Signs It’s Time for a Business Process Improvement Software Upgrade

Look for these red flags when deciding whether to invest in better business process improvement software.

It’s all too common for companies to become stuck with an outdated software solution. Whether it’s force of habit, budget constraints, or the lack of time to explore alternatives, you can’t shake the feeling that something has to give. And reliance on obsolete software can lead to serious consequences.

Recognizing the pivotal point is daunting. Switching software solutions requires an investment of time and money, and it’s wise to be cautious about making a significant change prematurely.

To assist you in this decision-making process, we’re presenting a comprehensive guide from the perspective of seasoned software developers. Here, we unveil a few unmistakable signs that indicate it’s time for a new software solution. Discover the red flags that should prompt you to take action and unlock your business’s full potential.

Your current software is dragging rather than streamlining.

Software is a business process optimization tool. We buy coffee machines to save time rather than using the traditional pour-over method. Likewise, we rely on cars, bicycles, and public transportation to cover distances because it’s faster than walking.

However, when your business process software becomes so clunky that it causes workflow inefficiencies, the hindrance factor outweighs the ease of use. It’s a clear indication that an upgrade is not just beneficial but necessary.

Time is the currency of business, and every minute spent grappling with an outdated system translates into lost revenue and missed opportunities.

It’s crucial to think of your software solution as a reliable companion that leverages automation and strong coding to do the work for you. Good software minimizes the need for significant manual input, allowing you to focus on essential tasks and strategic initiatives.

Inefficient systems don’t just waste time, they create hinderances to productivity and impede customer satisfaction. They restrict your ability to innovate, grow, and compete in a fast-paced marketplace. To unlock your business’s true potential, it’s time to consider an upgrade.

Why settle for clunky software when efficient, high-performing solutions are available?

There’s a specific problem your current software can’t solve.

Imagine running an e-commerce business with a software system that handles order processing and inventory management. However, you encounter a recurring challenge in your workflow.

Each time a new order arrives, you have to follow a three-step process: reviewing order details, updating inventory, and generating invoices. While the first and third steps are quick and efficient, the second step—updating inventory—proves to be a time bandit due to software limitations.

You just know there’s a way, with automated tools, to eliminate middle step altogether. And it would free up countless hours of time, making room for other projects. Your scheduling struggles would disappear entirely. It almost seems too good to be true!

And it is. As long as your current software solution doesn’t allow you to skip that second step, there’s no workaround, no alternative method. You’re stuck.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, it’s possible you’ve lost sight of what software is for—to make things better, not hold you back.

Your current “process improvement” software is hindering your growth.

Businesses want to grow. They want to see more sales, add new products, and hire more people. But growth isn’t just about getting bigger. It’s also about getting better.

Growth means improving how you work, coming up with new ideas, making your customers happier, and building a better place for employees to work. Your software should help with all these things. If it doesn’t, it’s time to take stock.

Think of software as extra brainpower for your business. Just as your office needs to get bigger when you hire more people, your software needs to grow with your business.

If your current software is a roadblock to your growth, it’s not just slowing you down—it’s holding you back. It’s a clear sign that it’s time to upgrade to something better.

Your current software doesn’t play well with others.

Many businesses use different types of software for different things. For example, a doctor’s office might use one program for patient records, another for scheduling appointments, one for emails, and another for insurance.

When these programs can talk to each other and share information, everything works smoothly. But it’s a big problem if one of the programs can’t connect with the others, especially if it’s an old one that’s not being updated anymore.

This can happen when the company that made the software stops updating it. And it means you have to do extra work to get systems to talk to each other. If this is happening to you, it’s a sure sign you need a new solution.

Just like a patient could suffer if their doctor’s programs don’t work together properly, your business and your customers could face significant problems if systems aren’t interacting efficiently.

You worry about safety and security.

Keeping data safe is a must for many businesses, especially in industries like healthcare and banking. If data leaks, it can harm a company’s reputation and cost a lot of money. Some old software systems can still keep data safe, but others struggle against new threats.

If you think your current process improvement software might not be secure enough, it could be time for an upgrade. There’s no room for mistakes when it comes to safety and security. If a data breach happens because your software is outdated, the fallout could be serious.

A clear example of this is the case of Target. Back in 2013, Target suffered a massive data breach when hackers broke into their system and stole credit card data from about 40 million customers. This breach was traced back to outdated security software, and the consequences were severe. Besides the legal issues and significant fines, Target’s reputation took a big hit.

This true story doesn’t just underline the importance of keeping your software up-to-date. It’s also a reminder that data breaches don’t just expose private information; they break the trust between a business and its customers. So, when you upgrade your software to a more secure system, you’re not just protecting your data; you’re protecting the relationships you’ve built with your customers.

