Making smart use of your business software plays a major role in your ability to achieve your goals – the right intelligence in the right place at the right time with minimal cost. To ensure that you’re continually well supported, it’s important to remember that changes in your business should also lead to changes in your software.

Just like any other machine
If we compare business software with a car or indeed any other machine, there are a number of important similarities. Foremost is that most machinery requires periodic maintenance or servicing to continue running effectively and efficiently. And it’s not just about adding fresh oil – it’s also about repairing or replacing worn out parts.

You also need to periodically consider if the car or equipment still provides a good match to the purpose it was bought for. Although the fit may have been very tight at the beginning, the situation may have changed sufficiently for other requirements to be more relevant. A small, sporty car is great – until you need to take children and the weekly grocery shop around with you.

Business software is no different. As a company evolves, so do its requirements from its IT setup. It’s therefore essential to regularly reappraise whether you are getting everything you need out of your implementation. And who to choose to ensure you do this as effectively as possible? Well, people with expert knowledge of your systems capabilities, its potential and the way it’s implemented by other businesses like yours are actually easily available. All you need to do is call your software supplier. Getting consultants in from your ERP vendor may seem like another unnecessary expense, but their help to ensure things are still running as efficiently as they can be can drive major improvements – with a major impact on the bottom line.

Minimizing costs while continuing to fully support your business’ operational strategy requires careful consideration of all processes, how well they’re functioning and how well IT supports them on a regular basis. Is your ERP actively helping you to generate improvements, further develop business systems and achieve growth? Are your people and other resources available to invest in creating paths toward new opportunities? Are you suffering from over-complexity in certain areas? Depending on the answers to these questions, it could well be the case that your business software is not doing the job it could be.

Get concrete answers to concrete questions
The questions discussed above are of the kind that keeps business leaders awake at night. Given how important it is to get concrete answers that can then steer tangible improvements, it’s key that businesses regularly take time to review the role IT is playing in the organization. Although in some cases the business may have outgrown their software, it’s very likely that some fine tuning, re-organization or modular extension can provide overcome the need to implement a completely new system. Reviewing and, if necessary, re-engineering businesses processes to create better IT interaction is a cost-effective way to deliver improvements in productivity, discover waste, analyze efficiency and facilitate lean flow.