Technology seems to drive business, but all too often technology actually holds you hostage. With new software options available today, replacing old applications can be done quickly and easily.

New Software
For instance,

  • You worry more about your system crashing than you do about your marketing efforts
  • You waste more time trying to make the system work than you do interfacing with your clients
  • You spend more of your team’s time every week on manual reports in Excel than your managers spend analyzing those reports
  • You dedicate one staff person to nursing the system along and maintaining data

But, even when a business decides to do something about their inadequate systems, the evaluation and selection of a new software solution delays other business initiatives and holds the business users captive while the process unfolds–slowly. This becomes such a horrible process because businesses tend to look for large, feature-rich, all-encompassing new software solutions, creating a lengthy evaluation, challenging implementation, and costly solution.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t. Today’s business applications are designed to:

  • Implement quickly and cost-effectively
  • Be learned easily with minimal training
  • Increase the productivity of your team
  • Adapt as your business needs and processes change
  • Interface with other applications for greater value
  • Grow cost-effectively as your business grows

The easy way to finally replace your poor system is to look for multiple smaller/lighter new software solutions that focus on a core area and do that piece very well. By “very well” I mean they do the six bullet points above well. This approach works and we just proved it (again) on ourselves.

We needed to upgrade our on-premise Microsoft Project Server that we use for all of our project management and time reporting. These functions are critical to our business, but the estimated costs for the licenses and time for this upgrade were approaching $10,000–just to maintain the level of functionality we’ve had for project management for more than 10 years. We wouldn’t get collaboration, analytics, or other value-adds we really desired.

I started doing a little research, opened up a few free accounts in order to play with several solutions that appeared to meet our needs, and less than three weeks later we are ready to roll out our new platform with:

  • No hardware or software implementation costs
  • Minimal setup and configuration time
  • Elimination of nearly all of our anticipated upgrade costs
  • Functionality we need now at little or no cost with options for buying additional functionality if/when we need it

Rather than going with a larger, single solution, we opted for multiple lighter and much more affordable new software solutions:

  1. Asana for task and project management, collaboration, team calendars, and more, plus the elimination of nearly all internal emails
  2. Harvest for time reporting integrated into Asana and for expense reporting
  3. The iBLeagueTM for reporting, analytics, and performance benchmarking across our team and projects, and financial reporting
  4. Google Drive for internal wikis and document sharing
  5. Google Mail for our email server, spam filtering, and email virus scanning

In only three weeks, we have fully implemented Asana and Harvest for task and project management, collaboration, and time and expense reporting. We’ve integrated this with Google Drive for our internal wikis and other document sharing. The next step is to interface Asana and Harvest with The iBLeagueTM for company-wide reporting and performance benchmarking, followed by a move from Exchange Server to Google Mail.

Yes, we are software developers and know technology, and you may be thinking there’s no way you could rip out your entire internal ecosystem this quickly and easily. I beg to differ. This is doable in any company, regardless of size or internal technology expertise. Maybe you just need a little guidance, or maybe a gentle shove would be most appropriate! Consider this my shove to get you moving (you can do it!).

Question: What new software systems do you need to move to?  Post a comment below.