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Last week, Byron and I were asked to evaluate a new cloud-based software solution. We reviewed it independently of one another, and then compared notes afterwards. I love discovering and exploring new software, and here at Mammoth we use a ton of software solutions – Office 365, Asana, Slack, HourStack, and Tick to name a few. I’m not adverse to spending money (even monthly subscriptions which I used to loathe) for anything that makes our workload easier. I’m also currently beta testing a new proposal software solution created by a large, well-known company . I’m definitely open-minded and always looking for the next great tool to add to our arsenal.

Surprisingly, we both evaluated the solution negatively, and for many of the same reasons. While I’m not going to call out the software solution, I will say that it’s purporting itself to be a competitor of GovWin. For a solution that is marketing itself to the proposal industry, they should know we’re going to notice every little item that goes against best practices. Here are some of the issues we noted (some are mine and some are Byron’s):

  • The font was a light grey tone with blurry edges. For users that live with Times New Roman and Arial as preferred fonts, this was a huge oversight. Blurry is always bad on presentations.
  • Their handouts were also blurry. The graphics on their one-pager were off-centered and fuzzy. The text was FULL JUSTIFIED. The document had at least four different fonts. They randomly used Oxford commas.
  • I love this bullet point from Byron – The color palette of the software background was light gray with a  darker grey lettering and olive trim. The average age of Federal business development personnel is 49, and government contracting officers is 52. The software wasn’t designed for easy readability by its main audience.
  • Many of the features were still in beta test stage or development. Both Byron and I experienced technical issues and glitches during our demos of the software.
  • Probably worst of all, the presenter of the software never stopped to take a breath during his presentation. There was no opportunity for either of us to ask questions during the demo, only when it was completed. My presentation was 45 minutes long; Byron’s was 80 minutes!

Notice I haven’t mentioned the main purposes of the software? While those might have worked just fine, they were overshadowed by the inability to read the screen. Plus, the software wasn’t any cheaper than their main competitor. While this solution has potential, it doesn’t win our best value evaluation.