It is a fact that current market conditions require us more responsiveness as we face a global market and thus to a greater number of imports in both services and products, as well as foreign companies in markets they weren’t previously involved; moreover, our competitors are increasingly better prepared and with better capacity and understanding of their organisation and customers.
Faced with this problem organisations are looking to invest in different solutions, one of the most common are the information technologies, specifically applications in business management.
Sounds pretty logical to choose a system or app that offers the “Best Practices” in your industry. Using the same system as the main competitor in your sector might make you feel safe; and even more if you aspire to be like that company. However, I invite you to reflect on the following:
- If it is supposed to be a system specialised in your sector, should it adjust to each of your needs
- Do your current problems are the same as those of the reference company in your industry?
- Do your strengths are the same as those of this company?
- Are your needs equal?
- The system used by this company is really the solution?
Now I will describe the case of a company, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidence. An organisation seeks to strengthen and in order to be more competitive chooses the fashion system in the sector, without really reflecting on the 5 questions just listed. Then comes a technology company that enables them to use the system, fits what they need, and only if the company yields and decides to change the way they operate, in the best of the cases they will align to the “Best Practices” in the industry they participate. In consequence, and in the context of these processes, the company will operate as many other companies do, since they have chosen the same path in the same sector. Do they really achieve the expected improvement in competitiveness?
Or worse, what would have happened to this company if one or more of its competitive advantages had to be modified to align with the system or with the “Best Practices”?
It may sound exaggerated, but it’s actually more common than one would think. Briefly I’ll describe an example: One of the best practices for certain sector could be a number of authorizations in a purchasing process; it turns out that in practice, to this company, this implies a significant delay in operations that lead to changes in production scheduling or to emerging purchases, increasing the cost.
It seems that it’s illogical and that directors would not allow it because they are who lead the organisation; however, first new centres of power are generated and it seems that industry expects –that are paid for their knowledge- are likely to be right. Moreover, if something does not work, “surely must be fault of the company that hired the service, something must be doing wrong”; pool with the fact that a lot of money has been invested in the start-up and to much energy has been wasted… the company just want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and finish the project.
Maybe know it does not sound out of reality and you know companies that have had similar situations. In LOVIS we have learned that the first thing to do is understand the competitive advantages of our clients and then their areas of opportunity, which are not always the same and not necessarily “vertical”. Besides these, there are solutions that are “transversal”, which can solve problems of various sectors depending on the areas of responsibility that are involved. So that a problem that is peculiar to the “X” sector can be solved by a set of solutions that have been implemented in companies of the sectors “Y” and “Z”.
In addition, your competitive advantages should never be lost, but strengthened.
This is how we have developed with our clients the group of practices that suit them better, their Next Business Practices, that result in a better responsiveness to their customers, in more and better information for decision making, and that include a system that can easily be parameterised, understanding that needs can change through time.
When you face the decision to purchase a system, reflect on these points, they will give you clarity in the moment of the election and in its implementation.
And do you, follow the best practices or build your own Next Practices?