Building a business is about building systems. The remarkable advantage we have today is that those systems are much less expensive and more easy to evolve with changing business conditions today. This is what the internet has afforded knowledge workers that need to collaborate with teams and create customer experiences today.
If you are wanting to build a business, the best strategy for using software to automate your business is committing to systems that will help you become more productive and collaborate easily with other people – customers, team members and vendor partners. However, building your business systems requires the right mindset to understand what is important.
All Of Your Software Will Obsolesce
Any software you buy has a half-life that rapidly declines in value. There is no value in owning 10 year old software, much less even 3 year old software. The speed of change obsolesces technology rapidly today. Thus, I would encourage you to look at software more as a service that is keeping pace today. Its value will change depending on how much innovation and how many upgrades that the software vendor is putting forth.
Also, you likely have highly specific and peculiar requirements for your business and industry. Software is very inexpensive when you think about it. If you were to start a software company of your own to make the exact functionality you require, then it will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars to get it the way you want. This may be worthwhile if you are a large company with fat budgets. However, even if you could do this, the timeframe to deliver is long, and the world will have passed you by.
Instead, look at your small cost or subscription as a vote. The cost for development is being amortized over thousands or millions of users and companies. Everyone has input and gets to vote for a small fee. Thus, when you rant because you feel you have unmet expectations, some perspective on the cost and value might be in order.
The Holy Grail Solution Is Likely A Combination of Software
There is not a holy grail solution that will solve all your problems. Instead, the better strategy is similar to what a mechanic would do with his set of tools. Despite the fact that over the years many innovators have tried to introduce an all-in-one wrench, specific size wrenches still work best. The mechanic’s toolbox still has a specific tool for each job. The toolbox has all the tools necessary for a project.
Likewise, look at software as being great on a specific problem. Combining software tools and integrating one software with another takes programming work and interfacing. However, this solution allows for each vendor to focus on their expertise and allows you to use the right tool for the right job in your business.
Integration work creates a connection between data from one system to another as well as a continuity of process. For example, your marketing systems may collect customer information that needs to be pushed to a sales system. Have a middle piece of functionality that will manage the data relationships between the two systems at intervals or as they happen. This will afford you great flexibility in the design of your business systems.
Use Cloud Computing And Value Data Over Old Technology
If you have ever read a newspaper from five days ago, it is pretty irrelevant and low value. Unless you are doing research, old news is not really something worthwhile to spend your attention on. We value current news.
Your data works the same way. You have had many projects over the years where specific information was put together and used to get to a goal. When the goal has been met, old data is like old news.
Sometimes, though the artifacts may be useful for other projects and reorganized for those purposes. Archiving your old data may also be good in case you need to do some research. Store this information in the cloud. Cloud computing is highly strategic because it gets you out of the IT business. You can focus on your business. Let a company who would make a great partner manage the headaches of uptime, upgrades and innovation. You can focus on getting your work done.
Furthermore, you can store your information on their systems and access it from anywhere on any device. The internet is your computer.
Thus, your business can be built with cloud computing systems that are on the latest and greatest platforms and systems. Using software more like a service is equivalent to your cell phone plan. You don’t wan to build cell towers. You just want to use the service. Leave the infrastructure headaches to someone else.
If all of your data is stored on your computer, then you have to manage hard drive failures, theft and backups. It’s a risk that is real and something that you have to look at for business continuity. Today’s web is robust with cloud computing service vendors. Most people just call it software now. They are used to using online banking, email and many other software programs through a web browser.
Your Business Systems Are About Getting Work Done Not Software
Ultimately, the strategies I help entrepreneurs and businesses with are to reduce friction. Your focal point should be about servicing your customers fast and easy, not managing software. Who wants to waste cycles on learning peculiar functionality?
It should be easy, not hard. It can be if you have the right strategies, process and systems set up. Furthermore, you can create flexibility in your business for the inevitable changes that your market or venture will reveal over time. You want agility to be able to adapt and change when reality changes or there are new demands for your service.
Today’s business is undergoing transformations much like factories did. When technology was able to get more done than manual labor from lines of workers, then more could get done with less cost and hassle.
Building a business with software systems can keep your headcount low and alleviate the headaches of managing people and manual processes. You just have to manage the software and data flow.
So, how are you approaching building systems for your business? What are your thoughts for a strategy in your business?