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Are you a victim of software overkill? Are you using four apps when one will do? Read why reducing the amount of software you use will make a huge difference to your business.
There are generally two approaches when it comes to using software to run the core areas of your business. When we say core areas, we’re talking about things like CRM, project management, task and time tracking, invoicing and the software that gives you the overall big picture of what is happening in your business.
Approach 1 — Use multiple best of breed applications for each area of the business.
Approach 2 — Use ONE application that covers as many of these business areas as possible.
Why using multiple software applications is failing businesses
No visibility or transparency over the business.
The biggest problem with the multiple application approach is that business owners and managers can’t see what’s going on. They can’t easily see the big picture. With software that operates in isolation, there is no easy way of bringing key business information, metrics and insights together into one place.
Without this overall visibility and a centralized way of bringing together key metrics, it’s almost impossible to see exactly what is going on in the business and to make smart and timely decisions that are right for your business. This is a massive issue that thousands and thousands of businesses face.
Inefficient use of time and money
Multiple applications cost a lot of money to run. While each application in itself probably isn’t that expensive, when you add them all up, you will see you’re paying a substantial amount for your software each month. Times that by 12 and see how much your software costs you each year.
Here’s the other big issue. Every time a new employee starts, you need to give them access to each piece of software and train them how to use it. Because each system works differently with a different user interface, you end up with confusion and delays in productivity before employees come up to speed and start generating revenue.
“Multiple applications end up costing more than you realise.”
Knowledge and information does not flow
When you use multiple apps in a business, you spend a lot of time looking for information and manually transferring notes from one system to another. Unless you re-enter it into your project management system, valuable knowledge and information gathered by the CRM application about each opportunity gets left behind once you have won the work and the opportunity turns into a project.
Closing off a project means more admin work and transfer of data into your financial software so you can invoice accurately. All of this re-entering of data, relying on human memory and guesswork creates the potential for gaps, errors and omissions.
Because software for each area of a business can be very complex and rich in features, you end up with a lot of ‘noise’. That is, you have software with lots of features and functionality that you don’t need or use. This deep software ends up making processes complicated, which in turn makes it harder to use and slows your team down.
The end result of all of this is a business that is less competitive with staff who are frustrated with inefficient software and difficult process. They spend more time on admin and less time doing the work. Tie this together with owners and managers who struggle to see what is going on in the business and you have a business that is working harder to do the basics.
Less is more
With ROLL software, we’ve researched and talked to 1000s of businesses. Just about all of the business we talked to that were using the multiple applications approach for each area of the business were looking for a better solution. They had pain with their internal process and software.
“Our research told us that the multiple application approach to software clearly does not work for businesses.”
On the other hand, those businesses we talked to that were using one application to manage the core business functions had a far better experience. They had less cost and a much more efficient process with information that flowed naturally from sales through to project management through to invoicing.
Software as an enabler
The big kicker here is that businesses using one core application could also see what was happening in the business as key information and metrics relating to each area could be digested and understood together. This visibility and transparency enabled better control with fast and appropriate decision making.
This approach isn’t foolproof or without its drawbacks, however. The biggest downside is that because you’re trying to cover multiple areas of the business with a single piece of software, it may not have the exact feature set you want or it may work in a way that isn’t a natural fit for your business. If this is the case, it pays to keep researching alternatives. A basic rule of thumb is if you have 80% of your needs covered, you’re doing well (and it’s probably making you more efficient than you were previously). Chances are the other 20% aren’t actually critical to your business, but are ‘nice to haves’ anyway.
Get with the programme
If you have a business that is suffering from the stresses of multiple applications, you should be looking for a better solution. Moving to one core piece of software that covers as much of your business needs as possible is a much better approach. The businesses we talk to every day and the research that we’ve done with ROLL confirms that the businesses using one core piece of software operate better, are more efficient and more competitive. And don’t forget your team - they’ll appreciate the change!
After feeling the pain first-hand of using multiple siloed apps in our own services-based business (digital agency 96black), we built ROLL software for the more efficient approach of covering the major business functions in a fast and streamlined way. Our personal experience with the different approaches, as well as the research that we’ve done with other services-based businesses, tells us that this is hands down the better way to operate and if you’re not following this approach now, you should be thinking about it.