Software Decisions: The One-Stop-Shop vs The Specialty Retailer24 Apr 2018
Getting new software for your business can be challenging, do you go with something very targeted at a single business need or something that will cover all of your business, including addressing that specific need? It’s a tough question…
Our MD weighs up the pros and cons of each in his latest article for Business Direction.
When you’re looking at apps for your business, there is an argument for both.
With a specialty app, you get a depth of functionality and that industry (or process) expertise. Which is great. It’s often hard to get a single product that has the depth of functionality available from ‘best of breed’ applications that might be available.
Going with a single app with integrated functionality, of course, gives you less specialisation, but you’ve only got to train people on one piece of software and there is less confusion over “where” any particular bit of information is stored.
In my experience (speaking as someone who has been selling integrated software solutions for longer than I care to admit), SME’s in particular often struggle to be able to find the time to understand, integrate and afford many separate applications.
In addition to the issue of training users on multiple applications, there is the added pressure on time and resources, upkeep of multiple systems, and the internal knowledge or software/hardware required to plumb these solutions together.
So even though the theory of a singular, specialised solution with multiple applications sounds appealing, it is often not translated into the reality within the business.
Saying all that, though, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that going for a “one-stop-shop” application is settling for something as a way to save money.
A proper single, integrated solution, especially in this day and age, is often the preferred solution for the business owner. Yes you might not get that specialisation, but other benefits can far outweigh that individual draw back.
A single application is easier to manage, that’s the obvious one. You’ve got joined up writing and terminology when you move from one part of your business to another. It keeps the context of data and information, after all, it’s all there in the same place.
This allows you to make better use of the knowledge you gain.
The Whole Customer Journey
Being able to see all of the interactions you have with your customer, from the first enquiry through the sales cycle and acquisition phase, in one place is great for the team on the ground. But it is also a great way for the Management to get deep insights into the ongoing relationship…and pinpoint trouble spots so you can zero in and fix them.
These days it’s hard to find a system that doesn’t integrate with other applications and that’s especially true for the bigger software out there. It’s good to integrate sometimes, so yes you need a system that has the capability to reach out into other systems when needed. Industry specific applications may be mandatory but also complex, so consolidating this information into a central touchpoint system makes the data available to a wider audience.
GDPR easier to manage
It would seem you can’t have an article nowadays without mentioning GDPR.
But I’m not just mentioning it for the buzz word. Having a single, auditable system makes the process of managing the data and compliance so much easier. You know where everything is and you can find (and correct) the data that needs the attention.
Using the right tool for the job is really important
Regardless of whether you want specialist software for your business or a single integrated solution, the most important thing is that you get the right tool for the job.
The first steps when you start your search is to map out what you ‘really’ need. Be clear about the ‘would likes’ as well, though. That will help you find the system(s) that will grow with your business, expanding into new departments and processes without financial or user stresses.