Solving the problem with software
Software systems are considered an important aspect of many businesses however there are many successful businesses with minimal reliance on software. When businesses are invited to consider introducing a software system into their operations or even extending an existing software system, the idea can quite often be met with hesitation and apprehension.
This reaction is quite often due to the difficulty in measuring the benefit of the investment and feeling comfort with existing processes that have helped shape a successful business.
Why invest in purchasing or creating software when a business’ team members can achieve the same outcome?
When considering whether to introduce new software into your business, it is important to resist focusing on trying to replicate existing processes. This approach can often result in an implementation with minimal success. It might be seen as an attempt to make team members a redundant part of the business or the implementation may not cover all use cases effectively. In the latter case, use of the software will be reduced because critical tasks cannot be completed efficiently.
In order to avoid these common pitfalls, it is important to step back and identify existing problems in the business. These problems may vary in complexity but solving them will have a positive effect on the business.
Examples of problems might be:
- Difficulty in organising paper invoices
- Unreliable methods of recording time worked by your team members
- Time consuming creation of customer quotes
Identifying problems can sometimes be difficult but once achieved, it becomes easier to quantify the benefit of developing a software solution. It might be a monetary benefit but it might also be a more emotional benefit like increased morale.
How to define a problem
The first step is to speak with the users. It’s preferable to do this on an individual basis to provide each person with an equal opportunity to express themselves. Listen to their needs and observe their behaviours. Find out what they actually do each day and let them share their opinions on what their preferred processes may be or even what improvements they would have done to any existing software they are using.
During this process, it’s very important to not judge anyone’s responses, ideas or opinions. Making any judgement at this stage of the process will inhibit your ability to form problem statements and subsequent solutions further in the process.
Collating the information provided by your users and deriving metrics where possible is the next phase. There may be many commonalities found as well as processes being followed that weren’t apparent before. In terms of metrics, identifying that someone takes X hours or X steps to perform a task or is important. With this information, you should be able to begin to see problems and start forming your problem statements.
Building a problem statement should take into account the following:
- What is the problem?
- Where does the problem occur and who does it impact?
- Why is it a problem?
The problem statement should remain objective and should not include reference to any causes or possible solutions.
Proposing a solution
Each problem statement can be ordered in importance and possible solutions can be proposed. When proposing a solution, it’s important to also explain the benefits and costs of the solution. Not all problems will be solved by software. Some might be as simple as replacing some equipment or adjusting the layout of the office. Remember, just because there is a problem does not mean it needs to be solved. The cost of solving some problems simply isn’t worth it in terms of money or effort/time.
If you are considering a software solution for your business, Qubisoft can assist with identifying what type of solution to target. We have proven processes to analyse your existing business processes, make recommendations on changes and then implement successful affordable solutions.
We are also able to assist conducting the process of defining problem statements with no obligation to create any software. You would be presented with documented user responses, metrics and problem statements. Our solution recommendations would not solely be focused on software as ensuring your business can get the best return on investment is our priority.
Contact Qubisoft for a discussion about your unique circumstances.