Do you remember how much you paid to get that expert setup your iPhone for you? Or the time that freelance guy overcharged you when setting up your Facebook account? Or perhaps the time you paid that college student a bomb to get your blog up on WordPress?
You don’t remember, do you?
Why then, do you remember the time you paid an implementation expert to set up your software?
Of course software takes time to get used to, like an iPhone does. Of course it takes time to start using it well, like it took time for you to start using Facebook.
But you figured them out because they are intuitive and designed for you to figure them out.
Software today is like that, and if some of it isn’t, it should be. You do not need ‘consultants’ to ‘expertly’ implement them.
Here are seven reasons why –
1. You can’t nip the butterfly off her cocoon
The software you’ll implement is going to work for you and your customers, and if it is going to do that well, you need to know how it does what it does. Which means that as you use your software, you’ll also learn from it.
For example, in Freshdesk, customers asked us if they could drive service level targets by issue categories instead of priorities. Any “custom” shop would have readily done that for them. But as they used the product and understood the importance of prioritizing issues to drive service levels, they learnt to bring in their workflows and follow best practices.
The best tools let you grow into them, and as you play around, you learn more and do more.
2. The tool made for you should be made FOR you
With the number of tools in the pretty commoditized software market, there is one exactly made to your requirements. Find it and use it. And if you find one and can’t get it running right out of the box, you need to get back to the drawing table and figure things out one more time.
For example, someone looking for a salesforce automation suite is not going to be very happy with Just-in-Time inventory management software no matter how brilliant it is, because the tool just isn’t built for the salesforce in the first place. An implementation ‘expert’ would probably be able to make it work for you up to a certain extent, but that is exactly what you don’t want to be doing.
3. Best practices are built into a great product
An expert will definitely talk about how he can be the only one to set your software up according to the best practices in the domain. This is one of the major reasons businesses usually go for expert implementations. But a great software is supposed to have best practices built into it. Which means you won’t have to figure out best practices. It’s all already there.
Great products turn best-practices into plug and play. You just need to turn them on, and they tell you exactly what to do.
4. No one knows your business like you do
I’ll repeat that. No one knows your business like you do. Especially not some third party implementation expert. What an expert can help you figure out is what is right and wrong for your business, what kind of software will work, what will not, what you need now to fulfill your customers’ expectations and so on.
He will never be able to tell you what your customers will need in the future, how you’ll want to grow and scale, and how your software will scale with you. This is where you need your judgement to come in.
For example, as a growing company’s CEO, you know a whole bunch of agents responding to the same query at the same time is a way bigger problem to focus on than, say, building them mobile apps that lets them support customers sitting on a mountain. But to your implementation experts, the feature will always end up outweighing the benefits, which means you’d get months of cross-device customizations when all you really cared about is some intelligent agent collision detection. What a shame!
5. Smart software fits into your ecosystem, talks to the other tools you use and drives meaningful insights
Great software isn’t defined by just how it works. It also has to work with the ecosystem, seamlessly blending into the other products you use, like the last piece of the jigsaw that completes the whole puzzle. It should be able to work with other tools right out of the box, like magic, without needing expensive consultation and professional help.
Great products that we love allow us to extend, tie in and build a wholesome experience by integrating with the CRMs, marketing automation, email and customer support software we use every day.
6. Drag-and-drop customizations beat long syntax and half-baked hacks
When you really need external help to set up a tool, it simply means that it’s a bad tool in the first place. A bad tool needs difficult customizations and syntax that can take months to learn and master.
For example, if you want to set up SAP, you need either an ABAP expert in-house or an external implementation expert to come and help you with it. There’s no way out, simply because the product is incredibly complex and difficult to learn and use.
The perfect tool for you is the one that makes customizing your workflows as easy as drag-and-drop. If you have to sit down, do battle with code and build half-baked hacks, you simply don’t need it.
7. You will probably just need 20% of the capabilities in the software you choose
This is true of almost every software product you use. You’ll never be able to use a product completely. Either because you simply don’t want some of the features, or because you don’t know the other features, or are happy using the features you use really well and don’t want to complicate things.
No expert will tell you this. And this is why you need to learn that 20% really well, and you can get on the other 80% as you go along. An ‘expert’ will simply hide away the 80% so that they don’t get distracting, and you can’t really blame him – you don’t need those features right now.
But you eventually will, and the really great tool will have the new features ready and waiting for you when you actually do.
So trust me – look long and hard for the implementation guy, and then go ahead and fire him, AND the product he’s trying to push through your door. You can do with two fewer headaches.