Your Business Management Software Has a Lot to Say About You
And Your Customers, Prospects & Competitors are Listening

By: | Category: Cloud Computing, IT / Infrastructure

Back in 2014, Forrester made a bold statement. “Software is becoming the brand,” its analysts declared. Your software and users’ interaction with the software significantly influences the perception of your company, they pointed out. Fast forward a few years to 2019. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella rather famously noted that “every company is a software company.”

What does this mean for your small or midsized business (SMB)? Do you consider yourself a software company? Your company’s business management software applications have a lot to say about you — and your customers, prospects, and competitors are listening. Is your business software representing your brand well? If not, what needs to change?

Every company is a software company

Tesla is arguably more of a software company than a car company. When Nike hired a veteran tech industry insider as its new CEO, some said that Nike is setting itself up to become a tech company first and foremost. What about your company?

If your organization provides services, software likely supports the entire workflow, from project management to customer support and billing. If your business builds or sells products, software likely controls procurement, production, inventory management, marketing, sales, and distribution. When so much of your organization’s operations can be supported by software, your business is a software business.

Even if you’re not yet managing these tasks with software, we’d argue you’re still a software company. Why? Because you could be leveraging software. Your competitors already are. The most innovative and disruptive companies are strides ahead in their digital transformations, automating everything that can be automated and supporting every task with technology.

And let’s not overlook that every company is now a data and analytics company — increasingly relying on data, analytics, AI, automation, and IoT to operate and compete.

Every touchpoint counts

Software is the touchpoint for nearly every customer and business partner interaction with your company. Sales and marketing activity flows through and is automated by CRM. Every billing question you answer, every credit card you process, and every invoice you pay flows through your ERP.  A growing percentage of your sales flows through your eCommerce site. Vendors receive their orders via EDI and get paid through electronic banking. And the list goes on.

What is your software saying about your organization? Does it say you’re investing in technologies that secure and protect your customers’ data? Does it say you’re flexible and provide multiple ways for customers to do business with you? Does it show your vendors that you respect them enough to pay them paperless and on time? Does it show that you have enough insight into your supply chain to quote accurate delivery times? Or does it say you’re spending so much time working in the business that you have no time to work on the business?

The speed imperative

Ever notice how when someone joins the conference call at the exact time the meeting starts, we consider them late? In the time of same day deliveries, showing up on time is late. It’s illustrative of the quickening speed of business, making technology table stakes for companies to run at the speed of business today.

The pandemic accelerated the need for speed. Companies that could quickly adapt to the “new normal” succeeded while their competitors shuttered their doors, in many cases permanently. Here’s a few examples of companies that leveraged their technology infrastructure to react right on time, and in doing so, put their organizations in the best possible positions.

When the pandemic hit, home improvement giant Lowes’s launched a new curbside pickup program in a mere three days. Their previous plan allotted 18 months for the roll out. Lowe’s was able to move at the speed of business because they were already on their path to digital transformation. They had already invested in their software systems — both those that face the customer and those that power the back-office operations.

A global telecom redeployed 1,000 store employees to inside sales, training them in just three weeks. The enterprise was able to pivot that quickly because of smart, fast decision making combined with their technology infrastructure.

Appliance maker Dyson retooled and began manufacturing thousands of ventilators within weeks, a monumental task that might typically take months or even years. The company pooled resources from its plants in multiple countries, a feat only possible with deep operational insight — the kind delivered by its data and analytics software.

One fast-casual restaurant had transitioned its eCommerce and online ordering applications to the cloud pre-pandemic. When online orders jumped from 50,000 per day to over 400,000, they were ready. In fact, the success they saw caused them to accelerate their move of other applications to the cloud, reducing a five-year migration plans down to less than one year.

What’s the speed of your business? Is your technology slowing you down? Is your competition already moving at full throttle?

Think about your brand

You company’s business software is your primary source of capacity, competitiveness, innovation, quality, and agility. In short, your software is your brand. What does your brand say about you?

In this, the first of our series speaking to the business imperative for speed and agility — and how business software can deliver that — we wanted to get you thinking about how your business software helps create and differentiate your brand. In upcoming posts, we’ll talk further about the challenges SMBs face, and how a next generation of technology solutions can help you — and your brand — thrive.