A question that frequently businesses have to address (whether they realize it or not) is how exactly they will cover their business software needs.
Some go for the one-size fits all approach whereby they buy a full suite that is aimed to cover each and every aspect of their business from sales and CRM to marketing and inventory management.
Others go to the other extreme and adopt a different solution per task that needs to be done in their operations. A different solution for their CRM, something else for their ERP, a third for document management, a fourth program for communication, and so on eventually piecing together a complete picture.
Where does the right answer lie? One might say it depends on the business and better yet somewhere in the middle but we believe the most efficient approach is nearer the ‘fragmented’ method.
Here Are The Advantages
- Picking different business software per task allows you to pick the best and more focused solution for the problem at hand. You can pick the ideal solution for doing your accounting, the optimal way of email marketing, and the best way to monitor your sales. The opposite approach may give you a simpler all-in-one-place view but not necessarily one that is accurate or useful.
- Cost considerations also work in the fragmented solution’s favor too. Trying to put together the custom complete solution you want is a never-ending process that will just keep sucking money from your actual business. Why not adopt multiple cloud solutions which generally are very cost-effective and require no significant upfront investments
- Flexibility is an additional bonus. These days it’s very easy to stay behind when it comes to following technological developments. Why stay tied to a legacy CRM for years when you can change CRM solution for the best out there as often as every year if a better alternative comes up?
- Employee training is also less of an issue for cloud solutions. Usually, they are much more user-friendly and ‘light’ in terms of features which means they are easy to learn and master – at least compared to having to impose on your employee’s seminar hours by teaching them different software ‘screens’ they will be using.
Of course, the approach we suggest has its drawbacks too.
It means someone has to be paying attention to technological developments and scour the market for the best solution match for the business. If the immediate stakeholders are not up to the task there are business consultants which can do that but in any case, that’s not an insurmountable obstacle.
Finally, care must be taken to prevent situations such as ‘vendor lock-in’ (i.e. finding your business unable to export company data from an existing solution) or needing expensive custom software to bridge applications (such as connecting your ERP to your eCommerce platform) but again that’s something which can be addressed.
Overall, the model of the future when it comes to running a business is to combine the best of different apps into a number of flexible business processes.
Dimitris Athanasiadis oversees Operations and Customer Relations in Megaventory.