Why Enterpise Software is not the way

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We believe lighter, faster and easier is …. better! Despite this common sense approach, too many companies invest in expensive “enterprise” software that they think will solve their problems, they won’t. In fact, these software packages ranging in price from 10 000 $ to over a million dollars usually cause more headaches than they relieve. For one, these large pieces of software try to do too much, making them bad at many things instead of good at one thing. The software salesman, who works on commission, will promise you the moon to get you to sign on the dotted line. These companies resemble a used car salesman more than an engineering firm, there is no sense of quality over quantity.

Large amounts of functionality sound nice on paper, but fail miserable in practice. A good criticism is found in an article called If It Looks Like a Cow, Swims Like a Dolphin and Quacks Like a Duck, It Must Be Enterprise Software. The title says it all. Yet another article on why enterprise software fails, Why does enterprise software suck?

Ultimately it boils down to this: Who is making the purchasing decision? In general and with the exception of gifts, the purchaser of a product is usually the end user, not so with enterprise software. Too often, top level managers decide on software packages, pushed by sales reps, that they are going to impose on thousands of people without their consent. Since someone who does not use a product cannot adequately evaluate it, the managers abstract it to a list of items. But a software is not a list of items any more than a car is. Do walk into a car dealership and say, “I want a motor, a driving wheel, 4 tires, 2 doors…”? No, you want a reliable, affordable, working vehicle. How many gifts have you received that did not meet your expectations? Now, what if we told you that you have to wear the sweater your grandmother got you, everyday, forever, regardless of your taste. That is how the enterprise software business works.

The emerging field of Software as a Service (SaaS), of which we are part, flips the issue on its head. This industry offers very low cost entry points with monthly fees, no contract and an ability to extract your data. If you sign with an enterprise software and don’t like it, you are out tens of thousands of dollars, months of time and your information is in a proprietary format. With Software as a Service, you can get in and out with nearly no cost, no headaches and all your data intact. A recent article I stumbled across outlines why software as a service has a much higher return on investment for the client.

Hopefully this post outlines some of the problems with enterprise software and the interesting solutions Software as a Service offer.We believe lighter, faster and easier is …. better! Despite this common sense, too many companies invest in expensive “enterprise” software that they think will solve their problems, they won’t. For one, these large pieces of software try to do too much, making them bad at many things instead of good at one thing. The salesman, will promise the moon to get you to sign on the dotted line. These companies are no more than used car salesman, there is no sense of quality over quantity.

Large amounts of functionality sound nice on paper, but fail miserable in practice. A good criticism is found in an article called If It Looks Like a Cow, Swims Like a Dolphin and Quacks Like a Duck, It Must Be Enterprise Software. The title says it all.

Ultimately it boils down to this: Who is making the purchasing decision? With most products, the person who buys something is the person who is going to use it (with the exception of presents). Not with enterprise software, too often, top level managers decide on software packages – pushed by sales reps – that they are going to impose on thousands of people, without their consent.

The emerging field of Software as a Service (SaaS), of which we are part, flips the issue on its head. This industry offers very low entry points with monthly fees, no contract and an ability to extract your data. If you sign with an enterprise software and don’t like it, you are out tens of thousands of dollars, months of time and your information is difficult to extricate. With Software as a Service, you can get in and out with nearly no cost, no headaches and all your data intact. A recent article I stumbled across outlines why software as a service has a much higher return on investment for the client.

Hopefully this post outlines some of the problems with enterprise software and the interesting solutions Software as a Service offer.