When you begin a digital transformation journey, one of the first things your team will need to do is go through a software selection process. During your research into various, fitting software solutions, you will almost always come across misleading information along the way intended to sway you in one direction or another.. Special interest is prominent behind a lot of the resources available to you, and it’s important to defog the glass when looking at your options.
Here are 7 things you should be aware of as you set off on your digital transformation.
1. Implementations are Difficult
There is no easy way to uphaul and integrate a completely new software solution into your daily operations. No matter which vendor you choose, you still need to optimize the basics in digital strategy and implementation across the board to see success. The reality is the advancements into technology create a bigger gap from where you are today to where you will be post-implementation. Yes, the shiny widgets are nice, but none of the vendors you’re considering will be forthcoming about the magnitude of implementation during your initial conversations.
2. The Software Landscape is Rigged
There is a lot of influence behind what you read and see on the internet or in the media. Unless you are reviewing content created by a technology-agnostic firm such as Third Stage Consulting, the top 10 ERP solutions you find on the web will likely be linked to special interests linked to the vendors on that very list.
For example, many System Integrators structure their business model to drive revenue from the vendors themselves. They often receive a commission from select software sales in addition to incremental revenue from services related to that software. How can one of these companies guide you through your software selection process organically when they have an agenda behind the very products they are urging you to consider?
Top tech magazines and media outlets drive revenue through the sponsorship of software vendors such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Oracle Cloud ERP. They are not necessarily advertising and promoting what’s best for given industries or company types, but rather promoting the vendors that are paying them to be promoted.
3. Technology is the Least Important Part of the Transformation
Believe it or not, the key to your digital transformation falls within the intangibles. How well you redefine your business processes, what your organizational change management strategy is, and what your digital strategy looks like overall. Many vendors will position their software as the end all be all, but it’s important to keep in mind all that goes with the full transformation journey.
4. Cloud Technology is a Hoax
Cloud computing is growing in popularity and is rapidly being adopted into many organizations across the world. Software vendors are pouring millions into R&D and rapidly evolving their software solutions to go cloud-based. There is no question that Cloud computing is the future of the industry, but it’s important to be weary of certain elements of this evolution.
The cloud is not going to fix all the transformation challenges that companies typically face with an on-premise system integration. Yes, it will eliminate a lot of the risks that come with on-premise transformation, but it comes with a whole new set of risks of its own. For example, cloud technology is not as flexible as the legacy, on-premise versions of the same software. With on-premise solutions, you fully own and operate the software, allowing for customizations and specific functionalities that you can implement to best fit your company’s specific operations. The flexibility was there. With cloud technology, the flexibility is not as abundant and the customizations are simply not there like they are in legacy solutions.
5. Agile is Not a Silver Bullet
In recent years, software vendors have been looking into how they can overcome the challenges they’ve seen time and time again with their software integrations. One of the biggest changes we are seeing many software vendors make is pivoting from Waterfall implementation tactics to an Agile approach.
Yes, the Waterfall approach comes with a lot of upfront investments needed followed by sequential integration tactics and will often take more time. Agile ERP Implementation breaks the transformation into smaller, bite-sized pieces and ultimately speeds up the implementation process and reduces the discipline along the way. Rather than letting the vendor decide, figure out where you fall on the spectrum between Waterfall and Agile and implement according to your needs.
6. There are No Silver Bullets
There is not one thing that will make your transformation easy and seamless. Many software vendors position their solution or their add-ons as the one stop shop to solve all your problems in a way that is unmatched. As you listen to these pitches, be aware of these buzzwords:
- Industry pre-configurations
- Implementation accelerators
- NetSuite’s Suite Success
These “silver bullets” are being marketed as a way to mitigate risks and improve odds of success, but that simply doesn’t exist. It comes down to the full scope of your transformation and how well you can manage the implementation as a whole rather than a simple technology fix.
7. Own your Transformation
The most important thing to remember is that you own this transformation. You are in charge and you should decide how things will go. There will not be a cookie cutter solution that will fit your company, and you should take charge in customizing it to fit like a glove to your company’s specific operational needs.
Ownership also means taking control of the implementation. Once you dial in on a software solution, try to keep as much as you can in house rather than outsourcing everything to a software integrator.
Obviously, software vendors won’t tell you these things as they pitch you about their offerings. It is important to know these nuggets yourself and do your due diligence before embarking on your digital transformation journey to make sure you set your company up for success.
If you would like to brainstorm ideas related to your digital transformation, feel free to contact us. We are happy to be an informal sounding board.