I am looking for a software solution for my business
You realized there are certain processes or workflows in your company that can be improved through automation or better communication and sharing of information. You are not an expert in technology or software, but with your basic knowledge on how technology works, you know this is something that software can help.
You have asked around those people that you know in your industry as well as searched through the Internet. The number of options that are available to you are simply enormous. You are overwhelmed by the choices available, unsure about “the best” solution for your company. You have even talked to a few programmers and software developers. They claimed that they can do the job and had probably given you an indicative quotation or cost. You realized what they quoted is not a small figure, and you are not sure if it is well worth the money spent.
How to get a software solution for your business?
There are many avenues where you can look into for software solutions. Each of them has their own pros and cons. Here is a list of common players in the software industry and how they typically work:
These are typically sales consultants from the vendor company that develops the software product. Or it can also be their reseller or implementation partners. They are very technology driven and feature oriented. They will demonstrate to you how their product can solve your business problems, though sometimes you may wonder whether it is as effective as they claim to be, as they are very unlikely to provide you alternative options from other vendors. Without comparison, you might also risk paying more for “bells and whistles” that you don’t need. Nonetheless, this is by far the cheapest and fastest way of getting a software solution.
Pros: Low overall implementation costs.
Cons: Risk getting unsuitable solution and paying more for unnecessary features.
These are typically technical professionals with good knowledge in putting various software components together. If you know what are the bits and pieces of software that you require, they are able to put them together to make them work seamlessly. This provides you a wider options and flexibility when it comes to software selection. Similar as product vendor, the effectiveness of the integrated software in solving your business problems is entirely up to your knowledge.
Pros: Better flexibility on software selection.
Cons: Need to know the best technology for your business requirements.
These are also known as “software house” that specialize in creating custom built software solution. They will typically ask for your requirements or features that you would like to have on your software. The good thing is they will deliver you a software solution that is uniquely yours as per your exact specification. But unless you are very sure about the features that you want, along with their effectiveness to solve your business problems, and then spend time to write a detailed specification, otherwise they will not work well with you. Your changing requirements will pose potential risk on over budget and delay. As their cost is entirely based on the time and effort required as per your specification, the implementation costs can go very steep depends on the project scope and duration.
Pros: Get a unique solution that meets your exact needs.
Cons: High implementation costs and development risk.
How to find a software with the right features and pricing for you?
The summary above should give you a good idea for deciding who is the right party that you should get in touch with to get your software solution. But if you need greater assurance in getting a more effective solution for your problems, and you can’t afford a custom built software, then our CTO can probably help you by exploring more options to choose and compare from so that you can pick one with the right features and pricing for you.
How our CTO help you to get the right software solution?
“Our CTO are business driven. We will first understand your business model and problems, and then analyze your business process to give you multiple options of improvements and innovation ideas.”
We will then represent your best interests to evaluate the software vendors and service provider with the closest fit to your business process. The followings outline our process and methodology when working with you:
Step 1: Develop process plan and strategy
Our CTO will begin with looking at your business process. This will give you a good idea of the existing issues and opportunities that the new process and system can address. In order to better envision the new process, our CTO will develop a prototype that illustrates the general concept of your new process. We will then invite the relevant people and departments in your organization to test the prototype, and then gather their feedback and discuss the improvements with you.
Step 2: Define and prioritize requirements
Requirements are specifications and features of all aspects of the new process. They are not just the technical requirements apply to software and hardware. Our CTO will work with you and your people to find out about the rules on how the work is to be performed, what are their specific workflow steps, what are the roles and responsibilities of the staffs involved in the new process, and so on.
Once all the requirements are defined, we will go through each of them to check if they are really necessary. Some of these requirements are more important than others, and some are so critical that if a particular software cannot meet them, we will not consider that solution. Doing this prioritization before software evaluation is important so that we know where we should focus our budget on, and are not influenced by the marketing hype of vendors. Some software have features that appear to be cool, but if we don’t have high priority problems that the features are meant to address, then there is no point in buying the software.
Step 3: Research keywords that brings customers to your offer
The purpose of this step is to find the software solution that best supports your new process. This is done by searching through our technology database, list of contacts in our international CTO network, as well as surfing the Internet. For each vendor, our CTO will go through their website to review their specifications, pricing, and customer reviews published on other software review websites.
Once we found suitable, we will request the vendors to show how their software solution can handle your new process. Rather than allowing each vendor to demonstrate in their own way (usually using their standard data and scripts), we get them to work with the same transactions in your new process using your company data. This will allow us to make better comparison between vendors, evaluating both ease of use and functionality, i.e. how easily can we enter our data into the software and whether the report and resulting output meets our requirements. Finally, our CTO will request for a demo or trial version where we can get our hands on their software to try it ourselves.
Step 4: Identify functionality gaps and bridging plans
After the previous step, we will narrow down our options to only 2 or 3 choices. In this step, our CTO will identify any gaps that exist between your requirements that we established earlier and the shortlisted software functionality, and evaluate the ease with which those gaps can be bridged. If custom programming is required, this will include the estimation of cost and time to make the modifications. Our final choice will be based on the software solution with the least critical gaps, i.e. gaps that have greatest impact to the end users.
Step 5: Finalize implementation plan
In order for you to make the best decision, our CTO will present you with at least two implementation plan: (1) Ideal approach, and (2) Low-cost approach.
- Ideal approach is the optimal way of implementing your new process that will cover almost all of your requirements.
- Low-cost approach is a cheaper and faster alternative that is achieved by leaving out functionality gaps that appear to be either easy to bridge (probably there are plenty of workarounds available), or of minimal impact to the end users (not critical to business success).
Why it is important to align business with technology?
In general, business technology alignment is is to ensure that technologies are exploited in ways that create value for the organization and translate into real business results, such as improve financial performance or marketplace competitiveness. (Read more on Business/IT Alignment in Wikipedia.) To be more specific, here is what you can expect as our CTO work with you through the process in finding the right software solution:
When a software solution is selected before the new process is even defined, this will likely lead to a lot of additional cost later as there are so many unknowns. The effort to define a new process may require a bit more time at the beginning, but this helps to minimize unwanted surprises and avoid acquiring the wrong solution
When you new process is defined by your CTO with the requirements clearly identified and prioritized, you know what you want exactly. This will allow you to be more objective and less likely being influenced by marketing hype to sell you extra bells and whistles that you do not need.
The process analysis and rapid prototyping that are done by your CTO in the early stage will pay off by saving you from a lot of unnecessary rework and frustration, as well as reducing your cost on ongoing maintenance.
Less is more when it comes to software features. Unwanted features will clutter the user interface and reduce the usability of the software. When your CTO finds software that matches closely to your requirements and has functionalities that are strategically aligned to your process and workflow, the result is a simpler solution that requires significantly less time to operate for both your users and management. (Faster to translate into productivity.)
A CTO represents your best interests to evaluate the vendors and service providers that suit your business needs. All costs and quotations are transparent where you will receive a direct invoice from vendors. We do not act as middleman or reseller.
As you work with your CTO, you will often be given options with various cost-benefit tradeoffs. Compared to being offered a single take-it-or-leave-it option, this gives you more flexibility to choose what works for you based on your business requirements and budget constraints.
If any of these is important to you, get in touch with our CTO and let us know what solution are you looking for (or the problems you are facing in your organization). We will share with you what are the solution that might work for you, and how we can work together to find the best solution.