Choose for change

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By Tom Baeyens

Next time when you purchase an enterprise software product, consider the lifespan of your purchase.  Imagine you’re looking for a solution like for example Customer Relationship Management (CRM), expense notes, order processing or any other enterprise solution.

Most people are obviously focused on their current needs.  But consider this: How long do you think this product should last in your organization?  Couple of months… naah, a year..  naah longer!  Indeed software purchase decisions last usually more then a couple of years.  Sometimes more then a decade.  Let’s take 5 years as the frame of reference.  The next question is: Do you think your needs will change over the course of the next 5 years.  If you’re in a normal organization, that is very likely.

The perspective of purchasing software for 5 years shows a clear risk of getting stuck.  Consider how hard it is to change ERP software.  Software is hard to change for all sorts of reasons.  The innovator’s dilemma is actually one of the bigger obstacles.  Once a product is out and adopts a client base, the vendor basically cannot change the recipe much.  The existing clients are used to the old approach.  And on top, the biggest challenge for a typical software vendor is provide support for one business process that satisfies most of the users most of the time.  So even if a solution supports your current needs, you can’t be sure it satisfies the needs that you’ll have in 5 years from now, whatever they may be!

This illustrates a crucial value of workflow systems.  Workflow and BPM systems like Effektif have the ability to change baked inside their DNA.  It’s actually the user that defines how the pieces of work get connected.  And users can change that themselves.  This guarantees that you can change much easier.

Now look at what’s happening on the cloud.  New and interesting services pop up by the hour.  Companies should take advantage of the right new services or otherwise they have a serious competitive handicap.  A workflow product like Effektif gives you the ability to deal with changes in the services you use and how you use them.  Effektif connects people and your enterprise systems with workflows that you can configure yourself.  So if a service changes, you can change the workflow accordingly.   That’s what we mean with having change as part of the DNA.  In that sense, it’s much easier to choose for a workflow system then a very specific service.  You know that you can change your workflows at any time, be it now, in 5 years or later.

Photo credit: http://leadinganswers.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/03/15/monarch_stages.jpg