07 Mar Build or Buy? How to Solve Business Problems with the Right Software [Infographic]
That business problem or goal that’s giving you heartburn lately? Chances are its solution hinge on technology: automation, to be precise.
The inescapable demand for automation
It’s not hard to see how automation can alleviate workloads, eliminate waste, errors, costs and delays — a no-brainer in terms of multiplying business efficiencies. Just as important, it’s what customers now expect: today’s buyers reward companies that feed their craving for personalization, speed, problem-free transactions and instant gratification, and quickly abandon vendors that don’t.
That behavioral shift isn’t something to take lightly: Customer experiences now sway buying decisions more than price, cost, functionality or other brand attributes, say researchers.
At the intersection of business efficiencies and customer experiences we find some growing pains and great opportunities to outperform competitors : Nearly three out of four customer service reps say managing their workload is their biggest challenge (Win the Customer), and businesses lose about $11,000 per employee, per year, because of ineffective communications and collaboration (Mitel).
No wonder: Employees report spending 50% of their time searching for documents manually, averaging 18 minutes per document (M-Files), and that number climbs to 68.6% when you add up communications and collaboration tasks (CIO Insight).
While it’s easy to see the benefits of automation, implementing it isn’t so clear-cut. Should you build a custom solution? Buy something off-the-shelf? Tweak a prepackaged solution? Those can be hazy, difficult decisions.
Ensuring your tech investment is a profitable one
The indecision, hemming and hawing that comes with choosing a software solution boils down to this: Which solution will put money in my pocket, and not waste my time and dollars?
What separates profitable tech investments from poor ones is this: Profitable technology solves real business and customer experience problems, explains Inverse-Square. Those problems often include:
- Manual processes
- Spreadsheets galore
- Delays in service delivery
- Duplicate activities
- Biased decisions
- Human errors
- Performance inconsistencies
- Lack of personalization or relevance
- Quality issues
- Discerning opinions from facts
- Too many hoops to jump through for simple tasks or answers
- Cumbersome reporting
- Missing, confusing or unhelpful data, and more.
The common thread when technology ends up unused or viewed as a burden is when (1) organization didn’t take the time to understand the problem and its ramifications, and (2) employees don’t understand how using the solution can ease their work or the lives of customers.
3 Choices + 3 Steps
As you consider which problems you’re trying to solve, you have three choices:
- Build a custom software or app (alternatively, customize an existing solution)
- Buy an off-the-shelf solution
- Do nothing
Three steps should steer your decision:
- Assess the problems you want to be solved in your business
- Evaluate existing processes
- Understand the financial and resource implications
Building your own solution can solve specialized needs and give you an advantage over competitors, while buying a ready-made solution may be ideal if your needs are common and you’re willing to overhaul operations to match software capabilities. Of course, we’re over-simplifying things and you still have the option to do nothing, which might be suitable if your business costs, processes and outcomes are optimized today and you foresee no changes over the next few years.
Could you use a bit more guidance? Experts at Inverse-Square help us evaluate key factors and best-fit scenarios via the handy infographic below.
“The crux of the matter is this,” advises Bob Baird, Inverse-Square founder: “Will your choice to build or buy make your business unique and more desirable to customers, or force you to change your business to fit a software?”
More considerations below: