Local businesses have had to make their operations digital, and remote, at a much faster pace than they ordinarily would have thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.\u00a0 \u201cWorking from home has quickly become the\u00a0de facto\u00a0way of operating for many of us, prompting businesses to take a hard look at whether their software solutions are standing up to their work-from-home needs,\u201d says Andrew Bourne, Zoho's Country Manager for the African region. The sheer number of software solutions available for businesses, combined with rapid technological innovation, can make the choice extremely difficult. \u201cAlthough, there is something to suit virtually every need, it\u2019s important for businesses to take the time to ensure they choose solutions that not only fulfil those needs but also work together so that decision-makers have a cohesive and comprehensive picture of the business at all times,\u201d Bourne stresses. Here are a few tips to help businesses choose the right solution for their specific needs: Consider the bigger picture:\u00a0\u201cStart by clearly defining your business software needs, as well as prioritising the goals that these tools need to help you achieve. The right software solutions streamline operations and increase efficiencies in a logical, easy-to-use way,\u201d Bourne says, \u201cand allow the user to focus on their work, not on the application.\u201d Prioritise privacy:\u00a0For the most part, the democratisation of technology is a good thing. But it does raise concerns about safety and, particularly, privacy. As technology users, we are all aware of basic online security, but we should be demanding far more of our software solutions to ensure our data is secure and private, including that they are not using our data to fund an ad-revenue model. A number of privacy factors, including data protection, file encryption and cloud security, should be taken into consideration and discussed with your software provider to ensure a solution that guarantees privacy at the highest level. Easy integration:\u00a0Put simply, integration refers to the way in which various software applications speak to each other. Software solutions should integrate in a seamless way to help things run smoothly, and, by extension, improve productivity by speeding up the flow of information through departments. \u201cWhen selecting a suite of software products, ask if it integrates well with your other existing IT tools and solutions. Be open to the fact you may need to use a new type of software to make the integration seamless and help improve the efficiency of the whole technology ecosystem. Ensure your software scales as the business does and that it\u2019s easy enough to \u2018link\u2019 various systems and functions,\u201d Bourne advises. The right price:\u00a0The best solution at the most competitive price is always the most desirable way to go, but it really does pay to ensure you are getting value for money, and not just opting for the brand you have always used, or know best. \u201cGet comparative quotes, ask about local pricing in a local currency, compare functionality offered with the features you have to have, ask for demos and get the people who are going to use the software to test it out - not just the person making the buying decision. This way you can ensure you settle on a solution that suits your needs, as much as it does your budget,\u201d Bourne concludes.