There is a lot of hubbub about using third party solutions for successfully integrating software products into your business, and you can’t open a software provider’s page without hearing how well they will improve your current system, filling in the gaps and taking over the clumsy, clunky controls that you are stuck with. Whether you are using QuickBooks accounting systems or Microsoft Dynamics for projects, there will always be someone saying that they can take over and optimize or even replace the system entirely. In many cases this is true, because those businesses focus on very specific problems, whereas the software they attack is configurable to a wide range of needs. So, if your issues match with their specific skill sets they can count money in the bank. However, in many cases they are counting on one factor that is almost certainly the cause of the other issues: user error.
If you, or whomever you hire to consult, fails to optimize the installation of core business software, or fails to appropriately update it over time, then it can appear as though the problem lies with the software itself. In fact, most of the larger software packages are made to adapt to nearly any business problem, and those that can’t generally require only minor tweaks, not a major overhaul or replacement. Consider the claim that QuickBooks can’t be used for maintaining compliance with the Defense Contract Auditing Agency (DCAA). The reality is that you need only configure the appropriate settings and link it to a timekeeping system that meets the requirements of the federal government. Choosing an entirely new accounting system and implementing it across your company is time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient. However, there are companies just waiting for you to get frustrated with your products, throw your hands in the air and say, “I give up!” That, as they say, is when they’ve got you.
So, if you take away nothing else from this post, take away this: always look to see if your software has the answer built-in before abandoning it for something shiny with big promises to deliver. The odds are that it has flexibility that you were unaware of. If you had it installed by someone else, ask for assistance, or call the vendor. In many cases they will be happy to help. There is no reason to clutter your business with extraneous new systems that provide only a bandage to a broken arm. The most effective fixes come from an understanding of, and willingness to correct, the primary system itself.