Want More from Your Software? You Just Need to Know Where to Look

While doing research for this piece, I ran across an article on how to get the most out of your new iPhone. As I had recently lost my old one and got an iPhone 4S with Siri as a replacement, the article struck a chord. As I read it, I realized that there are things that this new phone does that I had no idea about (making the font bigger was a nice bonus). Reading the article and actually trying out some of the ideas in it made a difference. And it only took about 10 minutes.

But more that that, the article reinforced the very thought that precipitated me wanting to write a blog about this subject in the first place: Most of us do not get all that we can out of our present software, and we definitely don't get even close to that out of our new software.

Now, why is that? Time. Time is the culprit my friends. With software we already have, the tendency is to do what we do because we know what to do. Taking the time to figure out some new tricks takes time. And with new software, or updates of old software, time is again the culprit. “I don’t have time to figure all of this stuff out!” we might say. “Bells and whistles are nice, but I’ve got work to do.” Sound familiar?

Yet here’s the deal: I work with, and have worked with, a lot of software makers (usually giving input as to what a small business might like to see). What amazes me is how much time, effort, resources, and capital they put into getting it right and making offerings that can really enhance our businesses. (Like, for instance, my friends here at Concur. Actually, especially like my friends here at Concur. I love their new individual edition of their core product; it’s great for self-employedbusinesses). But if we don’t take the time to figure out all that our new software can do, we will never get the benefits of all of that R&D that was devoted to us. So here are a few tips for getting the most out of your new software:

1. Set aside some time. This is critical. If you simply take your software out of the box or download it from a website, install it, and get to work, you are missing the boat. Instead, set aside a few hours to play with it. Read any relevant instructions. Try things you haven’t tried. The key is to have the right mindset, one that says, “I’m not in a rush. I have some time to get this right.” 2. Get some training. Training can take many forms:

  • Within the software itself, there will likely be training tools. They are there for a reason. Take advantage of them.
  • Secondly, many software makers have a ton of training materials available on their website. Watch some videos. Download the white paper. Read the tutorial. Using Concur again as an example, they have a whole Resource Center with webinars, articles, e-books, etc.
  • Third, Google relevant terms. You can bet that someone, somewhere has figured out some nifty tricks and has posted a YouTube video about it.

3. Get the support you need. After you have taken the time to properly learn the software, and if you then need some help, use the many types of support that are available. Call the 800 number, visit the online chat center, email your questions. Help is there if only you ask.

4. Get updates. They are improving the product for a reason – to make it better. Sign up for updates.

Now you will have to excuse me, I have to go figure out how to turn Siri off when I check voicemails.

Loading next article