Would you build your own car? I wouldn’t

Since the dawn of the auto industry, vehicle manufacturers have been working night and day to create the best vehicles for their customers. The initial focus was on reliability it gradually shifted to speed, then efficiency and eventually security. Today all these attributes are essential, and digital technologies and low carbon have been added to this list. Companies and people have assumed that vehicles are to be built by dedicated manufacturing companies almost without exception.

Every vehicle is a sophisticated combination of interacting components in a delicate balance, which depends on the highest standards of design, manufacturing and integration. They help us to move people and goods safely from one point to another. Very few would risk their life and valuables by using a vehicle built by themselves, just the opposite. We all assume that manufacturers do their job correctly and deliver a finished car that does everything it is supposed to do.

From conception to the street, developing a car can take three to five years. A thorough analysis has to be made on the form, materials, measures, options, finishings, and every major or minor element that will be part of that car. The same happens in all hardware industries like electronics, appliances, machinery, buildings, computers, etc. Manufacturers invest the time, money and effort to develop the product and the facilities to build as many units as the market demands.

In fact, every car, bus, truck, boat, ship and aeroplane that comes out of a manufacturing facility has to fulfil any number of specifications and their corresponding verifications before being released to the market. Manufacturing companies warrant that every vehicle has been built and operates to standard and, in case of a guaranty covered failure, fixes the vehicle without charge. Users have come to a reasonable understanding of what to expect from a vehicle. The “physical” industries’ maturity level is high due to the enormous economic and reputation damage when things are not done well.

Today, almost every car can be adapted to each user’s specific needs and likes via configurations like seat, pedals and steering wheel position, suspension, gear, and driving style. We can reposition mirrors, adjust internal temperature and select the source and type of music we prefer. We can put add-ons like compatible trailers, rooftop racks and storage bins to extend the functionality of our vehicle without disrupting the delicate balance between its fundamental components.

Since the appearance of Enterprise Software, the story has been quite the opposite.

The software industry, especially enterprise software, has not matured the same way as the hardware industry. There is this expectation that anything is possible, or at least should be, since “laws” governing software development are not evident.

However, quite the opposite is true. There is an essential set of laws that govern the correct way to develop enterprise software. I am not talking about rules on how to write code or technologies to be used. I have learned that moving organisational needs and solving enterprise problems requires realising the existence of such laws, understanding them, and building software that complies with them. Simplifying business processes and building certainty in the operation, information and evolution deliver productivity, profitability, and well-being that help organisations survive and thrive.

One of the symptoms of lack of fulfilling these laws is what I call the “Excel-ence” organisation, where people use spreadsheets to do much of the job that well-constructed enterprise software should do, if it were built like cars. Other symptoms include the imposed belief that a large enterprise needs tens or hundreds of different modules, components, and systems to develop its “best-of-the-breed” platform. The proper focus should be adopting the software that supports the best integrated beginning-to-end business processes with all the needed variations out of the box.

Furthermore, the long time to implement, two to five to ten years or more, and the damaging operational disruptions at go-live create enormous hidden costs. Also, the Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) palliative strategy creates the feeling that organisations are moving ahead when the reality is that cost and time become excessive compared to the benefits obtained.

All these are based on the belief that as each organisation is unique, its software should be unique. The fundamental is correct. It is the strategy to reach this uniqueness that is wrong. I believe organisations should not waste time, money and effort trying to adapt (or adopt) an incomplete enterprise software. Enterprise software should be ready to fulfil the unique combination of business processes and their variations, and go-live should happen in a few months without operational disruptions. Software manufacturers should make the necessary investment and deliver, so organisations can focus on their core business.

The answer is fully configurable enterprise software that supports all the variations of the beginning-to-end business processes that each organisation needs and deserves. This required a maturing process similar to that of the hardware industries, where software manufacturers invest in creating really robust enterprise software capable of simplifying operations and delivering certainty to people and organisations.

Considering EOS configurability can be configured to solve the problems and satisfy the needs of large and very large organisations, I wouldn’t build my own enterprise software, would you?

Rafael Funes
Executive Chairman
LOVIS

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