The Four Ways to Solve a Problem with Management Software

Often in the company we find situations  where management software could help: a slow process, a disorganized team, lack of control in a peak of work or simply difficulty to know what is happening in each moment with precision.

Then, when polling the market we are a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities it offers and its different costs and implications. Many clients come to us at this point and are usually quite disoriented by the options that exist.

Let’s summarize the four ways that exist to solve a problem with management software with its pros, cons and main features:

1. OFFICE

It’s the Swiss army knife of management software. Ok for everything. There are very few problems that can not be solved more or less provisionally with a work methodology supported by Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, the Outlook calendar, emails and shared folders on a server.

Pros:

  • It is cheap
  • You can do it yourself
  • It adapts to the way of working of the organization
  • It is very quick to implement
  • There is a true Excel genius in every company …

Cons:

  • Solving a problem exclusively with Office software leads to very manual processes, which require human intervention for all steps and are very susceptible to errors.
  • The data entered is not validated, it is difficult to totalize, analyse and summarize
  • In general, the computer performs few or no important actions for us automatically.
  • The almighty copy paste often turns against the user and errors are generated on a daily basis that are difficult to detect.

Indicated for: Provisional solutions for new problems, non-critical processes in the organization, very limited budgets.

2. CLOSED or STANDARD PACKAGES

It is the first great qualitative leap in management software. In this category enter commercial programs, “ready to use” that solve specific problems common to all companies and organizations: billing packages, document management, accounting, warehouse, human resources, customer relations (CRM), etc. Unlike Office-based solutions, closed packages automate the most repetitive actions of each process as much as possible.

Pros:

  • Closed packages offer the best quality / price ratio of management software,
  • Unlike Office, they allow you to save a lot of time in repetitive tasks,
  • They control human errors
  • They allow to obtain global reports of the processes at any time and quickly.

Cons:

  • They require specific training to learn how to use them
  • They are strictly limited to one management area in the company
  • They are “rigid” (they do what they do and can not be changed). The user must adapt to the functionality of the program.
  • There are only closed packages for the “typical” and most common problems of the companies.
  • They may not cover 100% of the peculiarities of our business.

Indicated for: The basic processes of the company: billing, accounting, document management, payroll, etc.

Tip: Look for closed packages that have good capacity to import and export information to office automation and other tools (computer scientists call it “integration” with other programs), thus it is possible to configure an “ecosystem” of applications that collaborate with each other in an efficient way.

As a sample, R2 Docuo is a closed Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Software package suited to solve any Workflow, File sharing, Document Management or Cloud storage scenario.

3. SECTORAL SOLUTIONS

The sectoral solutions are computer management applications designed to meet the specific needs of a specific activity sector. They include the basic functionalities of a closed package, but they also add specific functionalities of the sector. It is thus possible to find sectoral solutions for translation agencies, language academies, marketing companies, mechanical workshops, administrative agencies or law firms.

For example, in a sectoral solution for a translation agency, in addition to finding the basic functionalities of billing or control of payments and collections of a standard billing package, a database of translators with specific fields is available. In an administrative agency, the program will contemplate the steps and deadlines for the various procedures, etc.

Pros:

  • If we have sectoral software for your activity, this type of solution usually covers the needs of the business in a very specific way,
  • We can benefit from the fact that the program is not as generic as a closed package and the terms and functionalities that it offers will be more familiar and useful since they are designed specifically for our business.
  • Sectoral solutions usually cover several areas of management (billing, projects, treasury, human resources, etc.) in a single program.

Cons:

  • The price of sector solutions is usually higher than that of closed packages.
  • Sectoral solutions remain “rigid” (they do what they do and can not be changed). Although software manufacturers offer to “parametrize” sectoral tools (that is, adjust some parameters) to adapt them as much as possible to each client, the reality is that an adaptation exercise is always required.
  • In many cases there is no sectoral software for our sector of activity.
  • They require specific training to learn how to use them, usually more complex than that of closed packages
  • There is a risk of using the same software package as the competition (which can be an advantage or an inconvenience)

Indicated for: Medium-sized companies for whose sector there are solutions of this type that fit reasonably with their way of working.

Tip: Evaluate the sectoral solutions that are most used in your sector, ask the company to provide you with the software references of clients for your activity. In some sectors there are packages that are considered almost a standard because of their great diffusion.

4. CUSTOMIZED SOFTWARE

Tailor-made tools are the highest ranking in management computing. Although it is usually based on elements or “pieces” predesigned, each application is made to measure after a face-to-face consultancy with the client, in which their needs are studied one by one.

Unlike other types of solutions, customized management software requires a development project that begins with taking requirements and studying the way the organization works. Next, the programmers assemble the solution and make it available to the client within a period that can vary between a few weeks or several months.

When the project is successful you get a unique tool fully adapted to the needs of the company.

Pros:

  • Tailored solutions are the only tool that adapts 100% to the way of working of the company and does not force the organization to adjust to the program.
  • The resulting software can be modified and improved over time, to adapt it to the new needs of the organization.
  • You can prepare to export and import data from other solutions as closed packages, greatly reducing their size.
  • If the project is correctly carried out, the overall benefit obtained in the management is very high and can not be equated in quality to any other family of solutions.

Cons:

  • Custom software is the most expensive solution for software tools.
  • Tailored solutions are unique and therefore generate a strong dependence on the software manufacturer (in practice, only the company that made the software could maintain it).
  • Development deadlines may be delayed due to poorly sized functionalities in the consulting
  • Being a unique product for each client, it is normal that there are bugs or “bugs” in the solution that will be resolved in the first months of use
  • Although they require specific training to learn how to use them, it is usually simple since the screens and functionalities were designed with the client.

Indicated for: Medium or large companies for whose sector there are no sectoral solutions or who want to prevail their way of working in the computerization of their processes.

Tip: Make sure that the consultant team that will take the requirements have experience in your sector or in similar sectors. If this is not possible, make sure that the methodology they use to document the requirements is sound and you are provided with a complete project documentation and reasonable closed deadlines before starting it.

Hope this tips help you making the right decission when solving your company problems with management software.

See you in the cloud!