The idea that you can have a single software application that does everything for your business is an elusive dream that you will never ever come true.
A Common Question
“As a business manager”, I want one software application that can do everything I need in my business.” This is the most common question I have been asked in my 15 year career of helping business owners and managers to implement information technology in their organisations. In business, there is little that is more frustrating than information technology that doesn’t do everything you need it to do. It can feel like you are spending more time getting the technology to work than you do using it to enhance your production or win new customers. It would be so much easier if there was just one integrated platform that I can use to manage my finances, my people, my operations, my marketing. Or so the story goes.
I’m sorry, but this is a dream. A fantasy. And it’s time to give it up.
WATCH: AGContext TV: Episode 1 – One Software Platform That Does Everything.
Being In Business Means Being Different
The reason why no software product can do it all comes does to a natural conflict of business models. As a business manager, it is your imperative to do things differently from your competitors. You need to differentiate yourself in some way, else you are the same-same, and all you have to compete on is price. And that is an unsustainable race to undercut your profits and send yourself out of business.
In other situations, the differences in your business are not of your creation. You have different access to people, skills and talent because of the industry you work. Or perhaps your geographic location means that you have to manage limitations and risks that your competition does not. Regardless of the cause, your business is by necessity, different from any other. It must be. Your ability to be successful in business, is driven by your ability to do things differently.
Software Is About Being The Same
The ability for a Software Company to be successfully however, depends on their ability to sell to exactly the same solution, to as many people as possible. Increased differences means increased costs. Software that tries to manage requirements across difference operational contexts, for example of finance, marketing, project management, become expensive in price and unfriendly in their user experience. In general, the more a software package can do across your business, the less value of money it tends to return. This is the nature of information technology and despite our knowing it, this has never been any different.
Conflict Creates Diversity
This natural conflict between the need for business-software users to be different, and the need for software producers to require users to be the same results in an ever increasing diversity in the software marketplaces. More products that do slightly different things, for slightly different customer. More and more platforms, promising ever greater things.
Consider Marketing Software, commonly referred to as MarTech. The Chief MarTech blog reports that there are almost 7000 applications available to assist businesses like yours to win more business. How many different kinds of sales funnels can there really be!
Another example is in the software niche for agricultural businesses, AgTech. The Mixing Bowl Hub blog reports around 220 different agriculture software products, for what appears to be broadacre farmers in the United States. This is a niche (agriculture) within a niche (broadacre farming) within in a niche (United States). And there are still well over 200 products to choose from!
No matter the category or segment that you look at, there are 1000s of apps, applications, and platforms signing for your attention.
The Potential of Combinations.
It is time to drop the search for “One Platform that Does Everything”. That has never existed (despite what software sales people might want you to believe) and it will never happen. We need instead, to focus on implementing the right combinations of software to best-fit our specific and personalized business requirements.
No one app, application or platform will solve all of your business needs. That is achieved through your ability to find, implement and get the most out of, the right combinations of software best-fit for your individual circumstances.