Business software decisions can be pain-free if you manage them right

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How often have you heard technology vendors and consultants tell you they are going to get to know your business intimately, so they can understand what exactly you need and deploy it in the best possible way? Of course, that’s extremely important. At Sikich, we are proud when our customers invite us into their businesses and help us understand their challenges and opportunities. We know several industries so well that we can anticipate developments, help set directions, and deliver technology that will help you realize your goals sooner and more efficiently than you would without it.

When vendors give you everything you ask for, think again

When it’s time to prepare a major software purchase, some companies produce a request-for-proposal (RFP) with many hundreds or even thousands of detailed, technical requirements. Those, however, pertain only to what goes on in the company today. If they change, as they inevitably will, the RFP and the responses received will no longer matter as much. The most qualified and resourceful vendors may completely disregard over-defined RFPs. Even recent guidance provided in a Forrester whitepaper on software selection cautions companies to avoid requirements bloat.

In fact, if you do meet a vendor who promises to meet 100% of your myriad highly detailed requirements today as well as tomorrow, it’s probably time to end the conversation. Software solutions that were purchased and deployed with an excess of RFP prerequisites in mind tend to have a short lifespan. As a result, customers become disappointed and vendors are frustrated. Everybody did their due diligence, but the hard work is not paying off.

A strategic, lasting outcome without an enterprise-level investment

There’s another way. Unless yours is a large enterprise, we can help you identify the few key requirements that truly differentiate your business. You have to meet today’s business needs and gain the ability to respond effectively to tomorrow’s changing market trends, customer preferences, regulations, or other events. You don’t accomplish that by trying to define every possible circumstance, but by ensuring that the technology you choose has the agility and elasticity to support you when changes happen. In the realm of modular, versatile business platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, a powerful solution standard has become so well defined after many thousands of hours of research and user observation in many different companies that it would certainly compromise your outcomes not to make use of it.

One of our frequent deliverables is a practical technology roadmap you can use for effective decision-making. It lets you keep your strategic focus while you handle today’s most pressing issues. We also help you identify and track the metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) that are meaningful for your strategy, goals, and competitive edge.

Controlling costs while pursuing greater results

For many companies we serve, reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) is an important objective in managing their technology. With the rich functionality of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and NetSuite available in the cloud on a subscription basis, you can immediately save costs related to software licenses, servers, data storage, and networking equipment. But we also ensure that your move to the cloud is not about controlling costs alone. Depending on your strategy and business model, it may make more sense to keep certain applications on-premise and connect the cloud and on-premise realms in a hybrid environment. These decisions should really depend on how you want to deliver the highest, most competitive value to your customers, not so much on technical requirements.

Forrester whitepaper explains the value of consensus and inclusion of all stakeholders

Choosing business software and deciding on a technology infrastructure are not tasks that most executives and managers take on frequently. They are exceptional, which means they can easily become inefficient. In our practice, we always ensure that the business leaders are as involved as the IT team. Without them, you may be back to managing technology at a tactical level or sorting out intracompany politics while your issues go unresolved. Forrester guidance, again in the analyst organization’s whitepaper on software selection, also highlights the importance of achieving consensus at each step of the selection process.

Business stakeholders should participate in solution demos and provide immediate feedback that you can collate into meaningful scores. That also avoids the frustrating and confusing follow-ups and clarifications which can happen when a key concern was left out or an important business requirement not fully understood.

We promise we won’t let it get to that point. Please get in touch to discuss when you’re ready to move forward. Just send me a note at mark.goodson@sikich.com.

Mark’s article began as a discussion of two recent Forrester Research whitepapers which you can download and read: Digital Innovation Shapes the Future of Business Applications and The New Way to Choose Business Applications. We would love to hear your ideas and comments once you have read them.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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