Nothing hits the spot like a midnight Macca’s Cheeseburger on the way home after a big night. Anywhere in the world, there’s no mystery, no surprise, just a munchies satisfying sugar and cholesterol spike, to soak-up your last jangling coins and over-indulgence. A great example of a simple promise, neatly packaged, and efficiently delivered. Not for everyone, and certainly not all of the time, but one that hits the spot.

In my world of software, satisfying the corporate hunger for effective technology solutions is much harder. I commenced my career in the mid-90’s when SAP presented the market with a neatly packaged Enterprise Resource Planning solution that not only eliminated the gaps between discrete functional systems but provided a low-risk answer to the pending Y2K COBOL catastrophe.

The race to ERP spawned massive growth in management consultancies, and in particular the practice of Change Management. In a nutshell, the role of Change Management consultants was to excite business users about the prospect of adopting a new set of ‘Best Practices’ processes, pre-packaged for global-scale roll-out but bearing little resemblance to their unique industry-specific business practices and requirements.

There were more than a few bucks spent and the result was, unsurprisingly, distinctly underwhelming. Too much spent, too little gained.

Fast forward to 2015 and Fiori. Yet another example of a pre-packaged generic interface using new technology to repeat the same mistakes of the 90’s. All businesses are not created equal. One size does not fit all. Low cost software supported by a battalion of ‘consultants’ is not cheap. Not in the direct upfront and ongoing costs, not in the cost of training and not in the opportunity cost of doing important things much better.

Put lipstick on a pig, and unfortunately all you have is a pretty pig. Transformational software solutions do things differently. They are not about the manufacturer, nor about the technology nor about the legions of consultants seeking a product to support. Transformational software is simply about the users and their needs at a specific point in time.

Technology can do anything, for a price. But not all technology creates equal Business Value. Beyond a core ERP platform, generic software solutions produce middling outcomes. The next wave of technology-delivered productivity will be all about people and collaboration. Valuable solutions will be easy to access by employees and by business partners, in the office and on the road, present both structured data and rich media, and intuitively address process requirements independently of back-end source applications.

It is this style of tailored, engaging and delightful solution that we are focussed on delivering at IQX Business Solutions. Interfaces that look like consumer apps. Highly flexible and collaborative workflow automation. Executive decision support tools with real world executive needs in mind.

Beware of the same-old pitch from SAP and other incumbents that try to feed everyone the same generic stuff again in a different wrapper. When it comes to your next software investment, look for real alternatives for your users, make sure their real-world needs are fully satisfied and that they get their anticipated bang for their buck.

by Richard Frykberg 

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