September 1, 2022

PREDICTION: Companies that Depend on Cookie Cutter Business Software Could End Up Getting Their Just Desserts

Cookie Cutter

Do you think your business and industry are unique? Are some operations, systems, and technology needs native to your company? Then why would you believe, hope, and settle for a software solution that sees your business as no different than thousands of others?
That’s the danger of relying on a cookie-cutter approach from today’s software vendors and companies. Their reason for being appeals to general business use because their market encompasses so many different types of businesses.

But right now, with as many changes and upheaval occurring in the business sector, don’t you need to give your company every opportunity to gain a lasting competitive edge?

The right technology and software systems deliver vital insights and intelligence to help you make decisions faster, more reliably, and with an inherent trust that the data is correct. (And not prone to errors due to manual manipulation just to format and output the reporting data you ultimately need regularly.)

So, what are your options moving forward? Custom reports from the existing software system aren’t budget-feasible. (And there’s a lot at stake because the wrong choices could send your company backward.)

Why a Generic One Size Fits All Software isn’t Up to the Job

How can you know for sure? The software may be missing one or more of the following two levels of specificity. Maybe it’s not industry specific. Or perhaps it’s not specific to your operation and overall needs.

Now, depending on your vertical, industry-specific software may be available. Yet, in our experience, often a significant investment is required, and the business uses only a fraction of the software’s full capability. And, of course, the learning curve to learn, adapt, and generate the reports needed to run the business effectively requires an investment in staff time and attention.

The warning signs you’re making do with a mediocre software solution

Does any of this sound familiar? Reports from existing software don’t provide data in the most valuable and beneficial format. (They’re already pre-defined.) If you use multiple types of software, how efficiently do they capture the correct information, pull it together and output a report?

Likely, what is needed most doesn’t currently exist, an integrated mix of 2-3 reports. You need data from multiple sources but put it into one final piece that is usable and saves time when running reports.

However, there are inefficiencies in your current structure: you end up running multiple reports from existing software and then tweaking the data to get the desired outcome. This process is not time-efficient and prone to errors (due to manual manipulation of the data.)

Can you create your own reports with some software products? Yes. If it’s easy to do and save, generating reports won’t be an issue. We’ve seen the opposite, where each time a report is needed, a 15-step process kicks in.

Or maybe you don’t even have the option to run your own reports. That leaves you back at square one, running more reports, taking more time, and manipulating data along the way with possible errors inherent in that process.

Use Case: Software that Didn’t Meet Multiple Department Needs

Your business doesn’t run in individual silos. It’s an integrated enterprise with multiple departments needing critical data in a time-sensitive fashion. For example, In this use case instance, a company required reports for the business owner and the accounting departments.

The company relied on one piece of software to deliver all this. Only one report was available from the sales system that was useful to the business owner. The accounting department needed different information than the business owner did. Due to a lack of appealing options, the owner manipulated the data into two different reports.

Internet multimedia concept with all gadget and computers connected to each other

This manipulation proved problematic. Parts of the report were in one format (for accounting); still, other parts were needed for the owner’s analysis. Data overlapped, and the format for each was very different.

As a result, the owner spent hours every Monday manipulating the data manually. And even then, the accuracy or validity of the data couldn’t be guaranteed.

Fortunately, there is a better way …

The Solution: More Reliable Data in Minutes, Not Hours

Barnes Business Solutions engineered a Microsoft Excel template-based system. Now the reports are run automatically and are push-button easy. Within five minutes, the data was ready. More time is invested in running the business and not finagling the data and reports weekly.

Can you see how and why this gave the business and the owner a better tool, a better process, a better system, and, not surprisingly, a quick return on ROI. The company saw a return on its investment in this new software system in just three short months.

The Benefits of a New Software System that Passes the Eye Test

Let’s consider where you are now as a starting point. An SAP system is an appropriate example. It’s well-known and widely used. The standard “cookie cutter” reports are available. (Even though your business is anything but cookie cutter.) Some of the existing report options may fit your needs.

Unfortunately, popular, generic software platforms often miss the critical filters you need and the ability to generate a combination of reports. Obtaining the data you need is usually not a problem, but doing so quickly sometimes is. And trying to get a custom report developed is quite costly.

Now, let’s pivot to a new software system and the promise it holds for your business.
First, the data is accurate. Second, the data display can go beyond text to include visual content like charts, graphs, and images. Third, you get what you need when you need it – fast. When you consider all that, you realize your next and best option …

The Best of All Worlds (Software-wise) is Within Reach

You’ve discovered that a cookie-cutter approach is excellent if you’re making gingerbread men. Otherwise, you need a more flexible solution to your software and technology needs.

You need software that optimizes your time and helps crystalize your decision-making. And the data MUST be accurate because errors can leak in from manual manipulation.

Good news: the solution is closer than you think in implementation and cost.

At Barnes Business Solutions, we work with companies just like yours. We understand how technology can either help or hinder your business. That’s why we provide technology solutions that help you make the most of it on time and within budget.

To discover how Barnes Business Solutions can optimize your technology and business operations, Download our Action Guide here.

Want to find out more and have questions? Reach out to Maria Barnes and send her a message here.