Consumer products have the gift of “immediacy”. You can own and start using them in the time it takes you to get to the till. This includes all software for individual use, with the till only one click away.

Enterprise software is more complex. While there are products for almost any process, it is not uncommon to find:

  • People stuck with software mandated from the top that is not fit for purpose (the “short-changed”);
  • People using spreadsheets or other DYI, non-scalable tools for a number of operational workflows, some business-critical (the “tactical innovators”).

This is because enterprise software is never truly “out-of-the-box”: before it can be adopted and distributed, many controls need to be fulfilled (e.g.: contractual, security, service) and, more often than not, integration work needs to take place as part of its launch (e.g.: SSO, corporate reference data, operational feeds).

When considering the time, effort and costs involved in deploying solutions affecting the work of many people, it is not difficult to imagine how some will be reluctant to replace their inadequate but familiar toolset, while others, following the “proper product” route, may end-up disappointed because paid-for features remaining unused and necessary ones unsupported.

If functional fit, security, scalability, integration and a reliable support model are pre-requisites for enterprise software, flexibility is essential for it to be successful over time: some products are modular and easy to adapt, others are more like listed buildings, where little can be changed and only at great expense.

Whether buying or building, the product owner will need to have a clear understanding of requirements (or rather, commitment to a process for the discovery, prioritisation and agile implementation of changing requirements) and the means for evolving the solution over time without having to worry about unreasonable escalation of costs.

The LiveDataset perspective

At LiveDataset, we have always seen “products” as the tailored, evolving outcome of platform + service: a third way between build or buy.

The “buy” element is the data collaboration platform, rapidly configurable to satisfy any need involving many people contributing and sharing data from many locations as part of a centrally coordinated process. This includes adaptable templates and know-how for key Compliance, Governance and Finance workflows.

The “build” element is the on-demand availability of the LiveDataset team for initial solution delivery and, as importantly, for its ongoing transformation.

In a way that suits both the “short-changed” and the “tactical innovator” personae, our model seeks to draw as much as possible from the significant value already embedded in existing client investments, be they systems that LiveDataset can complement rather than replace, or spreadsheet-based solutions whose functionality will be translated and enhanced.

Such model enables the natural proliferation of strong “bottom-up solutions”, i.e.: once proven for “division A”, adapt and adopt for “division B”, and so on… A safe and value-driven way to use technology for process improvement.

Short-changed or tactical and wanting better? Contact us to try LiveDataset!

This piece is part of our Digital Fire Drills series.