The pains, frustrations, and challenges of software can sometimes seem impossible to overcome. Using information to make educated decisions on your businesses software strategy can be even more difficult! Though nothing is more stressful than the realisation that your business software needs replaced.
But how can you be sure that your organisation needs to make such a change?
For most organisations, the symptoms of a failing business won't be so obvious, unless you are asking yourself and the people who use the system daily the right questions. A vast majority of organisations stumble along, making do with their current system. Reality is often accepted as the norm, and organisations become complacent with their current system, succumbing to work within the confines of the ability of a failing system.
The story often starts with the rationalisation that no business software system is perfect, thinking that it is no better nor worse than what anyone else is using. Surly everyone has a problem with their software, this is just a burden to carry. Complaints from employees about the reliability of your system and the time it takes for them to complete menial tasks become commonplace, and an accepted norm. Sure, every business has the same issues… right?
This shouldn’t be the case. The underlying issue may be software related, but in the majority of cases, most organisations simply outgrow the capabilities of their current software. Growth is good, but with growth comes change. The reasons aren’t really that important, but failure to recognise that it’s time to change is the key issue. If you wait until you can no longer compete in your market effectively, then it’s already too late. Constantly evaluating software performance to anticipate change, allows you to stay ahead of the pack and remain competitive.
So, it all comes down to this, what are the 7 most obvious signs that your current business software needs to change!
1) Partner Problems
Perhaps the most obvious sign that you need to replace your current software, and the most urgent to react to. If your vendor is not updating their Software on a regular basis or is not providing you the support you need, this is a massive signal that the vendor itself is starting to suffer or they have decided that their software can no longer remain competitive. If you find yourself in this situation, change is essential!
If you are simply not receiving the support you need from your current reseller, but the software itself is solid (i.e. it’s still competitive), your answer might be finding a new reseller to work with. This is completely your right, and as long as you can find a knowledgeable reseller who wants to work with you and meets your requirements, there shouldn’t be any real pressure to change your software completely!
2) Your software doesn't support the needs of your customers.
The key to business success is attracting prospects, converting them to customers and then retaining these relationships. Every customer’s expectations must be met to ensure that they will continue to order from, or work with you. Your Business Software should give you the information and functionality that will enable you to provide the best possible customer experience for your clients. If your Business Management Software can’t meet the needs of your customers, or doesn’t offer you the information you need to offer a unique customer experience, this may be an indication that you need to make a change.
3) Your CRM does not support your sales and marketing strategy.
Marketing is all about attracting leads and prospects, and sales is all about building the relationship and closing the deal. Your CRM system must enable you to do both. If your CRM is not seamlessly integrated with your Business Software System or if your CRM does not assist in attracting and holding customers, it may be time for you to either find a CRM system that integrates with your Business Software or find software that integrates with your current CRM system.
4) You are planning to compete in a new industry.
If you are expanding into a new industry you will need to ensure that your current system can support the functionality needed to operate efficiently in this sector. This is essential, and ensuring you have the functionality to expand into this new sector should be done before ever taking the step! If you discover your current software won’t support you and offer the functionality you need, then this is a sure sign to change! Having the correct software to run your full business on is essential. It sounds simple, but you would be amazed by the number of organisations who have taken the step into a new industry without even taking stock of how their software will support them in this move!
5) You will be opening new offices in another location, or acquiring another company.
First and foremost, if you are opening new offices in another location, does your system support multi-location? Will you need to buy new hardware to support this? Or is your software cloud based and flexible enough to enable a seamless move? What about the geography of this location, will your software support the tax and local legal requirements of that location?
The same goes for acquiring another company. How will the current system deal with this company’s information? Will you be able to merge the entire company’s data? As we said above, is this company operating in a different industry? If your software fails to answer any of these questions, it’s time to look at changing! Don’t take a chance on leaving your organisation siloed, and ensure that data is able to be seamlessly managed between locations. If you’re not careful, you could soon end up with a disconnected mess in your hands!
6) You cannot complete business activities and tasks effectively and efficiently.
Once you receive a customer’s order, how do you record, monitor and complete the customer’s order and do so for the lowest possible cost? That’s where the notion of effectiveness and efficiency comes into play. You need to give customers what they want (appropriate products and services at the right price, on-time delivery, quality and communications). You need to complete each order as efficiently as possible. Your Business Software System must first help you meet the needs of your customers, then help you complete business transactions at the lowest possible cost. If it takes too long to complete business tasks, you may need to search for a new Business software that supports your business activity effectively and efficiently.
7) Employees must resort to manual tasks to accomplish their job assignments.
Business Software Systems should help people do their jobs efficiently, but that’s not always the case! With nearly all businesses, some tasks will have to be manual, but a critical question to ask yourself, and your employees, when it comes to manual tasks is “What can we automate?” and “Is there a better way?”. There are far too many legacy systems that demand a ridiculous number of manual tasks, tasks that modern software solutions operate and automate in the background. Assess your business processes and evaluate the tasks your employees must take to complete daily operations. You will be amazed at the amount of time can be saved by software that is built to help you run your business! If you realise far too much time is being spent on menial manual tasks, it’s time to start looking for new software. Software is no longer just a tool, software should be catalyst empowering your business to succeed!
Knowledge is the Key to Business Software System Excellence
As with all things, Knowledge is power. When it comes to business software the knowledge of how employees and clients find working with your system is the number one piece of information you need. Evaluate your software’s performance through the eyes of the people who most often use it, gather their thoughts, opinions and struggles, and use this to understand how your business software is really performing!
You need to be on top of this, because businesses can now be made or ruined by their choice in software, and ensuring you have a platform that is going to support your organisation, your employee’s tasks, and your requirements is essential to success!