Since January 1991 we have been listening to the challenges of the middle market community; a growing number of companies whose needs have advanced beyond the well-known, well-loved software that most of their team members have used for years and years; because they now need more functionality and their needs have become more complex.
Many told us they had four, five or more diverse programs, and that most of these programs were un-integrated. If your needs are different or you still have questions, please let me know and I will respond to you directly.
1. We hear from our clients every day how grateful they are to be able to work from home, but how different it is to do that for extended periods of time. Many companies are having to reconsider every piece of software that they use including the security that’s required to make everything happen remotely.
The good news is that digital technology has existed for some time, but the bad news is that most of everyone’s clients didn’t do it, LOL.
Now that companies realize they need to have their documents in digital format in order to work remotely, we are hearing that there is concern about adding and integrating digital components to existing entry level systems.
I kinda understand that, but if your current ERP or CRM systems meet your every need, then there really isn’t any reason to make any changes.
Clients tell us this simple test works for them:
First: if you could make three changes to your current systems, what would they be, and how much time, effort and money would those changes make
Second: if you can’t think of any changes, you’re fine where you are.
Third: if your changes won’t save you time, effort and money, you’re also fine; feel free to add a few digital upgrades to the system you already have.
- First Red Flag: knowing that my entry-level system supports the investment of digital technologies
2. Some clients have stayed with older technologies.
Some of their systems might be upgradable, some not. Some were written in languages that are no longer supported and may not run correctly on a newer server.
Some software programs aren’t being upgraded or supported, and all of these challenges mean that no additional investments in the existing technologies make any sense.
Clients often ask us why this happens, and simply put; technology is constantly evolving. The general public wants everything they have to do more and more, but for that to happen, things have to evolve.
If you can remember a time when there was no internet, you get it. Most millennials can remember a time when everyone on the planet didn’t have a cellphone, and that’s the same thing. Smart Phones made iPods and to some extent cameras obsolete.
Technology just keeps moving on, and that’s just as true of computers and servers.
- Second Red Flag: software that is older than 7 years might be upgradable, check for updates/ upgrades.
- Third Red Flag: software that was written in languages that are no longer supported: migrate to new software.
- Fourth Red Flag: software that is no longer being updated: migrate to a new software.
- Fifth Red Flag: if there are 3 or more things you need to change: consider migrating to a new software.
3. Clients tell us that once they have a clear understanding of whether or not their current system should be upgraded, they can proceed with their plans to add digital technologies; or migrate to a new software.
The top digital technology that clients everywhere are asking about is Document Management (DM), and that’s a pretty big field.
Once clients start thinking about DM they realize that they need to consider Customer Contracts, Receivables, Collections Management, Payables Automation, Human Resources, Payroll and Application Tracking just to name a few.
- Sixth Red Flag: understanding which of the digital technologies is most important.
- Seventh Red Flag: not having/ allocating enough disc space for digital storage.
- Eighth Red Flag: not standardizing scanners, ocr readers and other input devices.
- Ninth Red Flag: not choosing programs that integrate to their accounting program for easy retrieval.
4. Using Payables Automation as an example, clients decide if they are issuing a purchase order or receiving an invoice from their vendor, who approves the charges, who reviews the charges prior to processing and if there is a digital signature or not.
- Tenth Red Flag: not having written procedures on how documents are generated/ received, and a workflow in place to approve, review, and process them.
5. Using CRM as an additional example, clients have to decide if the software will be configured as a tool to a) capture leads and close business, b) support and retain existing customers, c) as a call center, d) as a field service and dispatch center or some combination of these and other support services.
Clients tell us that their greatest challenge is in visualizing exactly how they will use their new CRM system: they get caught up in all that it can do instead of deciding what they need it to do for them.
We hear that the following five challenges are the most important to them:
- Eleventh Red Flag: not having clear vision on what your company needs your CRM to do.
- Twelfth Red Flag: not having your team ‘own’ their CRM system.
- Thirteenth Red Flag: changing direction on how your company will use your CRM system.
- Fourteenth Red Flag: creating customizations when the functionality already exists.
- Fifteenth Red Flag: not integrating CRM to your ERP software.
Thanks for taking the time to review ‘The Top 15Flags Our Clients Share Regarding Updates to ERP and CRM’ but if there are additional questions you need to address, please let me know;
I’m here to help you Move Your Company Forward