware and professional software.

Third and finally, freeware is almost always unsupported. This means that if you have a technical problem using it, you’re on your own. In general, although the price is tempting, freeware should be avoided.All that being said, some good free music mixing and beat making software does exist, such as Audacity and FruityLoops. However, they are the exception rather than the rule. If you have no budget and can only afford freeware, research it thoroughly, read customer reviews, and test it for spyware and viruses before installing it on your computer.SharewareShareware is a good middle ground between freeware and expensive professional software. Shareware are often relatively small programs that are available for a small price, usually between twenty and fifty dollars. Shareware has many advantages.First, shareware is generally more secure. The software developers, since they can be held legally responsible, do their best to avoid their beat making software from being infected with viruses or other malicious programs. Still, shareware has been known to contain spyware. Always scan shareware for spyware before installing it on your computer, just in case.Second, since shareware is sold and not given away, shareware developers actually have a development budget. They funnel this money into making their beat making software as good as possible, so they can keep on top of their competitors. Shareware is generally more powerful, more flexible, supports more music file formats, and has more features.Third, shareware almost always give you the chance to “test drive” the beat making software before deciding if you want to buy it. From the software download sites mentioned above, you can download “trial versions” of shareware. Trial version usually let you use the software for a set number of days, after which it won’t open anymore. By then, however, you should know if you like it and want to buy the full version. Try experimenting with trial versions of several different beat making shareware programs before deciding which one you want to buy.Professional SoftwareProfessional software is double-edged sword. Although it is unquestionably the best software for making beats and music mixing, it is also by far the most expensive.As professional beat making software is designed for professional use in the music industry, it has by far the most features, supports the most music file formats, and is the most flexible and robust. It has two serious drawbacks, though.

The first drawback is price. Professional software is extremely expensive. Some software costs several hundred dollars. If a new version is released (for example, you have BeatMaker 3.0, and BeatMaker 4.0 is released), you’ll have to pay the hefty price tag for that one as well. There are no free upgrades in the professional software world.Second, since professional software is designed for experts, it is often very technical. It may be filled with exotic tools you’re never heard of before, or technical jargon you don’t understand. What the point of having full-featured software if you don’t understand what half of the controls do?How to Choose?There is beat making software available for every job, skill level, and budget. If you’re serious about becoming a DJ, you’ll want to get the best software for making beats that you can afford. Download and test freeware or trial versions of shareware and professional software until you find the beat making software that fulfills all your music needs, that you are comfortable using, and has the right price tag. Just a few hours of research will save you time and money for years to come.