You can put Lipstick on a Pig - But...


SaaS Recurring Revenue Management Data Management

Cosmetic fixes will never change the nature of the beast. What I’ve learned from experience, is that superficial solutions don’t take. Especially when it comes to creating software to make a business more efficient.

When I was operating my last IT distribution business, Distribution Central, I had the bright idea for an in-house software build. There was no platform available that could track renewals for the entire product lifecycle, so I decided to create one as a side project.

What I realised very quickly, was that I was creating a whole new business. I had an extremely high expectation for the functionality of this platform, and it was apparent that quick fixes and workarounds weren’t going to cut it. I didn’t want to create something that made life harder for my customers (vendors and resellers) or indeed my team. The whole point of the project was efficiency and automation, to allow them to thrive in their roles.

To achieve this, I knew I couldn’t use the resources within my current business for the build, and that’s how was born. What started as an in-house idea has evolved over the years into my full-time focus. Our platform is now making many businesses in the channel significantly more efficient and profitable.

When I see so many channel businesses today, adamant on building their own software, I worry they don’t have a full view of the time and commitment required. Building tech is, well, endless. That might sound like an exaggeration, but believe me, I’ve been living with a 2-week sprint cycle for over 12 years now.

The reality is that too much strain will be put on your current resources to create the tech, so you’ll need to invest in more staff, specialized of course. It will take longer than planned, so the investment increases with time. And just when you’ve knocked something together to meet the base line requirements, it will date and become obsolete shortly after you roll it out to your staff. Not to mention all the issues your staff and customers will find with daily usage (whether it be cloud delivery or tech debt and changes to processes). Add to that the constant request for new functionality and features...

No longer are businesses operating on an even playing field of spreadsheets and ERP platforms, we’re living in a time when advanced tech could be the differentiator between the success and failure of any business.

When your company invests in operational efficiency you will always come out ahead.

This efficiency will allow you to serve your customers to a higher standard, working to shorter turnaround times and maintaining consistency for your channel and customers. It also creates significantly more profitability. And it provides the freedom for your team to innovate and focus on ways to continue to evolve the business process, future-proofing your place in the market.

I maintain the stance, if you’re not a software development company, you’re wasting valuable time and energy developing your own software. And I honestly say it from a place of having tried to do it within my business, and realizing it was a beast of its own and not a core function of Distribution Central.

So, if you don’t plan on creating a whole new business out of it, my advice is don’t go down the DIY route.

The highest standard installed base asset management technology available today is the platform. Although that may sound arrogant, there have been plenty of competitor platforms who have tried – and some got close - before being acquired or running out of VC cash, it is simply a statement of fact. There are also plenty of solutions that do small parts of the process like CPQ or CRM, but none of them deal with the complete repetitive lifecycles of both your products and your customers.

So, you can absolutely write some in-house software. But it will take you 12 years, a big team of developers (who understand channels), learning from the world’s best operational practices from many different companies and verticals around the globe, in many languages (both competitive and complimentary) to get to where our platform is today. Or you can rent it from us for cents in the dollar - and it gets updated every 2 weeks!

If you would like to find out more about how can make your business more efficient and profitable, contact me or a member of my sales team.



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