Wrong reasons for changing your business software


I’ve lost count of the prospective clients that I’ve met that want new software because ‘we are in a mess’. Putting in more sophisticated software will not help you if you don’t follow the processes you already have correct now. In fact it will make things a thousand times worse and may be the end of your company completely. Why will your people follow the undoubtedly more complex and therefore harder to follow processes the new software needs if they cannot follow the simple ones you have now? When you learnt to drive you didn’t start on a powerful racing car, did you?

I understand the effort of sorting things going wrong puts on your people, as well as threatening your customer relationships. But be aware that changing the complete business process that your people follow is much harder and takes far longer than switching from one piece of software to another. The corporate sector talk about the change management required to make this successful, and while that may be overkill in a small company, you still have to get your loyal staff to understand what to do (and importantly why) in the new world and quickly, as instinctively as they do now.

That’s going to take time and practise. Please don’t do that for the first time on new system ‘go-live’ day. If you do you will be sorting out the mess for the next few years and stuck with long term compromises because of data created at that point that cannot be easily changed later. Companies change their systems on average every fifteen years these day. If you will be able to live with yours that long fair enough – if not get it right now.