Your main reason for investing in software is, time.
That is, either time gained from not having to go through a process, or
time reduced for some process to be completed.
Your reason for investing in software is not to save money on operational costs or to boost sales. Those outcomes are indeed desirable, however they are only side-effects and are dependent on other factors that tend to be beyond software's control.
Investment in invoicing software for example, cannot directly reduce expenditure on receipt books if the purchasing clerk fails to get the memo. Instead, what that invoicing software does, is provide a viable alternative that is likely to be faster to generate, easier to review and
It is still up to the organization's decision makers and staff to
actually realize these benefits through policies and procedures. The organization must have a plan and be committed to seeing it through.
Another more common example in Trinidad and Tobago, is the launch of an E-Commerce website. By itself, this is not enough to boost the sales of a business that is already struggling to establish a customer base.
What an E-Commerce website does (should do), is reduce the amount of time it takes a customer to browse the company's catalog and complete a transaction.
When it comes to increasing revenue, it is up to the organization and its agents to craft a marketing strategy that will meet sales targets that incorporates the website. That strategy must be well structured and carried out effectively otherwise it jeopardizes the success of the whole project.
Simply having an E-Commerce website is not enough to substantially increase sales in most circumstances.
Software is a tool and like any other tool, its usefulness is determined by
its user's ability to understand, plan, wield and operate it.
A carpenter saves time and effort by using an electric saw instead
of a manual one. Similarly, a sales representative can close deals faster
if they can access catalog information on demand.
As the saying goes "time is money".
When we think of software in terms of time we also gain a useful metric that can be used to measure the success of software development projects.
"How much time did we gain or loose" should be asked when reviewing any software project.
For example, a project to computerize a manual accounting system
may compare the time taken to prepare financial statements in the past to periods after the project.
An inconsequential difference may not necessarily indicate
a failed outcome but may speak to the need of some part of the
project needing review, adjustment or elimination.
A substantial difference in favor of the new system
would be desirable of course, and this metric may be used in the future to justify or reject future projects as the business grows.
In conclusion, when thinking about investing in software for your
business, prioritize the time factor.
If other benefits such as cost savings or revenue growth are desired, then you must have a plan as to how the benefits will be used to help achieve your goals.