Robert van der Linden, founder and CEO of Thinkwise Since the early days of digitization and computerization, companies have been dependent on...
How do you select the best software when you become a digital enterprise?
During times of digital transformation, selecting the right software is of increasing strategic importance. Companies must be able to react to new technological trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain and Big Data. Their success and competitive position is determined by how well their enterprise software supports them in these areas. The question is: How do you select the correct software for your business?
The most important added value of integrating new technology into your business software is evident. It helps your organization to operate faster, more efficiently and gives you more flexibility in the marketplace. In do doing so, you stay ahead of the competition.
In addition, software must be able to support your business processes and ensure that your employees can perform their activities with maximum effect. These are two crucial elements when selecting enterprise software, though often there are many more considerations depending on the type of company or industry in which you operate. One hint to start off with: never settle for a solution if you feel uncertain about the fit with your organization or the implementation of the solution. Software needs to match the requirements of the organization and be easily modifiable to be able to respond to technological and organizational developments.
Remain in control
Unfortunately, there are very few organizations that have a fixed process for selecting software – the selection method is regularly not based on facts, but on having a good feeling about the vendor – which makes it especially difficult to make a proper evaluation and to recognize the long-term consequences of the decision. Especially in a time where it’s difficult to know the direction that your company will take and developments in technology follow each other at an increasingly fast pace.
Furthermore, business software is seldom selected based on an objective assessment, as many external factors can influence the decision. For example; an organization can consult an IT service provider for their advice. However, these providers usually have a preference for products that they have had the most experience with. Such a recommendation can certainly be of value, but you yourself know better than anyone how your organization operates. And that is equally as important as an external expert who is more knowledgeable about the possibilities and impossibilities of the software solution.
Remaining in control and not blindly relying on the advice of an IT service provider is of crucial importance. Don’t let yourself be dazzled by impressive software demos or aggressive sales and marketing activities that are meant to influence your decision.
A new way of looking at software
In practice, most organizations choose the “safe” option. They purchase the most popular software solution for their specific industry from the supplier that has the greatest number of implementations of that solution. But just because everybody works with a solution, does not mean that the solution is also very popular with its users. Consider SAP, for example, used by many organizations, but for which the conclusion ‘it will also work for us because we do nothing special’ is often unjustified.
On the other hand, why would you opt for an unknown new product or custom software when a ready-made ERP solution contains plenty of options, and for which it is assumed that it will almost certainly include the required functionality for your organization? In other words: why make things difficult for yourself?
However, this is one of the major misconceptions when selecting business software. Because, by conforming to traditional software solutions, it becomes very difficult to distinguish yourself as an organization, both in your business operations as well as in your services to customers. It is therefore extremely important to check whether the solution is future-proof and will not quickly become outdated, which is a frequently recurring shortcoming in IT, and whether the software is flexible enough to be modified to your business needs. This is of vital importance when your company becomes a digital enterprise and has to continuously adapt to new trends and developments.
8 important points of attention for the selection of software
To help ensure that your company makes the right choices in the future, we discuss the 8 most important points of attention when selecting business software in the whitepaper that you can download here.