Why owning the technology that runs and represents your business is the ultimate growth hack.
Let us paint the picture that underlines our point: Have you had the nervous excitement of a new product or gift be immediately ripped from your consciousness only to be replaced by anger and vitriol?
Not sure what we are talking about? Let us try again. It is Christmas Day. You have just torn open the wrapping paper mysteriously proclaiming that someone has delivered you a gift. You stare, unbelieving, at the new widget that the collective human hive mind has declared as “the gift” this year. Somehow, your parents, grandparents, Santa, or possibly God themselves heard your desperate pleas that your life would be perfect should you receive this item and here it lies before you… The highest levels of excitement, anxiety, joy, and gratification culminating at this fleeting moment of time. You begin to interact with this item, turn it on, play with buttons, hear some noises and are interrupted by the inkling that something is not right. In the commercials, periodicals, ads, and testimonials there was no mention of a companion software that made the product function. Nevertheless, this short delay will not stifle progress! You hurriedly download the appropriate application and are now met with an awfully hopeless attempt at technology integration that your burning desire to acquire this product is now just a distant memory.
That is the impact software has on consumers in today’s world. It is quite literally the most ubiquitous event that one could have the displeasure of living through in the current age. Horrible software makes award-winning hardware unusable.
Why is every company a software company?
In short, because we, as consumers, demanded it. In an effort to keep up with competitors and trends, companies had to evolve, shoving technological innovations into every aspect of our lives. Almost everything that surrounds our everyday existence is impacted by software. Our very ideas about entertainment, dining, work, travel, and leisure are all made possible and facilitated by software.
Don’t believe us? Let’s consider the example of a business that rents heavy equipment to construction contractors. The chief product they are offering their customer base is cost-intensive machinery that can be borrowed for a fee to complete a project. However, just under the surface, that equipment rental company has to have a website, email, bookkeeping, CRM, record keeping, and a host of other software tools to be able to just offer their solution to customers. Thus, this equipment rental company has become not only a user of software, but a disseminator of it. Offering logo bespectacled invoices, a WordPress website, email communication, payment portals, and more to its clients. Regardless of the industry, software is at the center of it.
What does this mean?
The software you chose is no longer an internal decision, but a universal one. Meaning, the choices you make about the software you chose to integrate into your business will impact how you are perceived, not only by your team members, but your customers as well! Furthermore, from our perspective, this means companies need to not only evolve their ideas of software solutions, but evolve the ways they view and operate their business model, starting with the software.
Good software isn’t some high-minded concept of Academia that is aspirational at best, counterproductive at worst. It, instead, exists everywhere we look. In fact, that’s what makes it so good; it so naturally ingratiates itself into our lives, patterns of thought, and considers its users so thoroughly that it goes, largely, unnoticed.
Bad software, on other hand, serves as the albatross around the neck of society, shining a light at our darkest and most destructive thoughts. Bad software is what we remember. Bad software is what we condemn. Bad software is noteworthy and memorable.
What can a business do to be the best ‘software company’ they can be?
It starts with coming to grips with the idea that you are judged by the quality of the software that runs and represents your business. Whether you agree or not, per McKinsey research from June 2022, nearly 70 percent of the top economic performers, compared with just half of their peers, are using their own software to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Furthermore, one-third of those top performers monetize software directly.
Think of yourself as a consumer. Have you ever muddled under your breath and to no-one in particular the following phrase: “Why did they choose _________ when ________ is so much better?” We are willing to bet that the question’s root cause for existence was poor software integration or implementation.
Before imitating your competitors or mimicking what your last employer did, think long and hard about the kind of experience you are striving to offer. Some questions we walk our clientele through are:
- How can software be an extension or enhancement of your service?
- What can software do to make your service more delightful for customers?
- How is software going to solve a problem for you and your customers?
- Who is being served by the software and what do they want out of it?
After these and questions like them have well founded, agreed upon answers, you want to compile this data into one document that outlines what you are looking for in your software solution. This document is going to serve as your talisman for a better tomorrow. With that document, you explore what software solutions exist that speak to the goals you are looking to achieve.
What you will most-likely discover is that the software you hoped would exist, doesn’t seem to be available on the shelves. Instead, you are met with time-wasting calls with companies pitching their ‘software as a service solution’ that doesn’t fulfill all or most of the items on your list. So what are you to do now?
Creating the ultimate solution for you and your customers
Breathe easy. Here is your moment of clarity and what this article is building towards: The best companies in every industry need to own their software solutions. They have to because no outsider really understands their pain, built in all the necessary tools, and had multiple users goals fully considered.
The root of this self-fulfilling prophecy is that the best software didn’t exist prior to someone with a great idea and understanding of a problem working with a team of engineers and programmers to create the ultimate software solution. That’s why it’s a growth hack. You can quite literally create and corner a market just by offering a solution that your competitor cannot (unless they buy that solution from you).Whilst this path is not for everyone, it is eventually what every company must deal with as it grows: how can we better serve our customers and ourselves with applied modern technology?
Don’t get our message wrong. Software as a Service is a great starting point and will fulfill a large portion of needs in a space, will help you understand what you need, what’s available, and the current thinking about the solutions available. However, when a tool is built to serve “everyone” it winds up being useful for almost no one. Just look at those ubiquitous items we find in every gift guide online, if they were really that good at solving a problem, wouldn’t you have it already?