Today’s marketplace is overflowing with different bioinformatics software solutions. How do you begin to parse through the available options to find the perfect next-gen sequence assembly and analysis software for your project? Here are five considerations when it comes to selecting a software package that fits all of your needs.
- Select software that works with your data and your computer. Sounds obvious, right? However, this is critical information to determine before you begin your software search so you can zero in on the most relevant tools for your project. Make sure the software handles data from the sequencing platform you are using, supports the workflows you will be doing, and has technical requirements compatible with your system. The best way to test this is to request a free trial of the software before purchase and try it with your own data.
- Consider the reputation of the software provider. Many companies in the next-gen market are transient. Look for companies with an established reputation, long history, and frequent updates that keep pace with new technology. Ensure the company is reputable by searching for citations and looking for objective third-party reviews. If asked, the software company should be able to provide these materials for you.
- Choose software that offers an intuitive user experience and resources for learning the software. The software should be both easy to learn and easy to use. In addition, the software provider should be able to supply a variety of training resources to fit any learning style.
- The service you get is just as important as the product. Purchasing the software is just the beginning of your relationship with your software provider. You’ll want to make sure they can advise you on everything from installation of the software to the workflows you are trying to complete. Before signing any purchase agreement, be clear on what support is offered and for how long. Finally, try calling the customer support number. Does a live person answer the phone?
- Consider all costs when budgeting for software. All software comes with a “cost.” When considering commercial software, the tools may have both an up-front cost as well as a continuing cost, such as an annual licensing fee. Make sure to explore your licensing options and understand what is included in your plan (Updates? Upgrades? Support?). Make sure to understand the total lifetime cost of commercial software before committing. On the other hand, it may be tempting to select freeware options instead of commercial software based on the initial affordability. But here, you may be paying higher cost in terms of lack of accuracy, support, and ease-of-use. In either case it is also important to consider associated hardware costs, or employee time cost in installing, learning, and using the software.
For more detailed information, check out our white paper “Considerations for Next-Gen Sequence Assembly and Analysis Software Selection”.
What are some of the things you look for when purchasing new software?