Since the dawn of the auto industry, vehicle manufacturers have worked night and day to create the best vehicles for their customers. The initial focus was on reliability; it gradually shifted to speed, efficiency, and security. Today all these attributes are essential, and digital technologies and low carbon have been added to the list of key attributes. Almost without exception, companies and people have assumed that vehicles are to be built by dedicated manufacturing companies.
Every vehicle is a sophisticated combination of interacting components, a system in a delicate balance which depends on the highest design standards, 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 vehicle that does everything it is supposed to do.
Developing a car can take three to five years from concept to street. A thorough analysis has to be made of 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 time, money and effort to develop the product and the facilities to build as many as the demand requires.
Every car, bus, truck, boat, ship and aeroplane that comes out of a manufacturing facility must fulfil all specifications and their corresponding verifications before being released to the market. The manufacturing company warrants that every vehicle has been built and operates to standard and fixes the vehicle without charge in case of a guaranteed covered failure. 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 the specific needs and likes of each user via configurations like seat, pedals and steering wheel position, as well as suspension, gear and steering driving style. We can reposition mirrors, adjust internal temperature and select the source and style 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 matured differently than the hardware industry. There is this expectation that anything is possible, or at least should be, since there are no visible “laws” governing software development.
On the contrary, an essential set of laws governs 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 satisfying organisational needs and solving enterprise problems, simplifying business processes and building certainty in the operation, information and evolution to deliver productivity, profitability, and well-being requires one to realise the existence of such laws, understand them and build software that complies with them.
One of the symptoms of the lack of fulfilling these laws is what I named the “Excel-ence” organisation, where people use spreadsheets to do much of the job that ill-constructed enterprise software cannot do. Another symptom is the imposed belief that a large enterprise needs tens to hundreds of different modules, components and systems to build its so-called “best-of-breed” platform when 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.
Additional symptoms are the long time to implement, two to five to ten years or more, the damaging operational disruptions at go-live, and the palliative strategy of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) that create the feeling that organisations are moving ahead when the reality is that cost and time become excessive when compared to the benefits obtained.
All these are based on the belief that as each organisation is unique, its software should be unique too. The fundamental is correct; the strategy to reach this uniqueness is wrong. Organisations should not waste time, money and effort trying to adapt (or adopt) an incomplete and disarticulated enterprise software. Enterprise software should be ready to fulfil the unique combination of business processes and variations every organisation needs. 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.
To help large companies to run their business, not the software, we have created LOVIS EOS, the first zero-code Enterprise Operating System Platform on the Cloud that fully adapts to each company’s needs, runs integrated beginning-to-end business processes, builds transactional information that reflects reality in real-time, closes every day, month, and year with zero downtime, automatically derives accounting records, provides Financial Statements in any standard every morning, and is implemented in six months or less with no-disruption at go-live.
Would you build your own enterprise software? You shouldn’t.