It’s the start of a new year in business, you have big goals and big ambitions. However, a month into 2023 you realise that the challenges you encountered in the last year are still well and truly embedded in your business. This seems to be the case for most business owners, executives and leaders I’m chatting with at the moment. And it was certainly the case for us here at Moonward. In previous years we would struggle through the pain and fix when something breaks but this year we’ve taken a different approach.
Here’s what we’ve learnt:
There isn’t a blueprint for how every business should be systemised, evolved and scaled. And the truth is that no business is run exactly the same. It’s important to embrace the difference your business offers to the market and not get too engrained in comparing yourself to others in the market. Of course, research the market and see what’s working for other people but don’t get bogged down with trying to copy and paste everything your competitor or market leader is doing. We’re all on our own business journey.
In truth, I used to get really frustrated when something wasn’t working in our business. It would keep me up at night and I wouldn’t be able to rest until it was ‘solved’. Like a warrior going into battle, I would be fixated on the proverbial victory of overcoming a business challenge. But upon reflection it’s not efficient, it’s stressful and doesn’t truly get to the bottom of the challenge.
Solving big business problems excites me…whether you’re revamping a legacy software product, digitalising an offline process or addressing a deeply rooted system/process that hasn’t been updated in years. However, it’s important not to put your shining armour on and charge on without your army. Embrace the challenge as an opportunity to make positive change and bring together your ‘brain’s trust’. People, you can bounce ideas off and find a holistic solution that serves its purpose outside of your own wants/needs and instead the whole company's requirements.
An analogy I use when looking at big business challenges is comparing changes to turning around a cruise ship. Just as a captain needs to turn a cruise ship to change its direction, businesses need to pivot to unlock potential, scale and improvement. It’s proven that painful software systems don’t only decrease business profitability but also reduce employee happiness by over 50%.
However, don’t read the stats and instantly jump to solution-finding mode. Turning a cruise ship takes careful planning and execution, just like finding the right solution for business challenges takes careful planning and execution.
Ideally, we’re catching business challenges early so that they are quick easy fixes (Like turning around a speed boat) but I understand that it’s sometimes too late to make quick fixes.
At Moonward, we focus on delivering a solution that doesn’t just solve today's problems but ideally our problems for the future. We also bring in the leads of each department to build our brain’s trust and cover the use cases across our design, development, Quality Assurance (QA) and delivery teams.
As we know by now, solving big business problems isn’t a quick process. At Moonward, we find that it’s crucial that you work with your brain’s trust to find a solution that lasts the test of time. At the end of the day in order to gain the support of management, clients, co-workers and team members, your solutions need to be robust with an eye on the future. Without this, you’ll crash and burn.
We recently went through the process of finding a software product to replace one of our legacy internal systems. Our first approach was to gather our brain’s trust and build a scope that catered to everyone's needs. Once we had this scope, each team member was given a week to bring an option to the table and present their ideas. We didn’t do this to find the smartest guy in the room, we did this to broaden our knowledge and leverage everyone's research to find the optimal solution. As I mentioned at the start, not all businesses are the same, so we weren’t able to find a perfect ‘off the shelf’ software solution to our challenge.
However, by leveraging our research and bringing our ideas to the table we soon identified all of the building blocks that would make the perfect solution to our challenge. This introduces the power of scalable custom software.
There is no doubt that the initial investment into an off-the-shelf software product is much lower than a custom solution. However, it’s important to ask the important questions:
- Will this truly solve the problem?
- Is this the best possible way of solving our problem?
- Is this solution robust enough to match our future needs?
- Will this software still be viable in 12, 18, 24 months time?
- Will this solve the needs of over 80% of my team?
- Does this fix the problem across all departments?
And if you answer no to any of these questions, it’s important to ask what the cost will be to roll out a short-term solution. Considering the training, staff onboarding, downtime, documentation and more. It’s proven that businesses can lose up 30% more in legacy or ill-fitting software compared to modern tech.
Put simply, custom software may not be the easiest, lowest upfront cost or quickest solution but it does offer powerful long-term benefits to your organisation. Not only will it solve your key challenge, but it’ll also join departments, boost culture, add value in the way of IP and buy back precious time.
At Moonward, we assist our business clients by evaluating their challenges and identifying possible solutions. If you think a custom software product could fit the mould, click here to schedule a time when we can chat more!
At Moonward, we assist our business clients by evaluating their challenges and identifying possible solutions.
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