There are so many options – for everything. Whether you need a car, toothpaste, phone, or even a software solution, but researching and evaluating the array of options for anything can be daunting.
When searching for a product or service that drives organic revenue growth for your business, knowledge, experience, battle-tested technology, and solving for the human equation should be part of the solution. Running your business on chance or hope should be avoided and could be a recipe for disaster. However, identifying the business problem, and having a keen understanding of the difference between a vendor and a partner is essential when searching for a product or service. This will determine the scope of the problem and process, and will provide a goal for the decision/solution. Answering the following questions can help eliminate the unknowns that your company may be facing:
- What is the goal and the problem to be solved?
- What are the risks and if we don’t solve this problem, and will we continue to lose revenue?
- When do we need a decision made?
- How much are we willing to invest in the decision-making process?
- How much are we willing to invest in the solution?
- How sustainable is the solution?
Some of the above questions you internalize and will resolve without thinking, and some you will require a trusted partner to help solve. Consider the difference between selecting a new toothpaste and buying a house. Toothpaste costs a few dollars and the effort to decide is simple enough that repeating it for a bad choice isn’t laborious. The decision process is quick. However, buying a house is very different; it is lengthy and often tedious, because research is required, which typically prevents an impetuous decision. Contrasting the likely outcomes of an ill-considered choice, it is easy to see that the downside of a wrong toothpaste choice is a taste or texture you don’t like and the loss of a few dollars. The ill-effects of an imprudent house choice could be anything from roof and appliance repairs to foundation problems. The cost to repair, or cost to sell and start over is significant in time, money and opportunity. This example illustrates why the cost to redo the process should be considered when setting the context for the decision-making process.
Software solutions have both functional (feature functionality) and non-functional (availability, scalability, security) requirements that must be considered and therefore a software business partner is preferred over a software vendor. A software vendor provides a product and service contract. A software business partner provides not only the battle-tested technology, but collaborates with the client to test, iterate, and define the problem. In addition, the business partner also has the user in mind, solving for the human equation, and providing support through expertise long after the initial solution is delivered.
Making the right business decision can be difficult, but identifying the business problem first, answering the unknowns that are holding you back, and selecting the right partner to solve your business problem can help you increase revenue without increasing risk.