When asking companies to describe their satisfaction level with their software systems and the impact it has on their business, the answers are quite discouraging. The majority of companies find their solutions to be mediocre at best with minimal or negative impact on revenues, efficiency and expense reduction. Unhappy management and dissatisfied end users are hoping for a better day, yet find it challenging to get the most of their software or make the decision to replace it. Few organizations are delighted with their software and their investment in it, but before you rush to replace your software, here are six ways to better leverage your current investment:
- Training – This is the easiest way to increase your return on investment. I am referring to training your new-hired staff by professionals who are experts in the software and understand your business and industry. Ongoing training of your staff will keep them informed of functions they may have forgotten, how to better utilize certain systems and alert them on how to take advantage of new features they never knew existed. Consider having your staff involved in the basic training as well, but let the experts do the work.
- Communication with your staff – Creating a frequent dialog inside your organization will enable your staff and management to share ideas of what works and what does not. Some of these ideas may be simple subtleties and others critical to your future business. Internal communication may create a solution by the sharing of knowledge. Document and prioritize these ideas to further discuss inside your organization and share with your software business partner.
- Communication with your software partner – As experts in the software, your business partner may be able to recommend alternate methods of resolving the issues. They may inform you that your request has already been resolved, is in development, or scheduled for future implementation.
- Enhancements – Incorporate the ideas that impact your revenues, efficiency, profits and expense reduction into a priority list and layout a plan to enhance your software accordingly.
- Integrations – Everyday, new solutions are announced and released to the market, some are poor and some are great. Investigate the ones that make sense to your business and explore ways of integrating such solutions with your current software. Your software business partner should be a great reference and will give you the necessary feedback of how to successfully implement integrations.
- Review – At least every 12 to 24 months, you should have a professional review of your software to evaluate how it meets your ongoing needs. Ask yourself if you are able to raise the bar and how adequate is your software in helping you accomplish that?
Some of you may discover that you are among the fortunate organizations delighted with their software. However, this process will improve your internal communication and shed a better light on whether you are leveraging your software investment to greatly impact your business. Where are you and how do you rank your satisfaction level with your software?