Any B2B Software is only as Good as Its Users

Working in Product Management for a software is/was the best job I could have ever had, and Thanks to Subex for the tremendous opportunity it had provided me with. RA, FM, CRM, Mobile Money or now GRC (the new domain I am in) et al have a great set of  software tools, which hardly differ in capability, from a great set of reputed vendors who compete among themselves for providing the best of breed solutions for their customers. But… here is the question/situation:

Over time I have seen that these B2B software can be best utilized only when the users completely realize and fully understand what they truly want to achieve with ‘automation’ which is the key underlying capability of most of these solutions.  However that is rarely the case. Most of the software tools are thought to be magic wands that would solve problems just as Harry Potter would create magic with his wand. Everyone says “YES” to the thought ‘Software is Only As Good as Its Users‘ but how many truly implement the concept to the fullest. This is where ROI of the software comes in and there are a great many correct ways in determining the ROI. But I am not sure how much of those are truly used. A number of software providers provide options to sit with their customers and help them make best use of the tool through Customer Advocacy programs; but just because of the tinsy bit of cost associated with it, a lot of enterprises do shrug  away from doing so.

In one of my very recent experiences, I was discussing a potential opportunity for implementation of a GRC system, and in order to understand the business requirements, I had started off with a few probing questions. It was not much of a surprise that I found out, that somewhere deep in the “heart” the expectation was that of a Magic software that would work by itself and get everything done.

Somewhere, someone needs to do the soul-sucking drudgery of populating the system with actual data especially if its a eGRC system, understanding and working out the true business rules required for the business, nail down the “correct” requirements without going into ‘information/data overload’; somebody has to DO all that work, not merely talk about doing that work. Someone has to figure out who is going to ‘bell the cat’ and then make sure they have the time and resources to do it correctly.

So let me ask you three questions:

  1. Do you agree to this problem? If yes, what do you think is/are the biggest impediment/s in full utilization of the software/s at your organization for which millions may have been spent?
  2. How much of the features and functions evaluated during RFPs finally end up getting used?
  3. How much of the work is still done in spreadsheets and offline inspite of the ‘magic’ software that has been bought? Why do you think this is happening?

 

Moinak Banerjee
Moinak works at Protiviti Kuwait, as Product Lead for their Risk Technology Services. Over the years, he has worked in product management for several leading vendors of telecom OSS/BSS software.