The grass is certainly always greener on the other side, particularly if you ask a software sales representative. They will tell you that their new piece of kit will solve all your current problems, along with several others you didn’t even know you had. What they won’t tell you about is the effort it will take to realise that dream – plus the change management headache which usually goes along with migrating to a new software solution.
You may not need to invest the time and money into a new piece of software – improving what is already in place might be the smartest move you can make. This applies to all software, from your systems of record all the way through to the latest Data Visualisation tools.
The 5 things that cause business headaches that aren’t related to the software you are using, rather how it is being used are:
- The data being captured is insufficient for the task you are trying to make it perform
- The quality or completeness of the data is poor, remember garbage in = garbage out.
- The frequency of data input or data feeds isn’t keeping up with the business requirements
- You are using several disparate software systems which are not integrated
- Poor user adoption or political barriers preventing widespread use of the software
None of these symptoms is usually caused by the software itself, rather a range of other issues which ultimately leave you with some real challenges.
Now for the great news, here are some tips on how you might approach the decision to keep your existing software tools in place, and simply make better use of them.
Start by identifying why you are considering changing the software and what the core problem is that you are trying to solve.
- Is it related to a poorly designed business process?
- Does the User Interface look like the 1980s?
- Is the software running poorly?
- Are there security concerns?
- Is the system running in isolation and desperately needs additional data?
Work out how you can achieve quick wins by making small yet powerful changes. The kinds of improvements that don’t require capital expenditure, and simply take an investment in time with resources you already have. Focus on how you can change the way your stakeholders interact with the software:
Business process getting in the way?
Plan and implement the changes required to speed up your business.
Software running slow?
Check to make sure your software is configured correctly; databases and business applications need tuning from time to time.
Provide training and empower your users. No one likes to be left in the dark.
Too many logins?
Ask your IT department to implement Single-Sign On
Data quality not up to scratch?
Identify and work on the issues one field at a time, new software is unlikely to fix this problem.
Next, identify if the issue with your software systems could be solved by integrating your systems rather than replacing them? Having your disparate systems work together allows you to reduce human error, plus reduces the time and cost associated with bringing data together manually from different sources.
You may also need a Data Warehouse, where all your business-critical data lives in one place. This allows you to quickly and easily access the data you need.
Software doesn’t last or stay relevant forever. As your business changes over time, you may need to upgrade or replace software to keep your business moving forward. You may need to add functionality by enhancing the existing software or upgrading the User Interface. If you have the skills in house then make sure to lean on your team. If not, look to source experts externally who could help. You’ll find with the right resources that the changes required aren’t as big and scary as you might think.
Finally, if you’ve determined that the software has large security holes, is missing core functionality that you can’t live without or has chronic issues that can’t easily be fixed, its likely time you need to upgrade or replace the software with something newer. I’ll be covering that in my next blog post so make sure to sign-up to our newsletter to get the information as soon as it’s available.
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