How many times have you heard someone say “Do we need to upgrade to the latest version or do we need to buy something new?” There is a common belief that an upgrade or some new software package can solve whatever the problem is they are trying to solve. Sometimes this is true. There are businesses that simply do not have certain capabilities to match their needs and the solution is simple, implement a new piece of software. However, for many operational needs, most businesses already have something in place handling that need, therefore the answer is not simple.
There are an infinite number of reasons for how businesses got to where they are with their business systems and their deficiencies. Many of these reasons fall into a few different categories of challenges: business growth outpaced the last software purchase, a poor software selection on the last decision, or an attempt to build in-house, are just a few. Regardless of how you got to where you are today, you are likely reading this post because you do not want to make the same mistakes of the past. There are hundreds of reasons for companies to have failed software projects or unsuccessful business initiatives, but there are a few factors that can significantly improve your odds of success.
Start with proper planning and understanding the business’ needs
This is true of all IT software initiatives, but start with the business. Using a quick software solution to try to patch a bigger problem does not generally work to solve larger systemic challenges. Honestly, it usually just kicks the can down the road until you choose to tackle the larger issue. Starting with the needs of the business and then working through an application rationalization process to determine the current state, gaps, possible solutions, costs and a viable roadmap to the future is the best course of action.
Select the right platform, not just the “highest rated” software package
Checking out the latest Gartner or Forrester report on a software industry segment of interest seems like the quickest and cheapest way to potentially solve your current business challenge. However, there are a few problems with this approach. First, there is a chance that the perceived problem is not really the actual problem. So, if you have a problem with customer data, it might seem simple to just buy the number one rated CRM package to solve that problem. Don’t skip the analysis to determine the real root cause of the challenge. You might find the problem is smaller than you think and requires a simpler solution. Second, select a platform that solves that need and can quickly and easily integrate into your current environment. There is a famous japanese saying, “Don’t use a cannon to kill a mosquito”.
Look for a Partner and not just an Implementor
When it comes to software implementations, customizations, or integrations, there are no shortage of companies out there who are ready, willing, and able to help. Finding the right one, however, can be a challenge. You want to find someone large enough to be able to deliver on the promises that they make during the pre-sales process and not too large or you will simply be another project in their corporate meat grinder. Optimally, you want to find someone that works with you as a partner so that both organizations share in the successes and work together to solve challenges.
As alluded to earlier, modernizing your business application infrastructure involves a lot more than just three factors mentioned above. These are just the beginning. We have prepared a detailed approach in our latest white paper series highlighting many of the common challenges and providing real-world solutions and approaches to these challenges. Get started by downloading our “Guide to Building an Application Modernization Program” to see how we can help you with your business application modernization initiatives.