“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to your customer relationship management application programs

Much of today’s small business for profit and not-for-profit application software was written over a decade ago. The million dollar question is: Are these applications still worth running ? Considering all of the technology innovation that has occurred since then, can we expect an application designed and built with yesterday’s technology for yesterday’s business world to fit today’s?

The answer is no.
“If it aint broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to your small business application programs. Your application is like a good race horse, you run it until it can’t race anymore and then you retire it. You don’t try to patch it up.

The contact management sector is a prime example of this.  Thousands of small to mid-size businesses are still operating old versions of desktop programs such as ACT, Goldmine and Maximizer that are no longer meeting changing business requirements, but because they aint broke, they don’t get replaced.  As a result of this, these mid-size businesses are not taking advantage of newer web based CRM programs that are helping businesses become more effective marketing, sales and service organizations.

The great applications replace is upon us and we can’t fight it any longer but how do you go about deciding which applications to replace? See my list below.

• If it was built over a decade ago, no matter by whom, it is a prime candidate for replacement.
• If the underlying business requirements have changed significantly since the application was developed, you can be certain that it is not performing optimally.
• If the application was written to run natively on a mainframe, a midrange or even a personal computer, it’s on the list.
• If the application has a pure character interface and all of the reports are in text, it’s a candidate.
• If the application does not grant web-based access to staff or members, it needs immediate attention.  Some things to beware of:

If the application does not fit the business requirements then you have to go back to the drawing board. To do this properly, presupposes that you thoroughly understand how your business functions.

The good news about replacing older applications is that there is a large number of providers to choose from.  In the CRM sector for example products such as Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce.com and Commence CRM from Commence Corporation are excellent choices for managing customer interaction and improving sales execution and customer service.

About the author:  Jim Smith is the CEO of YChange International, a consulting firm that provides marketing and consulting services to small businesses. Smith has more than 30 years of experience in the field and has held executive level positions with several Fortune 100 software firms.  He is an accomplished author of numerous white papers on the subject of marketing and business development. Additional information may be found at http://www.ychange.com

Photo Credit: by Barbarossa source Wikimedia license GFDL from acobox.com

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