When we buy a new car or truck, there are certain things we look for. Most of us have specific items that we consider “must haves.” For some, it’s 4 wheel drive, or a sunroof, or 3 rows of seats. For others, it’s navigation, or a luggage rack, or leather seats. We seem to take comforts such as air conditioning or conveniences such as power windows and doors for granted these days. It would seem silly to ask the car salesman “Does it come with air conditioning?” while we’re test driving, wouldn’t it? And nowadays so many features on a car are sold as packages – in order to get what you want you have to pay for a whole bunch of features that aren’t really that important to you. We’ve had leather seats in both of the mini-vans we’ve driven, because they came with the package we wanted. Leather seats, with small children?

Decisions about software, in some ways, can be like buying a car. We enter the conversation with an idea of what we want, hopefully based on what we actually need. And then we are presented with a software package that seems to be what we want, but is often not what we need. We get a lot of features that we like, some even bring some benefit to our operations. But after a while, we begin to realize that we are still lacking the core functionality that we were looking for.

For example, CRM’s are known for being very broad in their functionality but not very deep in any specific area outside of managing a sales process. So many times we implement a CRM because it’s a database that seems to track most of the information we need. And then we realize it doesn’t have the functionality to manage our workflow. And so we either abandon it completely, or we spend a lot of money customizing it to get closer to what we need, or we use it for the things it’s best at and use the way-we-used-to-do-it for our specialized needs. Because of the cost, the effort, and the resources necessary to implement most CRM’s, especially if any customization was necessary, it often seems impossible or even irresponsible to consider replacing the CRM with that better matches your needs.

Can you afford to not have the right technology to manage your business?