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Quickview: Quickly Identify Alternate Software Solutions

Now when you learn about a cool tool or app, you don't need to be dissuaded by high prices or platform incompatibility.

Bill Winterberg, 10/01/2012

When you attend conferences or talk shop with colleagues, you often learn about new software and apps that can help streamline workflow, strengthen your marketing, and much more. But when you explore those new solutions, sometimes you discover the fees are more than you're willing to pay, or the program only works on Apple's operating system and not Microsoft Windows.
 
Fortunately, a handy website exists that can help you quickly identify alternate solutions to programs in which you were originally interested. The website is alternativeTo.net and features tens of thousands of applications that are graded according to social reviews and recommendations.
 
For example, when you learn that a colleague uses Apple's Final Cut Pro X to edit and produce marketing videos, you can search for alternative programs that run on Microsoft Windows. Simply visit alternative.To, enter Final Cut Pro X in the search box, and you're presented with over a dozen other solutions to perform video editing. You can narrow search results by filtering according to tags, user license characteristics, or operating system and mobile platform.
 
Each application features comments, questions, and reviews posted by other alternative.To users. It can sometimes be useful to read about others' likes and dislikes, but like most anonymous reviews on the Internet, take what you read with a grain of salt. The site also features discussion forums where you can learn more about others' experience with specific solutions.
 
For alternatives to software and applications specific to financial advisors, you have a few resources available to explore. You can visit the InvestmentNews Tech Directory and search by product type, or browse the Reviews page at AdvisorTechTools.com. Either site helps you quickly identify a list of products that deliver specific functionality you desire for your business, though the amount of user feedback and reviews is minimal.
 
Now when you learn about a cool tool or app, you don't need to be dissuaded by high prices or platform incompatibility. You can quickly search for alternatives with pricing you find more attractive and that work on the devices you use.

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Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.
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