The modern business environment is full of technological solutions to your enterprise problems, and the tool that you use can easily become the core of your strategy. When the right software is paired with the right team, it can seem like nothing is beyond your grasp, regardless of the size of your business. Unfortunately, with the plethora of enterprise platforms available, selecting the one that best fits your business and team can feel impossible. The main goal when implementing new business software is to end up with a platform that is going to deliver the best return on investment possible. Unfortunately, what many fail to realize is that when your business software doesn’t fit your business, no matter how inexpressive it is, you aren’t getting any bang for your buck. 

You wouldn’t use a hammer to drive a screw, but businesses across Canada are doing just that whenever they try to force business software to fit their operations, rather than finding the software that fits to begin with. It’s only natural for people to become dependent on a single tool as they begin to become proficient with it, using it for all of their needs. In fact, famous American psychologist Abraham Maslow (you may know his hierarchy of needs) described just this phenomenon in what has now been referred to as the Law of the Instrument: “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” While this is a natural human instinct, when you’re using software in the way it wasn’t intended, the issues can be far-reaching. 

Negatively Impacted Staff

The implementation of a new software will generate some form of reaction from your staff. The reaction of the staff to the implementation is a sure-fire way of telling how well a platform fits your business. If your staff hates it and can’t work with it, you’ve probably chosen the wrong. Good business software should be easy for staff to get started with, offering intuitive design, ease-of-use and powerful functionality. 

If your software is unintuitive, and the user experience is poor, chaos will reign, morale will sink and errors will increase.

Supplementary Software

Supplementary software isn’t inherently bad, as it can be useful. But when your primary enterprise system is not handling your core processes, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the need for add-on software. These add-ons cost you at numerous points in their lifecycle, including the price of the product itself, the cost of integration (SaaS or otherwise) and the administration time required. Additionally, you may not have everything you need when switching platforms. When this happens, a company may be tempted to continue running their old platform in tandem with the new one, despite the confusion and cost.  Running your business on multiple systems introduces yet another slew of problems, including data duplication, expensive infrastructure expansion and the need for additional staff to maintain the systems.  

Supplementary software has its place, but time and again people abuse and overuse software like spreadsheets because their business software just isn’t cutting it. Skip the supplement; replace the core.

Business Disruption Costs

When a business is using the wrong software for a job, disruption becomes a real concern.  Failures of your software to achieve a critical process can result in significant slowing of operations, which can lead to unsatisfied customers and a frustrated staff. Additionally, support staff may have to complete should-be automated steps manually, wasting their time and slowing the flow of business. 

When your software isn’t doing what you need it to, time is wasted by your staff simply trying to learn the system, and the work arounds you’ve come up with. That’s not even mentioning the additional training needed if you’ve had to supplement your product with a secondary system. By using the right software for the job you are able to avoid these business disruption costs, saving your company money, keeping staff morale high and keeping customers happy. 

Missed Opportunities

Using an imperfect tool might allow you to get the job done, but tentatively at best. With the future prosperity of your company at risk, being situated to take on opportunities as they come is essential to continued success. This is one of those hidden costs of working with the wrong software; if you are still maintaining a steady flow of opportunities you may be completely ignorant to just how many you are missing in the process. If your ERP requires your sales staff to spend hours per transaction, bouncing around between systems, or working around your primary one, they are likely missing out on chances to make sales and interact with customers.

The wrong system cripples your sale staff, limiting their ability to engage customers in a way that takes advantage of the customer’s present needs, leading to missed opportunities for revenue.

Diminished Public Opinion

A recent Forrester Poll made it clear; the will of the customer matters. The poll cites that customer recommendations carry with them the single highest consumer trust factor a company can hope for, far surpassing the level customers trust the content put out by your marketing team. For this reason, it’s critical that you have a system that allows you to produce the best experience possible for your customers, so they keep coming back and recommending you to others.  The customer’s feelings towards a company often lean heavily on the response time of the organization. If using the wrong software makes for longer delays in response, then their opinion of you will diminish, and so will the number of incoming opportunities. As unhappy customers increase in numbers, word might spread to stay away, and business could be lost behind your back. In a 2011 American Express survey of the condition of customer service in the global marketplace, 61% of those surveyed said that they always told someone when they had a poor customer experience. Additionally, this same survey outlined the very real impact of customer perception, with 75% of Canadians surveyed and 73% of Americans surveyed spending more at a company who they had a history of strong customer service with. They also found that 78% of Americans surveyed and 85% of Canadians surveyed had backed out of a transaction, or avoided a purchase because of a poor customer service experience. 

Customer opinion is the key to growing your business, so when your tools are working against you, your public image is likely to falter, with a negative impact on sales as a result.

Unexpected Needs, Upgrades, and Customizations

Taking stock of your company’s software needs when selecting new enterprise software can be quite the process. If you made a business software purchase only to find the software lacks the ability to meet some of your core requirements, you’re likely to wonder where on earth you went wrong. But staying the course is not the answer to this dilemma. For starters, you may well be forced into upgrading the software with the vendor, which can often lead to paying for a whole slew of new features, when in reality you only needed a specific feature. Additionally, these limitations could tempt you towards customizing it, but this can lead to a whole new set of problems, including potential stability issues, and a grueling update process. Furthermore, you may find you need to supplement your staff to fill any gaps that the less-than-perfect software doesn’t cover. 

Ensuring that the software fits all of your needs can cut down these costs and requirements, securing your capital for investments that actual promote the growth of your company. 

Using a Sandbox ERP

Ensuring that the software you are purchasing fits all of your criteria is more than just a tall order; it’s nearly impossible when you take into consideration all of the intricate systems that make up the core of your business process. While some of the software as a service offerings on the market have done much to lower the risks of purchasing a new software, getting your hands on the wrong software is still a drain on time and resources. So, ultimately, if it’s so hard to find a software that fits your business, while simultaneously being risky and expensive to test, what is the answer? Sandbox ERP

Sandbox ERPs are changing the question entirely. Instead of just fitting your business, a sandbox ERP is designed for your business. Sandbox ERPs are a brand new take on the ERP marketplace that brings your workflow to life, replicating your core business platform, shaping the software to your requirements and individual preferences. They can be changed to meet your needs and are entirely flexible, taking the guesswork out of selecting an ERP.