Let me state this upfront: I am part of a terrific software company – we make great products that help customers do fabulous things. But I really hope no one ever makes a software decision to buy our software. That is not a typo at all, I mean it. DON’T MAKE A SOFTWARE DECISION, EVER!
There are so many benefits to buying software that can help you accomplish your goals, ranging from workflow and process improvement, time/resource savings, improved profitability, specific problem solving, corporate governance, legal requirements, and a host of other reasons. The right software can be an incredible improvement to how you run your business. Our company, as an example, can directly impact cash flow, improve workflow, better manage field teams, and much more. Even though I’m biased to some degree, it is truly impactful software that helps organizations better run their businesses. But, please don’t buy it because it is software!
The reasons for acquiring software vary widely by organization. Instead of making software decisions, they should make BUSINESS DECISIONS. What are the business decision reasons that should lead to utilizing software? Here are four considerations when making a business decision that involves software:
- What are the needs that have business impact to justify exploration of a solution? Identifying why you need to do something different is the crucial first step to search for resolution. Are you taking time to really evaluate and brainstorm where your organization could improve? Have you identified the needs you have that are required to take the business in new directions or to new heights?
- Is this an investment or an expense? Investments have long-term value and create financial and non-financial Return on Investment (ROI) to the organization. Expenses may be necessary, but they don’t always have a real ROI (financial or non-financial). Financial ROI is often easy to identify. Non-financial ROI may be locked into culture, employee retention, customer facing advantages, and similar difficult to measure areas. If you can’t identify them and quantify them to some extent, it is hard to justify spending precious resources.
- Can you substantiate the ROI? Is there enough information, case histories, and clear analysis involved that your organization will actually be able to measure ROI after implementation? Have you measured what will happen if you don’t change versus if you do change – compared the costs, impacts, and ROI? Developing KPIs today that give a solid ‘before and after’ software implementation impact is a terrific scorecard for all of us. What happens if you do nothing?
- Will this decision help you grow your organization, grow profitability, better operate, and help you unleash the potential of your organization to achieve more?
Software additions and changes can have an incredible impact on your organization – but don’t make a software decision, make a business decision.