“Begin with the end in mind.”
Sometimes “The End” is a scary thing to think about. Not always – the end of a bad situation or rough period of time can be something we look forward to. But often the simple uncertainty of something coming to a close is enough to cause us not to deal with it until we no longer avoid it.
For the next several posts, I am going to force on “endings” in different forms and why we need to think about the end more often than we do.
Let’s start with a not-so-scary ending: your new software!
(Okay, some of you may have had a rough time with a new system and totally disagree that software implementation isn’t scary.)
Implementing new software is a big decision for most companies. It is an investment in time, money, training, and change management at a minimum. You will probably have a lot of decisions to make, data to clean or archive, etc. No one should enter into this change lightly.
When I am working with clients on new software or systems one of the first things I think about is reporting.
Because the reports you need to make good business decisions will drive the data you need to capture, how data is organized, and the other systems and sources of data your software will need to connect to.
Sometimes I will even create a mock-up of reports we believe we require so we can verify in the evaluation stage if a particular system will need our needs.
Understanding how you will use a program and the outputs you need from it are critical to your success. It is easy to get enamored with the bells, whistles, and slick marketing of new software, but if it doesn’t meet your specific needs for running your business, it is not the right fit. And that can be a terrible thing to realize after you’ve implemented it.
So, start with the end in mind when you are evaluating your software needs.