Many business owners dread a change in software because the transition process can be resource intensive, time-consuming, and disruptive. These concerns caused Riho Purje, the head of BDP Eesti OÜ, to postpone replacing his company’s retail software for several years. However, two years ago, Purje decided to take the plunge and replace BDP’s retail software. It significantly improved the function of his enterprise.
BDP Eesti OÜ is the largest Estonian importer of office and school supplies, so replacing its retail software was no easy task. Purje had to consider how to undergo the software replacement process in a way that contributed to his company’s development. He asked questions like, “Does our current retail software offer us added value? Does it keep up with developments, and will it help us turn a profit?” He then critically examined the company’s needs and outlined them on paper. From that process, he selected providers that could meet his needs. He also sought a future-oriented provider that would develop at pace with the market and company needs. “Ambition is important,” he said. “There are many providers, but those that are stuck in an established routine might not keep up with all our needs in five or seven years. And this is a problem.”
By the end of the process, Purje realized that his initial fears were “unnecessary,” admitting that he should have replaced his software much earlier. He noted:
“Talking to several people, I was told that getting a divorce would be easier than replacing the software. I don’t know anything about the former, but replacing the software was very easy.”
According to Purje, “The transition to Erply went very quickly, smoothly and much faster than I had expected.” Purje ultimately replaced the retail software for his two other companies and learned quite a lot from the transformation process. After the processes were complete, he shared three pieces of advice for other business leaders considering replacing their retail software:
1. Clearly map your business’s needs and use them in the selection process
According to Purje, forming a clear map of your business’s needs is the most important step in selecting new retail software. BDP Eesti OÜ had four primary needs from its new software company: future developments, data security, cloud-based software, and face-to-face interactions with the software team. Purje thus used those criteria to choose its new software.
Purje foremost prioritized future developments because his original software company did not keep up to date with new web-based economy software. His ideal software company would keep current with technological developments, look towards future trends, and have a strong stock record. Future developments also provided a good indicator of a software company’s data safety capabilities. For Purje, data safety is a key component of maintaining efficiency and customers’ trust, so the companies he sought had to guarantee the safety of BDP Eesti OÜ’s data by providing up-to-date solutions. These criteria led him to select three companies – Microsoft Dynamics Nav, Directo and Erply – to meet with.
Then, after determining that Microsoft’s solution was not cost-effective, Purje met with representatives from both Directo and Erply to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” In those meetings, Purje inquired into both companies’ cloud capabilities. He desired cloud-based software with multiple apps because it can more easily solve problems operatively and change with company needs and technological developments. Cloud-based software also decreases IT costs by including IT support and eliminating the need for amortizing your own servers. Purje also used those meetings to evaluate the people that he would work with at each company, desiring an innovative and ambitious team to work with for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, these criteria led Purje to choose Erply – a cloud-based company with an exceptional and dynamic team – over Directo, which had many major functions incorporated into one software program.
Purje’s process highlights the importance of clearly mapping your business’s needs prior to selecting a software company. By using criteria generated from this map, Purje could more easily choose the company that best met BDP Eesti OÜ’s needs, leading to a successful and fruitful relationship with Erply.
2. Ensure your business and employees are well-prepared for the transition
One of Purje’s biggest regrets was shifting the process of software replacement frequently due to his fear that it would disrupt his business. After he completed the process, his enterprise explicitly understood the solutions offered by sound business software companies and how those solutions improve its work processes. BDP Eesti OÜ thus could easily transition to Erply due to Erply’s operative help in preparing for the changeover.
In order to ensure minimal disruption to regular business, your company should take steps to prepare for the transition. Employees should be briefed and trained in using the new software, taking an active role in preparing it for use. Your company should fill in essential data and prepare the basis software to ensure a smooth and quick transition, and you should collaborate with your software partner to make the transition quick and comfortable. Preparation thus plays an essential role in smoothly replacing your business software.
3. Everything starts with communication
Communication with your software partner is a critical component of successfully replacing your business software. In order for your partner to find the best solution for your company, you must clearly explain your wants and needs to them. On the other side, your software partner should willingly and capably understand your needs and fulfill your wishes throughout the development process, and they should be able to tell you why they suggest particular solutions or why you may not want to pursue a particular idea. Clear communication creates a positive relationship with your partner and helps to efficiently determine the solution that works best for both parties.
Communication is also a critical component of the transition process. Your partner should provide suggestions for your company to prepare for the changeover, and you should communicate any problems that arise to ensure the company will mitigate them. Your partner should also have a way for your employees to reach out to them for training or problem resolution. In BDP Eesti OÜ’s case, the company used Erply’s helpdesk as a consistent resource throughout their transition, enabling it to run smoothly and efficiently.
For Purje and BDP Eesti OÜ, the difference between their old and new retail software is like night and day. Erply has brought the company’s functionality to a new level. In Purje’s words, “if you have been doubting and fearing change, you should familiarize yourself with the latest software innovations and find out how you could profit from it. The world is changing every day, and retail software has changed along with it.”
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