Point your budget to the right investment and best solution design: to buy new or optimize installed applications?

Often, we observe a discussion in our projects about how to start them. Should we start looking for already done solutions, should we analyse already installed solutions and consider an upgrade or simply start form scratch a brand new solution?

In my career I already saw decisions taken for all those possible approaches. But I in most cases, these decisions are not supported by actual cost-benefit analyses. These decisions are not just a matter of investment. Other factors should be considered in the decision and would like to share some thoughts with you about these factors.

The influence of marketing and the pressure of innovation

Even if you trust the relationship you’ve built with your software vendors, sometimes they approach you with marketing campaigns or influence you with some buzz words, and you feel the pressure to adopt more innovative apps, even if you don’t understand the Potential of the tool or by making a quick analysis about whether your business processes, your employees and your value chain are compatible with the particular purpose of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT. We therefore find that it is more quickly an emotional decision than a decision supported by logical and factually comparative criteria.

The influence of consultants

I need to say that I am very skeptical about the influence of external consultants on internal strategic decisions. If we’re talking about a strategic business platform or application, making a decision based on a consulting recommendation requires deep reflection on pros and cons for the recommended solution
You should be ready to discuss facts based and ideally with an objective comparison between the recommended product and its competitors external consultants, when they are actually technically competent and experienced, can be very useful with manpower , know-how and cases experienced.
Remember that you will be responsible for implementing the suggested measures and you need to administer the consequences. You can, in the meantime, observe a conflict of interest between: The consulting firm that worked for your company advising you and the recommended product. This may not be the best solution for your case, but it is the solution of a trading partner of your consultants.

Benchmarking: It is always good to see what your competition has opted for in similar cases/problems and how they have solved the challenges of implementation

The idea is not to follow the current, but to learn from the example and the pains of those who first adopted a technology.

Are your co-workers supporting you? Are your employees ready to work with the technology you intend to acquire?

If the application you are acquiring touches your customers, it is always good to test with them their acceptance and usability in order to reduce learning time and adoption and increase satisfaction. You should ask them if this new technology will really influence your loyalty or the potential for selling. You might find that they value more other features and resources and not the ones you’ll acquire with that app.
Regarding your employees, you should also get your approval and exactly as you did with your customers, see if the app is really what makes the difference to improve your working conditions, results or performance. Also keep in mind that your employees should be trained and sometimes may not have the prerequisites to operate with the new software.

My recommendation

Manage this process as you normally do at home when buying a household appliance:

    • 1 º Analyze your needs,
    • 2nd Ask yourself if you really need it now;
    • 3rd See people who serve you reference (what are they buying? To solve what? Do you have the same problems? Are they succeeding? After how many months? ETC.) And only at the end request external consultancy to refine your decision, to prototise and correct if necessary.

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