My first 90 days - Day 15 and 16: Software for running vs. managing the business

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You can check out the rest of my posts on my blog. Here's my post from day 15-16: This is me early on Day 16, or is that late on Day 15? Well, I was announced yesterday (, so if you are reading the blog for the first time … Welcome! Back on topic … as I mentioned in my last post, I am asking for your indulgence for these next few weeks as I set up for our launch in October.  To begin this process, I am going to start with my take on what I broadly think of as the two uber-categories for busines/enterprise software:  software for running the business and software for managing the business.  Certainly each of these has many sub-categories, but for the purpose of setup, let’s keep it simple and look at these two large “buckets” of software. Software for running the business (a.k.a. business automation).  I include a lot of software in this category.  Everything from retail point-of-sale systems to call center systems to sales force automation to e-commerce to … name an ERP module.  The two main purposes that I think of with this category are – “enforcing” operation business processes and recording transactions. Software for managing the business (a.k.a. business optimization).  This space has less categories, but there are certainly more than a few.  The recent trend has been to consolidate a lot of these categories under the Business Analytics umbrella.  In any case, the main purpose of this category is to optimize business opportunities. In terms of revenue and customer spend, without worrying about IDC-like market numbers, companies have traditionally spent much more money on software to run the business but are increasing shifting spend to software to manage the business.  That is, the growth is in software to manage the business. Let’s now look at author bias.  Although I have some history with software for automation, including point-of-sale software and quality tracking software for pharm companies, my passion has always been on software to help companies better manage themselves.  Having said that, if I company does not have a strong set of automation software across all major functions, it is going to be hard to make solid management decisions for the two reasons I mention above.  The company needs a solid and predictable operating model, otherwise, how can you know if it is working or not when it isn’t even defined?  In addition, unless a company captures transactions across all functions, what can it analyze to make better decisions?  All that to say that I don’t have a real bias – both categories of software are essential to “good business.” Wow! That took more words than I intended to use. In my next post, I will go into the main differences in characteristics for ideal software between these categories.  This conversation will not be about obvious differences like, one is for management the other is for front-line workers, one is tactical/operational the other is strategic, and so on.  In addition, these differences are from my observations and not always – ok, rarely – the convention thinking. ’til next time … Kirk

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