Mark went on to elaborate:
- Why do some companies invest successfully in technologies that truly help solve their core business issues, while others miss the mark so wildly?
- And, how can two companies—often in the same line of business and facing the same challenges—vary so dramatically in terms of the benefit they derive from the same piece of software?
The reality is that companies who begin their software selection without focused attention on process evaluation generally don’t end up making the best possible software decision. The reason why is actually fairly basic; they’re simply not looking for the right thing. The old saw is that repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Companies expecting improvement while sourcing a solution to support the status quo, unfortunately, meet the same definition.
Additionally, if your business doesn’t seriously evaluate existing processes, you’re unlikely to effectively leverage your software—even if you do stumble on a good fit. Automation features, new workflows, improved approvals control, and advanced reporting capabilities are all great— but they require the willingness to invest the time in understanding a new way of going about things in order to deliver benefits.
Interestingly, modern neuroscience asserts that it is, in fact, our old unexamined habits which are often responsible for obstructing optimization:
Source: NPR, “Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them”
The act of evaluating software can initiate the opposite effect. A software purchase isn’t just an opportunity to increase technical capabilities. It’s also a disruption to our routine. If we allow it to, it can present the opportunity to seek out true process improvement, while providing a system for effecting the changes we identify as beneficial.
Understanding the subtle difference between processes and habits—and even what neuroscience says on the subject—is nice. But real value comes from translating the idea into action. Applying these concepts to software evaluation provides the opportunity.
How do you transform a long-held, potentially limiting habit into an optimized process? It begins with active analysis. Leverage your software purchase as an opportunity to seek out improvement; start with a self-check where you critically answer the following questions:
- What’s driven your interest in thinking about changing software? Is it an upcoming support contract termination or a similarly external factor? Or, are you responding to the recognition of a need to improve how things are done?
- Have you modeled your processes to look for opportunities to improve?
- Users generally don’t want to be viewed as complainers. Have you given them permission to identify broken processes and bad habits that need updating?
- Are you working with vendors to get their take on areas to improve which you may have missed or are you just seeking out a match for a pre-established set of features?
- Are you seeking out software that will allow you the flexibility to adapt processes and continually improve, or will your options lock you into bad habits?