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Software Should Be Creative

Software can transform a business

We spend a lot of time talking to business managers about how their operations run. The perspective that we commonly face is one of "this is how we do it; we are looking for software to do it better." But from a business perspective, that is the wrong approach.

First, the pain of software adoption is significant, and relatively insensitive to scope of change involved. Whether your software project is small or extensive, employees are going to be unhappy about it for anywhere between a couple of weeks and several months. But with all change, people eventually adjust and move on, and pretty soon what was so traumatic becomes the new standard.

Second, the opportunity to get creative and completely re-engineer how your business works is priceless and rare. Software projects are exactly that opportunity. The business value to be gained from rebuilding your processes from the ground up can be significant. What's more, re-engineering is the type of endeavor that happens in iterations; and therefore the sooner you start to think outside the box, the sooner you can get to the more advanced iterations that bring real business value.

Here's an example: We have a customer that relies on dispatching agents into the field at scheduled times, who then report back important information. Those agents need to set up profile information about themselves so they can receive work. The work involves being at key locations in a timely fashion and performing activities. In the first iteration, the business owner thought to give them Web pages to upload their profile information, and e-mails to notify them of scheduled activities. The rest of the process of verifying the profile information, standing on top of them to get their documents submitted, and making sure they attended their events and performed their activities in a timely fashion was all manual.

In the second iteration, the business owner realized the computer could automatically detect missing profile information and stay on top of the employee to provide it. They further realized they could rely on text messaging to automatically validate the employee's performance of activities at the scheduled times, relying on manual processes just to deal with exceptions.

The resulting productivity gain for this business was enormous. It never could have happened without the desire to think creatively about how to re-engineer the business process from the ground up.

Take advantage of software projects to realize significant business value, think outside the box and don't listen to anyone who is telling you something has to be a certain way because "that's how it's always been done."

 

This article was originally posted on the Gadget Cube - Central Penn Business Journal.

More Stories By Treff LaPlante

Treff LaPlante has been involved with technology for nearly 20 years. At WorkXpress, he passionately drives the vision of making customized enterprise software easy, fast, and affordable.

Prior to joining WorkXpress, Treff was director of operations for eBay's HomesDirect. While there, he created strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies and national broker networks and began his foray into the development of flexible workflow software technologies. He served on the management team that sold HomesDirect to eBay.

During his time at Vivendi-Universal Interactive, Treff was director of strategy. In addition to M&A activities, Treff broadly applied quantitative management principles to sales, marketing, and product line functions. Treff served as the point person for the management team that sold Cendant Software to Vivendi-Universal. Earlier positions included product management and national sales trainer for Energy Design Systems, an engineering software company. Treff began his professional career as a metals trader for Randall Trading Corp, a commodities firm that specialized in bartering and transporting various metals and coal from the then-dissolving Soviet Union.

Treff received his MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. http://www.workxpress.com

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