With 2019 coming to an end, the business plans for 2020 are already wrapped up. But what is the role of business software in your plans? Regardless of whether you plan to invest in new software or continue to work with the current software, it is important to set clear objectives.
SMART business software goals
Too often, goals are formulated vaguely and open-ended, making it unclear what exactly you want to achieve and, more importantly, impossible to determine whether you have achieved your goals. Therefore, formulate SMART goals:
- Specific: Describe the goal as complete as possible and assign a value (e.g. a number or percentage) to it. Think about who, what, where, when and why?
- Measurable: Choose a system, method or procedure to determine to what extent the goal has been achieved.
- Accountable: Who should do what? You must determine who is/are responsible for achieving (parts of) the goal.
- Realistic: A goal should not be too easy or impossible to achieve and should take into account practical matters and circumstances.
- Time bound: Set a start and end date.
An example of a poor goal is: "We want to reduce the costs of business software." Much better is: "The IT department must ensure that the costs of supporting our ERP system are 10% lower in 2020 than in 2019."
"Too often, goals are formulated vaguely and open-ended, such as 'We want to reduce the costs of business software.'"
Formulating goals, where to start?
With regard to business software, goals are often about reducing costs, improving systems and working more efficiently. But where the IT is a big mess at one organization, it runs perfectly well at the other organization. That is why it is good to distinct three phases and to set your goals based on the phase you are in:
PHASE 1: Eliminate frustrations: Users are very frustrated by the business software. Perhaps because systems are outdated, not user-friendly, have limited functionality or are poorly supported. There is resistance to the software and the software causes problems rather than helping the users. In this phase, your goals must be aimed at eliminating frustrations by changing the software or introducing new tools.
PHASE 2: Streamline processes: The software works and supports the processes properly. In this phase you must focus on process optimization. Analyze the processes in detail and see which processes can be made faster and/or better. Then examine which changes to the software are required to automate the more streamlined processes.
PHASE 3: Improve KPIs: When you work efficiently and the software does what it should do, it is important to get insight into your performance. Focus on the Key Performance Indicators, such as occupancy rate of the rental fleet, success rate of sales cycles and turnover per service technician. Where and how can you improve a percentage point?
The help you need
Formulating goals that are in line with your organization and situation and do everything you can to achieve these goals in 2020, requires the help of a partner who knows your business and who knows about software. In phase 1 you work together on quick wins and change management, in phase 2 you adopt the best practices of your industry and in phase 3 you need BI and reporting. Need help with this? Let me know!
Philip van Kemenade is marketing manager at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.