When should you consider changing your wine business management software?
Your software will no longer be supported within the next 2-3 years nor will be developed.
Practically speaking, this means that you’ll be working with outdated functionality that will be patched up to meet standard service level agreements but not much else besides.
In addition, your system might no longer be afforded the full gamut of security measures, opening up the possibility of a heightened risk to your business because patches aren’t rigorously tested, or because costly penetration testing is no longer carried out.
As and when your software approaches its “end-of-life”, you need to move on as soon as possible to ensure your business isn’t constrained or threatened.
Your software is not keeping pace with the market and is not allowing you to capitalise on opportunities.
Here your software is not at the end of its life, however it’s come to a point where it is not giving you the opportunity to grow. It doesn’t mean that you can’t keep using it, but for the sake of your business you are ready to accept that it is no longer suitable for you and that it is just not keeping pace with what you’re trying to achieve.
It could mean that innovations or business development initiatives that you have in mind are unsupported. Never has that scenario been truer. Covid has accelerated digital transformation. Winners have doubled their turnover. Losers have at best trodden water.
In this case, too, you are taking a business risk. You are missing the opportunity to grow, falling behind business investors and innovators, impacting customer perceptions, falling short on operating as efficiently as possible. Which means falling short of delivering a strong and consistent customer service. Customer eXperience (CX) depends upon operational excellence. The latter might sound like a buzzword, but how the customer perceives you, matters.
So what to do now that you realise that you need something else?
Be deliberate. Don’t leave it until it’s too late to plan. It will give you time to think about what you really need, and to see what works best for you. And more importantly it will give you time to assess the cost of migrating and to prepare carefully.
- Make a list of your business needs: what do you do on a daily basis, what is time-consuming, what works for you on your current system, what doesn’t and what is missing.
- What are the parts of the business that you would like to see grow. Make sure you consult your team in the process if you’re not going to be the only user!
- What are the activities you would like to do, but which feel out of reach? Initiatives that appear challenging from the perspective of the status quo are often made straightforward and don’t require significant resources with the right system.
- What does a return on investment look like based on being able to achieve some or all of the things you have in mind?
- Start your research: have a look around, see what is out there, if possible ask your industry peers what software they use and what they think about it. One good question to ask yourself is whether the solutions you are looking at are specific to your industry (this makes a huge difference in the case of the independent wine sector).
- Once you’ve established the shortlist, request a demo. Make sure you have the list of all functionalities that you need, are clear about your business goals and your time frame. Make sure you also fully understand the migration process, what’s really needed and what’s not essential, and how much assistance you will get from the software provider.
- So here comes decision time. If you’re not going to be the primary user of this software, make sure you involve your team in the decision. Even though you are the one who may make the final call, the efficiency of your company will depend on the adoption of new business software by its most important assets – your people.
It can be a bit daunting to say goodbye to software that you’ve been using for years. You are more than aware of its shortcomings, but still, you’ve constructed work-arounds, familiar tasks (however elaborated they may be), and fear change. That’s understandable, yet, whether it is close to its “end-of-life” or it is no longer adapted to your needs, making do is no substitute for prioritising systematic business improvement, top-line and bottom-line growth, and making your business more efficient. That’s how you win back valuable time. Time that can be used productively, creatively. To build a business that your customers are as passionate about as you are.
The Hub is an affordable, future-proofed, cloud based software as a service solution, with easy, low-cost migration and set up. It’s an industry-specific, proven, platform that reduces administration and frees up time to focus on your customers. It connects you to your sources of supply and orchestrates marketing and sales channels to market. It allows you to broaden your appeal, reach more of your addressable market, and enables you to capitalise on market opportunities.