Is Your Software Failing You OR are You Failing Your Software?

Jason SayensmartPRENEUR Blog Series

Every client I work with struggles with software.  They are either frustrated with their existing software or looking at new software that will hopefully fix all of their problems.

I’m here to tell you that there is no magic software!

Why do you NEED software for your business?

  • Create efficiencies and improve productivity
  • Automate manual tasks
  • Handle a specific task or goal
  • Exceed customer expectations
  • Document/preserve knowledge

So what causes so many software implementations to fail?

  • Poor adoption amongst the team
  • It didn’t fully solve the problem or put out the fire
  • It doesn’t work well for my business
  • It’s not as easy to use as expected
  • It created more work and disruption

But there are 2 causes of why these failures are happening.

Reason #1:  Lack of understanding of your company’s systems and processes.

You first have to analyze your workflow.  Even if you are seeking out a piece of industry-specific software, don’t expect the software workflow to match your company’s.  Yes, you will have to make some exceptions but too many exceptions will end up causing some or all of the problems above.

Here are the questions that you should ask yourself to better understand your processes.

What are your daily activities that the software is going to help with?

Have you identified your project phases, milestones, deliverables, and tasks that the software will help manage?  

Can it manage them the way they work in your company?

Who will be using the software?

What tasks are repetitive?  Can the software automate these tasks?

What bottlenecks are you currently experiencing and how will the software help relieve them?

How will the software make your company and employees more efficient?

Should we look at an all-in-one solution or multiple pieces that specialize in different areas?

Reason #2:  Not fully understanding WHY you need the software

Are you buying software to put out fires?  My team can’t seem to communicate well so we need Slack!  

Distinguish the difference between software types and software needs.

Types are accounting software, project management, scheduling, communication, design, contract, and support ticketing.

To understand your needs, you need to define the problem that you are trying to solve.  Then you can zero in on the features.  Separate out the “must have features” from the “nice to haves”.  

Be specific with your “must haves”.  Mobile or desktop use…or both?  Notifications and automation?  Cloud or desktop? API integrations with other enterprise software?  Language support?

Consider creating a scorecard and include everyone on your team who will be using the software to contribute to the process.

Software Scorecard Example

What’s the pain point?  Project Management Software

Must have features:

  • Time tracking
  • Job costing
  • QB integration
  • Inventory tracking
  • Mobile App

Nice to have features:

  • Integration API
  • Internal Chat
  • Notifications

Now based on that scorecard, what are the possible solutions?  

Now you can then apply the feature lens below to narrow it down further (price, onboarding, etc.) 

  • Price
  • Functionality or User Experience
  • Reviews and recommendations from industry colleagues
  • Portability ( mobile app)
  • Support/onboarding
  • Integrations API
  • Industry-specific solution

Don’t forget about software implementation.  Some software has a team to assist you with onboarding and implementation while others have a series of videos.  The company may supply a process map but it won’t show you how the software process fits in with yours.

While there is no magic software, there is a magic process!

  1. Understand your systems and processes
  2. Know why you need it
  3. Use a software scorecard
  4. Evaluate your options
  5. Include the team and find a champion to manage the process
About the Author

Jason Sayen

Jason Sayen is the Founder of I am Sayen and brings over 25 years to the custom installation channel.  I am Sayen, helps business owners understand their process through workflow documentation which aligns teams and removes bottlenecks.