Software Solutions in the Digital Transformation Age

Introduce Software Solutions to Your Business

Digital Transformation

More than ever, today you can dream up any business solution and odds are that technology can support your dream. This is a big turnaround from only a decade ago, when business people were pulling hair asking their CTOs to try to fulfill their business needs; CEOs wanted something simple yet powerful, business focused, no training requirements, as simple as a browser to use, and as resourceful and insightful as a smart human expert consultant at your side. Today this is doable. Ten years ago, probably not. But what is stopping companies from pursuing their dreams? Here are the key reasons consultants can help with:

01.Lack of understanding of digital transformation

and new technology drivers like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics, and many more. Most companies think that these tools are too farfetched and that they are too far from mainstream everyday use. Many do not know that they are already using these technologies every day in Google, Amazon, Airbnb, and much more.

02. Getting stuck in old paradigms about what is doable with technology and what is not.

Even if your last review of technology was a month ago, things change a lot and faster than you think. Case in Point, people analytics solutions today in the market are doing things that were not available a month ago. Probably if you check in a month, you will find newer and stronger capabilities available. So, the morale of the story is to look around and see what has been changing in technology drivers around you, even if you are not sure it will help you in your solution.

03. Getting stuck in old user experiences.

Solutions today must be engaging for users. Just like people are getting addicted to games and news sites, you need users to get “addicted” to your solution. Wanting to stay there, try things, add value, get value, etc. So, do not settle for anything less than what you see in these solutions developed by big players. If you think you cannot, you are wrong. You have the chance to build as engaging a UX as the big players for fractions of their costs. You have a bigger opportunity to disrupt that market than they do. They are big and move slowly. You can be more agile and move faster. Use that to your advantage.

04. Getting stuck in old utilitarian functionality thinking.

The days when you needed specialized gurus to deal with your ERP are over. Or any other software for that matter. If the solution you develop is complicated, you are in trouble. A good rule of thumb to use is your ability to explain it to a non-technical or engineering expert. If you cannot then you are in trouble. If it requires any training, you are in trouble. I believe the software of the future will require zero training. including software for flying planes, driving cars, or even rocket ships.

05. Sticking to waterfall development methodology instead of staying agile.

We are all familiar with this: we write the requirements, then send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) then suppliers bid, then they develop the solution based on our requirements, etc. No one can work like this anymore. Not in this day and age. Companies must move to an agile development process to get best value from their software development or even solution customization exercise.

06. Misunderstanding what agile thinking looks like from a business perspective.

Sometimes technical people will try to make agile look like a software development thing. It is not. Agile software development came originally from agile business thinking. It is the agile business thinking that mandated agile software development and project management. So, make sure you do not void agile of its essence by becoming agile in software development but not making that part of an agile business thinking process.

07. Working with suppliers in the old traditional way instead of partnering on the long term.

I was talking to a supplier the other day. They were working with one of my clients on a project, and my client brought up an issue he is having with the supplier. It happened that I was in early stages of talks with the supplier about building together a new software for my company. What I heard scared me: Both the supplier and client were talking to each other as if the project is a burden and needs to be finished. The goal was just to get the sign off on the ERP project. This old mentality of negotiating over a checklist of functions and proving they work cannot work in today’s agile environment. Instead suppliers and clients must work together to create the business value originally sought from the solution. Not try to create merely software features. Many will agree, but few manage their projects with this type of mentality.

08. Starting from the software instead of starting with understanding of the technology drivers and their capabilities.

Let me give you an example: The other day I was working with one of the consultants on developing a new software solution. I usually start with the user experience on a UX tool before even thinking about which tool to use. He convinced me to jump to the tool as he is sure it can do what we need it to do. So, I agreed that he can go ahead and build the initial UX in the tool he selected. When we sat to review it, I noticed that many of the things we wanted to put in the solution were getting turned down due to limitations in the tool. Then I said, wait a minute, we cannot let the tool limit us, and we immediately took a decision to move back to our way of doing things independently from the tool.

09. Getting stuck with a software provider instead of drawing your dream solution from your business perspective.

This point is similar to number eight above but more dangerous. This is where procurement starts calling technology companies asking for their available solutions to help you with the solution you need. When you do that, they will focus on what they can offer instead of what you really need. Once this happens the whole project heading toward failure. Sure, you will get a solution, but it will be theirs not yours. Instead, start with a business consultant who can help you draw your solution independent from any software vendor. Based on the business value you need.

10. Not daring to dream big enough.

When you first start with a solution, do you start dreaming of it based on what you believe technology limitations can support? If yes, you are on the wrong track. What you think technology can support is probably wrong. Because today technology can support much more than people think. So, dream big and crazy. A good test for that is a few team members on the team (especially techies) should be telling you that what you are asking for is impossible. They might even laugh at how naive you are in what you think can be done. If that happens that means you are on the right track. Unfortunately, most technical people are falling behind on their understanding of what technology can do. I can assure you that most probably if you can dream it, then it is doable. If you do not believe so, bring your idea to me and let us talk.

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