I'm trying to promote a priced software over a free one to the business team. I'd like to know how to promote paid software to the business team when there are some free alternatives.

I've not extensively used both of them. I have some experience in the free one, and quickly tested the priced one through the trial version.

Overall, the priced one has a better UI, both functionally and aesthetically. However all core functionalities are the same. The cost per individual is not that high (in my opinion) but could become a bit high if bought for every team member.

I'm interested in general tips to promote one software over an other, or paid vs free.

If it helps, in this case it's SmartGit vs Git for Wondows (git gui)

Edit: The chosen software will be the referenced software for all team members. In case the priced one is chosen, all team member will get a licence, but ultimately it will be their choice to use it or not (but will strongly be encouraged to do so).
Team Members have not used those tools before and I think the more tech-savvy ones will mostly use command line controls. It is a request of one of the more senior team member to have a unique and documented tool for the team.
Ultimately the choice is not critical.

  • 1
    Have you asked your fellow developers what they think? – user16259 May 4 '18 at 9:01
  • Do you want to promote everyone to buy the paid tool (or a site license), or just you? E.g. maybe some colleagues will use the paid tool, and others will use the free tool. – Brandin May 4 '18 at 9:03
  • 1
    Are all those team member software engineers? or non-software engineers? Personally, I would try to convince team members and management one at a time. It's easier than to convince an entire group all at once. – Stephan Branczyk May 4 '18 at 10:54
  • Have you asked if there's even room for it in the approved budget? – CKM May 4 '18 at 18:18
  • It's git- why would you use anything but the command line? Anything else and you don't really know what oyu're doing and eventually always causes problems. – Gabe Sechan May 6 '18 at 7:43

Any time you are trying to make the case for the more expensive of two or more options to a business you need to be able to clearly articulate what the return on investment is for the business. This return doesn't have to directly translate into monetary terms but it does need to be a clear and easily understood by the decision maker.

In your case I would suggest carrying out a proper evaluation of the paid option and write up a comparison vs the free solution and point out clearly where you feel the paid version is superior and what benefits that could bring the business. If the UI/UX is better on the paid software you could suggest that the better UX will reduce mistakes, if common operations are quicker to carry out in the paid one then that's directly saving employees time which they could then be using on producing things that earn the company money etc.

Depending on your company's culture you may not be presenting this in written form but whether you are doing this verbally or not I find that having a clear Pros/Cons list for both options is a useful tool - and don't fall into the trap of ignoring the cons of the paid solution, no-one believes that something is perfect and you'll just look like you are promoting an agenda of your own rather than having done an objective evaluation. And definitely make sure that the "cons" list for the paid version includes the cost - it's the truth and it shows that you are taking the cost into account and not just assuming the company has a bottomless pit of money to spend.

  • 2
    clearly articulate what the return on investment -- this. Exactly this. – Neo May 4 '18 at 11:14
  • Don't forget to include indirect costs/benefits in your analysis, like support for the software. When you have a problem, is there a support line you can call, or is there just an open forum? When a security bug is found, how quickly does it get patched? What does the upgrade cycle look like? Those are all important aspects that add value beyond the features of the software itself. – Seth R May 4 '18 at 12:54

MBAs like simple calculations which express things in money:

  1. How much time will the paid software save, roughly estimated, over the timespan in which you expect to use the software?
  2. How much does a developer-hour cost the company?
  3. How much does the paid software cost?

If the first number multiplied by the second is larger than the third, it is a good business decision to buy that software. Show them your calculation. If it checks out, they will understand.


Promote it as you would any other software. I'm sure if you fleshed out the description you have given us bit more, that would make for an ideal starting point. As you have given it a try yourself, you can demonstrate and document the benefits compared to if you had to perform a similar task with the old one. As you know the comparison between your previous free software and the proposed not-free one, you will need to have some well-prepared arguments for:

  • Is it cheaper for the company to have you use this more efficient software and save time? Will that save us money in the long run?
  • If we have to buy this for every team member, will there be issues communicating / sharing data with those who don't have the new software (yet)?
  • Some of your colleagues might be 'set in their ways' and not be keen to use something new with little immediate benefit (this can sometimes happen, I've been there...). Are they open to giving up some time / resources to give it a go?

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