4 Steps Toward Efficiency and Scale Using Effective Software Management
September 28, 2022
4 minute read – Why do you want to grow? Financial institutions have many different reasons, but one of them is almost always for scale. Digging deeper, they want to get the boost that size can give in terms of making it easier to grow revenue faster than expenses.
Ironically, one of the most important areas that makes scalability possible is frequently rife with inefficiencies. Software is an asset that can often be used to support higher volumes of business with little or no increases in cost. But the explosion in the sheer number of software packages that must be managed has contributed to the inefficient usage of the software and the resources used to obtain it. This is an area with so much room for creating an efficient foundation for scale that it deserves special focus.
Here are a few common areas of opportunity:
- Purchases – Make sure there is not already similar software in place prior to signing a contract or purchasing to avoid the additional expense, tracking, and maintenance of near-duplicate software. Preventing this requires a central repository of the software that is in use, a repository owner, and a specific step in the software selection process that comes before signing the contract. Features that are available, whether in use or not, should be tracked from the initial implementation forward to provide a complete picture of what the existing software can do.
- Customization – Weigh this carefully and get clarity on what it means for future upgrades to the software. A key question is, are we customizing in order to preserve an old, familiar way of doing things when we would be better off changing?
- Implementation Phases – With complex software, there is often agreement to implement certain features initially and add more in later phases. Getting around to those subsequent phases can be a struggle if they are not prioritized, leaving capabilities on the table that are not put to good use. The features that will be implemented later should be decided on with the initial implementation.
- Upgrades and New Features – Each software package needs a clear owner that ensures that upgrades and new features are vetted timely by a subject matter expert and IT. If implementation requires significant effort, it should be added to projects for prioritization.
If features, upgrades, and even updates are put off or shelved because there is too much else going on, you might find that “suddenly” a few years later the software is hopelessly out of date and there is a search for new software going on. It’s like you bought a car and customized it to get the CD player rather than the Bluetooth stereo. The dealer offered to install upgraded aftermarket speakers and the nicer wheels you wanted, but you never got around to going back to the dealer. Later, when they asked to apply a fix to the air conditioning to make it work better, you were too busy. And now you’re driving a car you don’t really like and… it feels like it’s time for a new one.
Getting the full potential from software investments requires effort over time, not just with initial implementation. Recognizing this can help with the realistic prioritization of resources. Intentional focus on the right things is key. Features and upgrades that are not implemented should be the result of a conscious choice rather than lack of ownership or falling through the cracks.
It’s possible that some of the shiny new things can wait while you focus on getting the most out of the software investments you’ve already made. Enhanced management of your software packages can lead to better expense control, improved efficiency, and a foundation for attaining scale.
For more thoughts on this subject, listen to our podcast Using Scale and Automation to Control Expenses and Grow Revenue.