We all like to think of software as something that will universally help your organisation achieve its goals. Luckily, most of the time this is true. However, over our years of experience curating, customising and creating software, we’ve seen more than a few examples of bad software that significantly hinders its organisation’s success. Below we’ve collected the top five traits of software that holds back businesses.
Good: Your staff spend most of the time getting productive work done, not fighting with software.
Bad: Your sales staff spend five minutes on a call with a customer, then fifteen minutes entering data into clunky customer relationship management software (a CRM). This could be because of a poor user experience, or that it hasn’t been suitably customised to track the right data. All CRMs need some customisation (usually only a little) to make them work right for you.
Good: All the software your business uses is automatically connected, and data flows freely as you need it to.
Bad: There’s no direct, automated link between two pieces of software your business uses (say, your service delivery or billing platform, and your accounting system), meaning you have to export the data from the first, wrangle it in Excel, then import it into the second. Or even worse – manually copy and pasting fields of data from one to the other!
There are so many ways this hinders your business:
- The lost time to all that work in Excel. I’ve seen organisations where this takes hours per week.
- If you forget to do it one week, suddenly you begin missing data.
- Copy and paste mistakes mean that the data might get there, but it’s wrong and nobody notices.
Good: The software you use is willingly paid for as it generates a measurable return on investment for your business.
Bad: You’re trapped into using a piece of software and feel like you can’t escape it, paying for it month after month despite not really wanting or needing it anymore.
Good: None of your employees has difficulty using the software your business uses, regardless of their physical abilities.
Bad: The ergonomic design of the software is terrible and causes physical pain. This could be from intense mouse clicking and dragging (in good software these things are a keyboard shortcut) or that there is so much unstructured data you need three monitors just to view it all. We’ve seen this most commonly with in-house software developed decades ago and not updated at all for modern platforms.
Good: Regardless of computer experience, the software is quick and easy to use.
Bad: The user experience is so bad your employees avoid using the software, meaning that things that should happen don’t, or happen with a delay when they can be finally convinced to use them. A really common example of this is time tracking software. I’ve seen time tracking tools where starting and stopping a timer can take a whole minute, sometimes longer than the task which is being tracked! Good software has this timer overhead down to a few seconds. The end result? You’re billing far fewer hours than you ought, simply because it’s not being tracked.
Do you want software to help, rather than hinder your business?
There are three key steps to avoiding poorly designed software in your business:
- Taking an audit of your current processes and software packages. Where are you now?
- Dreaming and designing the future. Where do you want to go? What would ‘good’ look like?
- Curating, customising or creating the software you need for your business.
If you’d like help removing the bad software from your business and replacing it with the good, get in touch – it’s our speciality!