In today’s ever-evolving business climate, business leaders face an array of challenges while balancing budget constraints combined with the pressure to accelerate innovation.
This means well-thought-out technology strategies considering both short-term deployment goals and longer-term improvement in operations are more critical than ever.
According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), software spending in 2022 across Australia and New Zealand grew 12% year-over-year (YoY), reaching US$18.7 billion, demonstrating that software is a key focus for businesses in the region. The investment in researching and developing software applications can take many months or years leading to the ‘go-live’ day becoming a major event and relief for many of the team members. The post-implementation phase can often be undervalued, resulting in adoption challenges and limited expansion of the software solution to capture its full value and capability.
The pitfall of neglecting the post-implementation phase
While an organisation’s main objective may be to deploy a solution focused on meeting the existing ‘as is’ business requirements ‘on time’ and ‘within budget’, this approach only scratches the surface of the software’s true potential delivering the Minimally Viable Product (MVP), without considering whether MVP can make a positive business impact.
Employees may become frustrated if the software does not feel as though it helps or improves the way they operate, resulting in many workers not using it or partially using it when they must, thereby reducing the benefit of the investment. Return on investment (ROI) for most software solutions comes with time; the more it is used, the more benefit it will deliver so user adoption is critical to realising the planned benefits.
The good news is that consulting services from your software vendor or their partners can ensure the right features are unlocked and user adoption is maximised for your investment, amplifying the value in many ways:
1. By sharing tailored expertise
By working closely with a team of seasoned professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in configuring the deployed software, employees and IT teams will be able to determine the specific needs of each stakeholder and identify which of the software platform’s features and functionalities align with this unique set of business goals. They can guide stakeholders through the process of turning on and integrating each recommended feature within the tech stack and workflows. Depending on your service level agreement (SLA), they may even be able to execute that integration on your behalf.
2. By uncovering hidden gems in the software
The beauty of software is that innovation is always happening, and new updates are being pushed via new releases all the time. But given that new features and product enhancements are introduced often, it can be hard to keep up with what is available. As companies do not typically have a team member solely focused on one or two software applications, software provider’s consulting teams can help stay abreast of these changes and prompt the updates when necessary. With their in-depth knowledge of that solution, they can also highlight lesser-known features or “hidden gems” that may significantly impact operations, making it easier to streamline workflows, automate processes, and unlock new efficiencies that will save time, reduce costs, and boost productivity.
Recently, in one of Zebra’s Workforce Management (WFM) consulting sessions, two simple configuration changes to enhance the exception management journey for the retail customer’s store managers resulted in a time saving of approximately one hour per store per week. Considering that the retail client has 500 stores, that is 500 hours saved for the business per week. The impact of that one hour saved per store per week reverberated across the entire operation, positively impacting employees and customers.
3. By amplifying knowledge to build an effective in-house workforce
Good consulting services can instruct businesses and their employees on how to use specific features, but great consulting services go way beyond that. Instead, they aim to empower teams with a deep understanding of the software’s capabilities, enabling them to become self-sufficient problem solvers and innovators with time. Furthermore, by imparting their knowledge, consultants empower everyone in the organisation to harness the software’s full potential, not just IT teams or end users, helping foster a culture of continuous improvement and growth.
4. By being proactive about problem solving
Technology is ever evolving, and challenges may arise as businesses expand or adapt to new market trends. With ongoing consulting services, companies can have access to a reliable partner who can provide proactive support and problem-solving.
5. By helping leaders manage cost optimisation
It is no secret that inefficient software usage can result in wasted resources and unnecessary expenses. Constantly unlocking new value is a way to render software “useful,” and having a healthy return on investment (ROI). One of the main reasons why many organisations opt to procure consulting services is because these experts are highly skilled at recommending software optimisations that eliminate redundancies. They are also adept at fine-tuning processes and configurations, and identifying areas where a stakeholder may need additional training. By helping to ensure teams are deriving maximum value from their software, consulting teams are helping companies achieve a higher ROI, making ongoing consulting services a cost-effective choice in the long run.
Unlocking long-term success
Investing in ongoing consulting services can be considered a good investment in long-term success. By partnering with the Professional Services team from software suppliers, business leaders can leverage their consultants’ expertise, unearth hidden value through regular updates, and eliminate redundancies to amplify the impact of the software on business operations.
The innovations that companies invest in are only powerful if people use them to their full capacity.