Flexible. The most overused word in the technology marketing rolodex.
This is unsurprising but when you head onto Google and search using ‘flexible’ in the search term, you quickly realise that every single solution out there is ‘flexible’. This can be incredibly frustrating.
That said, it isn’t necessarily wrong for it to be used by so many marketing departments. After all, these things are all relative and it can often come down to perspective.
One thing to watch out for though is the vendors that will sell a solution to organisations then spend the first week after the contract has been signed doing everything they possibly can to persuade a company that the biggest issue at play is the internal processes and what they actually need to do is align with the vendors ‘best practice’ processes.
This is all good and well until you realise that ‘best practice’ can so easily be misused.
Your processes may in fact be poorly organised, this isn’t unusual, as a company evolves it’s hard to make sure everything is aligned. Especially if you don’t have centralised control. And yet, you know your company’s needs better than a vendor, however experienced they are.
So before I go off on a tangent about the ridiculous marketing speak phrase that is ‘best practice’ let’s return to the main subject of this blog.
Trust your own experience and ability to define your processes going forward. The technology you opt for should support your refined process map.
With that in mind, whatever the solution you are implementing, it really is important to make sure that when a vendor mentions flexibility, the reality matches your expectations. Test them, ask them to demonstrate how easily changes are made at short notice. Talk to references and get a good idea of what you will actually receive once the contract is signed. After all, you want to be able to talk about the success of this implementation in the future, you want it to compliment your ideas and philosophy.
The reasons why this is important are clear:
- The vendor will be able to adapt to your ideal process map
- Quick and easy changes in your processes going forward
- No need for developer work (significant savings)
- Cost, a well-designed system can lower the cost of change tenfold
- Long term success, being able to adapt the system as your organisation changes
And this, this is the flexibility that is worth searching out.
Forget the marketing, investigate it properly and ensure that you are putting in the best long term solution for your organisation.