I was thinking about buying a new car. I went along and looked at a few and, to the salesman’s obvious excitement, even took a test drive. All was going well until I told my wife. “And exactly why are you considering a new car?” asks she-who-knows-me-too-well. And that’s when it clicked. Why? No REAL reason.
I could argue that new cars offer fantastic fuel economy and that will be a terrific saving. But would it compensate for suddenly paying out a few hundred pounds a month on a rapidly depreciating asset? No, no way, no chance. Is there something wrong with my current car? Again, the answer is no. It does everything I want it to do and shows no sign of not doing everything I want anytime soon. Maybe I could have argued there might be a big repair coming down the line, so better get something new now. But again, since I’m not actually paying anything other than the usual – tax, fuel, insurance and servicing – I could legitimately say I’m saving for that possible rainy day. So, no new car.. yet!
And that’s the same issue facing software companies as they try and persuade the users that it’s time to change their software. Whether that’s to upgrade what they have to the latest and greatest or to switch allegiance altogether. For the majority out there, there’s no real incentive.
When was the last time we decided that the double entry bookkeeping system was outmoded and needed a refresh? Nope, I can’t recall. The fundamentals of accounting software have remained unchanged since Luca Pacioli came up with the concept in the 15th century.
So, today’s updates to accounting software are all focussed around the ‘interface’ – how you connect with the system and how it connects with your operating environment. Microsoft have a huge advantage here when it comes to developing their Dynamics ERP range since they ‘own’ the desktop, the server, the database and slew of office products that most of us use (with apologies to the many ‘open source’ fans out there).
Hence, when Dynamics NAV2013 came out last year, Microsoft made a few announcements around the functionality changes – things like integrating purchases to projects, assemblies and purchases integrating to jobs, adding subcontracts into manufacturing – but the real focus was elsewhere.
Suddenly, we really did have a product that worked the same whether in-house, on the web or deployed through SharePoint. The interface to MS Office included the ability to easily open up your data in Excel and then refresh it. The role-tailored client is fast and incorporates a range of really nice charts including cash flow linked directly to your open sales and purchase invoices. What’s not to like?
See the video here – http://turnkey-group.com/business-software/
Is it enough? Time will tell. Recent presentations have had normally jaded audiences sit up and take notice. This is something different. These are changes that are worth upgrading to or switching allegiance for.
Now, all I need to do is persuade the motor industry to achieve such a step change in technology and I might be persuaded. Who knows, a whole new driver interface that lets me navigate while asleep and wakes me up on arrival… with a nice cup of tea?
Somehow though I think I’m stuck with my current car for the foreseeable future..