Software projects can be a significant investment for any business, small or large. If you’re in the same category as most of our customers (established small to medium size companies) then you’re almost guaranteed to be running a software package for managing functions like accounting, customer billing, purchasing and inventory. Some companies take this to the next level with CRM, warehouse management, EDI and other types of software which can be used to make the company more efficient and solve a lot of administrative headaches that would otherwise have to be solved with Excel, paperwork and time.
The software industry is one which continually updates our offerings to reflect the changing needs of our customers. Over time, systems become faster, more capable, easier to use and more flexible. If you haven’t replaced or upgraded your systems in years, you may be missing out on the latest functionality, which in some cases can make a rather material difference as far as the way the company is able to operate. Sometimes, everyone in the company will recognize the need to update the latest in information management software, and a system selection process can begin, but occasionally, not everyone is on board to upgrade systems.
This blog post is designed to give you some ideas on convincing leadership at your company to invest in an upgraded software system. We’ll highlight some of the benefits of upgrading and try to uncover some good reasons to upgrade right away rather than waiting until the system crashes or holds you back any longer. We aren’t going to cover the most well-known benefits (faster, more flexible, easier to use) because that’s a separate topic for another day. Today, we’re trying to uncover the less well known and often unanticipated ways that the latest information technology can improve your company.
1. Time savings
One of the more underrated drivers to implement a new software system is if a considerable amount of people’s time can be saved by doing so. Eliminating inefficient tasks frees up everyone to work towards your customer’s goals instead of spending your time managing paper and Excel files. In some cases, the entire work load of someone in your company could be eliminated through use of a newer system, allowing that person to work on higher value activities.
Time savings alone often pays for a software system, the challenge is that time is viewed as a soft cost, as you’re already paying people, so this efficiency doesn’t make itself immediately apparent until over time the benefits become apparent. To convince your boss you need new software, make a list of everything you and your coworkers are doing now which could be eliminated in a new system, and talk about all the great things you’ll have time to do after the system is implemented and your time is saved.
2. Improved awareness
Another little known driver of implementing new software systems is the potential for improved business intelligence or awareness of what’s happening in the company. Minotaur customers often tell tales about how they were skeptical of fully integrated software systems and the ability of the system to improve their awareness of what was happening at their company.
The skepticism goes away when they see the level of detail provider by reports on everything from customer/item profitability to production yields. They can then use this information to fix these issues, and greatly improve the way their business runs. People end up finding efficiencies, saving money and improving profitability in ways they never imagined before using the fully integrated system. This is something that’s hard to convey to leadership (they may feel that they already know everything that goes on at your company).
The best way to convince someone of the value of software in this scenario is to provide case studies about all the unanticipated benefits other companies have received as part of their software project, and to show them the type of information they would have access to if they upgraded to a new system, such as example reports. People don’t often like to be told what they are doing is dated, so your results will be a lot better if you instead show them how they can be even better and know even more about what’s happening.
3. Increased accuracy
One of the benefits of computers and their tendency to get cheaper and faster over time is the ability to build more and more validation into the system. Validation is the software term for making sure everything you enter is accurate to what you want. Because computers continue to get cheaper and more powerful, you can use this power to improve the ability of the system to make sure what you’re doing is correct (and Minotaur and many other software providers do).
What this means for your company is far less mistakes. The system can check something, like whether you have enough products in inventory for a customer’s order, and then let you know right away if there’s going to be an issue. Another example is alerts for warehouse staff to easily manage lot traceability. Instead of tasking warehouse staff to manage the FIFO process on their own, the system can be used to tell them which lots of product to pick. If something incorrect is scanned, the system will provide an alert/warning, letting the shipper know of the issue right away.
This is a greatly improved way of managing inventory, and definitely beats the old way of hoping you are shipping the right things to the right people. People get busy and when they get busy they make mistakes – validation in the system can help to prevent these mistakes, without the person having to check and recheck their work. Any boss who has had to ask someone to do something again (so, every boss) will be able to see the benefit to having a ‘second pair of eyes’ which is able to check their employees work. For you, it means you always know what’s going on in the system, and less having to go around and find people to clarify whether something is right or not. Everybody wins.
Convincing anyone to change can be a significant project. Most people aren’t really a fan of change and what’s currently happening is alright with them. While this concept can provide great stability to a business, in the world of software, change often brings with it a host of new business benefits. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s you or your competitors who are able to capitalize on those benefits first.
Hopefully this guide gives you a more convincing argument as to why you might want to invest in the latest information technology, and that you can use the information to make sure your company stays ahead of its competition. Minotaur has people whose entire job is to help you convince your boss to consider a new software system, our Sales Consultants. These people would be happy to help you champion new information technology for your company, and they can be reached at 1-800-668-1284.