ERPs and CRMs have become mainstays for most large organisations these days and quite rightly so. There is definitely a requirement for these systems to record, store and maintain the data that an enterprise depends on. However, with the proliferation of new cloud applications there is a major opportunity for companies to significantly reduce IT investment but still obtain huge productivity and efficiency gains and/or increase revenue.
The software business model has evolved substantially and in my opinion it is far more accessible to purchase and install new software. Previously, when an enterprise invested in an application, you generally paid a once-off license fee (possibly along with an annual software maintenance contract). Application providers then continued to work on improving the functionality of their offering expanding its features and functionality as well as fix any issues and subsequently release a new version. If you wanted to upgrade to the next version to take advantage of its improved functionality, it would then be charged at another one off upfront cost.
Most of the large enterprise software providers are now offering a subscription based model where users pay recurring fees rather than a large upfront cost. Software is now almost exclusively consumption based and based on per active user per period rather than the old perpetual model of “buying a licence”. It’s therefore more affordable for organisations to look at consuming software platforms to improve productivity and reduce operational cost.
However, with the myriad of software companies out there all trying to push their product, it can be an extremely challenging process in deciding on which offerings to implement. Below are a few important things to remember when evaluating a new cloud based application:
- Have a clear business objective. If your goal is to improve productivity, analyse which part of your business is the most unproductive. Keep in mind you need to solve a business issue and not get wrapped up in “brand” offerings that may not be fit for purpose.
- Understand the data requirements. Despite the fact that most organisations operate on an ERP and CRM, I am sometimes surprised at how many different ways data gets presented to me when we run proof-of-concepts (POCs) with customers. Can a new platform integrate easily with your existing systems or will there be customisation required is also a really important consideration.
- Get comfortable with the implementation process. Application providers should, after a suitable discovery operation, provide you with a detailed “Statement of Works” (SOW) which includes integration, implementation, on-boarding, training and a detailed project plan with an associated quote.
- Get World Class! Quite often when a company implements a new system, they want to potentially change the system to fit their current processes. Although this might be the right way to go, examine very closely whether the offering may in fact bring “World Class” to yur organisation if they are prepared to take on that change in business process.
- Clarify the support mechanisms. Most software companies have a ticketing system where you can log and monitor support requests. It’s always good to see this in advance and will give you a good indication as to how dedicated the company is to maintaining their system.
In conclusion, iasset.com as an organisation has successfully deployed customer instances using the points made above. I am happy to hear from others as to their experiences and of course if iasset.com can help you continue to drive your customer’s success.