How To Pick The Right Business Software For Your Firm
*This is in partnership with BloombergQuint BrandStudio
Factor this. Businesses worth a whopping US$ 1.8 trillion are facing the risk of displacement in India if they don’t innovate and go digital in their operations and culture.
As waves of disruption sweep over companies big and small, choosing the right technology to give one’s business an agile edge becomes the need of the hour. The move can empower productivity, enable more sales and help in better business management.
Technology is an integral part of every business today and each organization must embark on its own digital transformation journey. A recent study by Accenture pointed to a direct correlation between technology adoption and financial performance of companies. Those who adopted technology-driven innovation outperformed their peers by a staggering 41 percent in financial returns in the same industry and regions.
Once a company has decided to adopt digital, the next step is to select from an array of sophisticated technology and tools to enhance productivity, streamline processes and improve the overall efficiency of the organization. The selection of this software as well and its implementation must be done in a holistic manner, keeping in mind the nature of the business, the part of the business where the application will be deployed, initial and lifecycle costs, and a clear understanding of risks too. The software must also be scalable, so that additional features can be added if the needs of the business change.
Selecting the right business software
Before evaluating business software, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of expectations from business. The software must align with the business model, rather than expecting the business to align with the software—which can be a recipe for disaster. Once expectations and deliverables are in place, the organization can initiate evaluation for the right business software that fits the bill.
One of the most important considerations while selecting the right business software is cost, whether you run a start-up or an established set-up which has recently embarked on its digital journey. Cost doesn’t mean going in for the cheapest. If the business software is a better fit for your needs and meets expectations better than others, it will pay for itself over time because of benefits like enhanced productivity, higher sales and happier employees.
Depending on the nature of the business, business software will be used by partners, staff or, in some cases, even customers. User experience becomes a very important factor in this context.
A case in point here is Amazon. When the global retail giant expanded its operations to India in 2013, they were dealing with a population which had limited exposure to online shopping. They had to create a platform which has a customer-facing frontend easy for buyers to browse, and an equally easy back end for sellers to enable their e-commerce marketplace. They deployed a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. “Not just any CRM but one that was flexible enough to support our distinct operational needs and expand as we grew,” explained a member of the Amazon team. They found their solution in Zoho CRM, which met all their requirements and is now being used by more than 15,000 Amazon sellers.
Steer clear of these red flags
One of the main challenges faced by organizations while choosing the right business software is whether it is built to be flexible, scalable and resilient. The business software should be agile in order to enable upgrades as the firm grows in size, diversifies into new geographies, adds new product lines, is part of a merger, etc. Adding a new feature or customer interface should not mean having to rip out and replace the application with new software, causing disruption in business operations.
Incredibly, about 70 percent of companies have faced failure in some aspects of their digital transformation journey, including big names like Procter & Gamble, Ford and GE. The most common reason for failure was the lack of proper communication when it came to implementing new technologies. Hence, it is critical to communicate with teams and assuage their concerns as one deploys business software.
Many business software implementations also fail as companies are unable to assess the total cost of building, managing and maintaining the solution. If the costs outweigh the enhanced profits as a result of the deployment, the solution is not viable in the long run. An improper qualitative assessment or a poor assessment of the legalities and intellectual property rights and the risks associated with them can also pose challenges. A lot of company data could be sensitive and ensuring data security has to be one of the key elements, as a lot of data would be hosted on the cloud in modern application environments, exposing it to hacks and breaches.
Picking the right vendor
Hence, as you close in on right solution, getting the right service provider is perhaps the most critical part. Your business software must be backed by powerful, intelligent and resilient IT infrastructure. Factors like the quality of troubleshooting and support must be taken into consideration.
In the case of data management services, the vendor must also have a well-defined roadmap to secure your data in the event of a disaster. And since many business software providers operate internationally, one must ensure that they are well-versed with local country restrictions, if any, too. There’s no point having a business software solution that is unknowingly violating local laws and may suddenly be cut off, bringing your business to a standstill.
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