It’s getting harder to teach new people to use your systems.

When someone starts a new job, they have to learn how the job’s systems and processes work. It may take days or weeks for them to get up to speed, depending on what the new person’s job is.

But, there comes a point when it’s just too hard to teach someone how to use an old system. It’s one thing to learn a new, complicated software system. It’s a whole other thing to have to learn a bunch of weird tricks just to make the system do basic stuff. Pay attention to these phrases (that sound like excuses) during training:

Okay, this may seem strange, but…

It’s supposed to work another way, but…

To make this feature work, you have to…

I know it seems confusing, but trust me, it works.

If you keep hearing these phrases, it might be time to think about getting new software.After all, wouldn’t it be better if your new hires spent more time learning how to add value to your business and improve customer service, rather than trying to decipher a convoluted system?”

Ready for a Better Business Software Experience?

Did any of these signs make you pause? If you’re starting to think that it’s time for an upgrade, don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

Harmonic is a leading software developer specializing in bespoke business solutions. We believe in understanding our clients’ needs thoroughly. When we sit down with you, we’ll explore:

The software systems you’re currently using.
The problems and limitations these systems pose.
The specific challenge you’re trying to overcome or the goal you’re trying to achieve.
Any unique needs, like stringent security measures or advanced integration with other software.

Armed with this understanding, we design a custom solution that ticks all your boxes and propels your business forward.

At Harmonic, our goal is to create software that empowers you to do business better, leaving you with more time to foster meaningful business relationships. If you’re ready to unlock your full potential with a software upgrade, we’re here to help.

Reach out to our team, and let’s start a conversation about how we can elevate your business processes today.

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Navigating the Custom Software Decision Jungle

What to think about before you make a custom software decision.

Assuming your business is at least moderately successful, the odds are good you’ve learned to navigate feelings of uncertainty. And uncertainty can certainly be an obstacle when you’re deciding whether to invest in a new solution. Because big software decisions often involve change and money, they can feel risky.

But fear not; we wrote this article to help you dispel the doubt by focusing on what you do know in order to traverse the treachorous terrain. We’ve got some key criteria to consider when hunting for the ideal software solution. We’ll cover everything from budget to business goals so you’re equipped to make a confident, successful decision.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you begin exploring your software solution options:

1. Resource reality check—know your constraints

Very few people will name “the budget” among their favorite conversation topics. In fact, it’s all too easy to postpone the conversation in favor of more exciting details. But an honest assessment of your budget and your resources is critical from the very beginning of the software solution decision process. Otherwise, you can spend weeks imagining your dream software solution, with all the bells and whistles—only to be disappointed when you realize you can’t afford it.

It also helps to understand your limits in other areas, such as timeline and technical expertise. When you understand and embrace these constraints, you can focus on finding creative and innovative solutions that suit your unique situation.

2. Features and functionality wish list

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want—or at least not everything you want. But if you know what’s most important to you, you can get pretty close.

Take some time to identify which software features and functions are most important to you. If necessary, make it a group effort, so everyone can advocate for what they need. And get clear on the difference between “necessary” and “nice to have.” You can use those lists to guide your decision-making and, if you hire a software developer, communicate your top priorities. When everyone knows what’s most important, you can find a solution that is realistic, practical, and effective.

3. A you-first user experience

Are you choosing a software solution that will affect your customers’ experience? It’s important to understand what your customers need from your software and how it will serve them. This is even more important when that software solution is customer-facing. A frustrating or difficult interface can reflect poorly on your organization.

Consider the situation from your customer’s perspective. Who are they? What’s important to them? What are they looking for when they come to you? How can you advocate for their needs, expectations, and experience when choosing a software solution? How can you go above and beyond for them?

While we’re on the topic of user experience, be sure to think about customer support, too. If one of your users, whether it’s an employee or a customer, runs into trouble with your software, who will help them? Do you need a solution with baked-in customer support? Or are you willing to hire a support person yourself?

4. The off-the-shelf software versus custom software conundrum

There are countless software options on the market, from free programs to expensive, high-tech solutions. There’s probably at least one off-the-shelf option that might do a “good enough” job. And if you’re working on a tight budget, you might decide you’re perfectly happy with that route.

This is where it helps to retake a look at your priorities. If an off-the-shelf software program checks all those boxes, then you’re in luck! But if you can’t find anything that meets your most critical needs, custom software may be a better option.

5. Embrace the unexpected adventure

Don’t assume that the path ahead of you is linear. In fact, be glad it isn’t! There’s probably a software solution or idea out there that you’ve never even considered. Be open-minded about your options, and think twice before shooting down unusual ideas. You may be surprised—and delighted—to discover that your best case scenario comes from an unexpected source.

