Enterprise software is a fixed part of just about every major modern business. As an enterprise software consulting firm, we spend a lot of time talking about subjects like; finding the right tool for the right job, how to properly implement software, and how to use the software to benefit the organization. The fundamental line that each of these subjects can draw back to is, generating ROI. We’ve talked about this idea at length before. Businesses don’t really need software — in fact, software is terrible investment — what businesses need is for technology to help them with their business processes, analytics, and outcomes. But, how can businesses ever expect the software to generate ROI if the technology is constantly changing?
Businesses often focus on the solution before fundamentally understanding the premise of an issue when implementing or modifying enterprise software. The key to maximizing the ROI of your software project is to fully-capture the business processes, use cases, and business outcomes that the software will help the organization achieve at the very beginning of a project. This lays the foundation for a ROI measurement platform, and can help ensure that the software creates a return for stakeholders. Not surprisingly, this can all goes awry if planning is not strategic and dynamic in the beginning. Organizations must ensure that they lean on experts that understand business objectives and technical specifications to fully-accomplish this goal.
The challenge of evolving enterprise software
Unfortunately, if there is one thing that is certain about enterprise software in general; it’s that it is always changing. Upgrades, new versions, acquisitions; all of these things present new opportunities and challenges for your business. When should you upgrade, what new changes are most important to your business, and how should you approach customizations or changing how a process works?
As you can probably guess, the answer to this question is not fixed. Every organization has unique needs and challenges that enterprise software can support, and the degree to which changes to that software will amount to something financially meaningful, is subjective to every organization. However, there are some fundamental questions a business can ask itself to determine if it should explore new implementations, upgrades, system alterations, or process changes.
Asking the right questions
Remember, the idea behind any enterprise software project should start with the premise of maximizing the ROI of the software. This means fundamentally returning to those initial questions before exploring any new ones. Things like, what are we trying to achieve with this software, what is our current system preventing us from doing, and how could this software project help us increase revenue and decrease costs?
If any new project you’re considering can’t answer any of the questions above, one of two things is likely taking place…
- The proposed enterprise software project offers little benefit to the organization and should not be pursued.
- Those tasked with evaluating the project don’t have a collaborative view of how the technology and business operations mesh.
If an organization believes it may be #2, it may be best to begin consulting outside experts to road map out how the software innovations could potentially improve the business. Closing the gap between technical developers and business operations people is the key to providing clear resolution as to what a project will look like, and how it will ultimately impact the business. This is how the ROI of the project can be established and measured.
Changes that are going to generate revenue next year
We’re all familiar with the routine upgrades, added features, and improved efficienices that software publishers constantly release. These are always nice additions, and offer benefit to many organizations. If the impact of these projects is minimal, it’s always worth considering as potential small project to implement these measures. However, what we find is that most businesses wait until they believe a project can significantly impact the bottom line before they make any project arrangements. Unfortunately, this usually only occurs after multiple components of an ERP, CRM, or other enterprise software system become out-dated or disparate.
This kind of wait until the last minute approach may seem like the best way to extract value from the software, but it actually minimizes it. An enterprise software project that drives more efficient, time-saving, and innovative business outcomes can have a major impact on revenue; thus increasing the cost payback of the software. Utilizing an inefficient system leaves money on the table. The best way to ensure that your enterprise software is generating ROI in the future is to invest in continuous improvement procedures that allow you to identify when aspects of the software may be holding the business back.
The infographic above displays some of the innovative trends quickly emerging in the business space. All of the elements will affect your enterprise software plan directly or indirectly. One the best ways to prepare for this is to consider the idea of a connected enterprise to unify data. This will make all future projects easier, and is an easy project to justify to management given it’s affordability and ability to quickly generate a measurable return on investment.
If your business has current plans to venture into the cloud, explore machine learning, invest in IoT, or implement business intelligence software, it’s a good time to begin evaluating the role your enterprise software will play in all of this. Preparing your software, and aligning the system and it’s data for those future projects now, could be one of the most effective ways to ensure ROI on those coming projects.
Want to learn more about generating enterprise software ROI, and what kinds of future innovations are likely to create the greatest cost payback to your organization? Contact our expert enterprise software consultants who can share their unique insights with you.