This is especially true if you work with a custom software developer. Experienced software developers can make recommendations based on what they’ve learned from other projects. You may be able to borrow features and workflows from totally unrelated industries. And that cross-disciplinary experience may lead to excellent results.

The final frontier: Making the right choice

Finding the ideal software solution is no small feat, and the process can be anything but predictable. However, if you define your priorities and resources from the get-go, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and dead ends.

Stay focused on what’s most important, and be open to new possibilities. With the right mindset and a clear vision of your goals, you’ll eventually find the perfect software solution – or a developer whose expertise aligns with your vision.

Remember, navigating the software jungle can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to making a confident, successful decision that benefits your business, your team, and your customers.

In the end, the ultimate goal is to find a software solution that suits your unique needs, budget, and objectives. So, take a deep breath, embrace the journey, and may the software force be with you!

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Three perspectives on a people first software development culture.

People first software development businesses know their value proposal is about much more than code.

No matter what business you’re in, a half-baked approach to talent management and product development gets you nowhere.

This wisdom comes from a surprising source: software developers. Many people associate software development with banks of computers and line after line of code. But software exists to serve people. And great software development teams are built around an appreciation for people.

So if you want to truly stand out, think like a software developer: Put people at the center of everything you do.

Start with the customer perspective.

We’ve all had that awkward moment of repeatedly and fruitlessly pushing a door, only to be told, “Pull” This is called a Norman door: It’s a “pull” door that looks like a “push” door, or vice versa. According to design experts, you, as the user, aren’t the one who should be embarrassed for getting it wrong. It’s the designer’s fault.

After all, humans design doors for humans, and designers shouldn’t be creating simple products that people don’t readily understand how to use. Prioritizing aesthetics, for example, over functionality simply misses the point of a door.

This same principle applies to software—great developers know writing good code isn’t good enough. Having a basic understanding of basic human psychology is essential to developing killer software. A user-friendly interface is more important than the very best bells and whistles ever devised.

Never sacrifice the user experience in favor of virtual party tricks.

No matter what you’re creating, never forget who it’s for. If you don’t keep the human in mind, you’re going to end up with a product they can’t use.

Strike a balanced talent perspective.

It’s easy to understand the allure of recruiting fresh college grads. They’re young, eager to prove themselves, and know just enough to get started. Plus, they’re much cheaper—and arguably easier—to hire than experienced, senior-level employees.

In fact, most software developers have a deep bench of recent grads working for them. After all,
nearly 20% of software developers are under 25 years old. But relying too heavily on junior talent is unsustainable.

Leaders know they need a blend of experience, wisdom, and fresh energy to set themselves apart. Highly strategic, custom work that solves unique problems is the path to profitability. And it’s the kind of work that requires experience. So developers are mindful about developing senior experts for challenging projects and for development of juniors.

One of your most important strategic levers is to develop the optimal ratio of senior and junior

The happy employee/happy customer perspective.

This philosophy is simple: If you treat your employees well, they’ll treat customers well. As a result, your company will grow. Pro tip: it also happens to be the basis for an extraordinary marketing strategy.

Look no further than the world of kibble and catnip for the perfect case study. Chewy, the e-commerce pet supply giant, has a reputation for providing incredible customer service. It’s no coincidence that it’s also ranked #12 among big companies with the happiest employees.

Chewy treats its employees with respect and compassion, which motivates them to extend that same kindness to every customer. Their strategy has paid off: The company has seen dramatic growth since its inception in 2011.

Even with Chewy’s roaring success on the national stage, many leaders refuse to follow in their footsteps. There are plenty of companies who still use fear and draconian tactics to motivate their workers. It’s a sad reality for those beleaguered employees. And it gives you a clear shot at a competitive edge.

Create a people first software development culture

The best technology in the world won’t help produce happy, satisfied, motivated employees without the right company culture. Effective software development leadership places high priority on creating an environment where team members are encouraged to contribute ideas.

And a lackluster response to suggestions can quickly derail the brainstorming process.

Show them you’re always open to ideas. Forgive failure quickly and inspire their people to dust
themselves off and try again.

In this type of environment, employees don’t make choices based on fear or self preservation. They can bring their best selves to the table. The result is truly high-quality software—and highly satisfied customers.

No matter what business you’re in, you can emulate this same approach. Fearful employees will simply fly under the radar. Employees who feel trusted and respected soar higher than you could imagine.

Software excellence begins with excellent people.

At Harmonic, we understand that when a company hires us for a software development project it’s an act of trust. It means trusting us to prioritize needs, think about the client’s customers, and put our best people on the job.

We’re incredibly proud of the people working here. We put a lot of energy into hiring the best and creating a space where they can flourish. The result is excellent software that makes your life easier and helps you fulfill your mission.

If you’re looking for a people-centered software developer, look no further.

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