The most successful projects are the ones where customers know precisely what results they are after. However, often they haven’t given it a thought, and software vendors get a lot of crazy answers, “What do you mean why are we doing this project?!”, “I don’t get your question.”, “???”. As a matter of fact, nobody is doing a software project for the sake of doing a project. Customers could almost always upgrade their software to the latest version and stay on it forever (although there is a risk). This means that there must be some benefit in mind, at least unconsciously. To be able to add value, it is critical to give it some thought and know precisely what drives value. Then the discussion will be about how you can realize value with this project to generate the business outcomes you desire.
Generally, there are three reasons why organizations decide for a new software project:
I need to do a technical upgrade
The customer is on an old software, which he can no longer run. The databases don’t support it anymore, the operational systems don’t support it anymore, the office suite does not work with that type of technology anymore. Other reasons could be that maintenance has been cancelled and organizations don’t get any more support. Thus, the customer is running a risk and a technical update is necessary to keep business running.
I am embarking on a huge transformation project
A huge transformational project aims to massively increase productivity and positive business outcomes. A customer may operate in 20 different countries and he is sick of working in 21 different ways – how you manufacture, how you sell, how you talk to customers, how you produce, how you procure, how you manage your supply chain… how you do everything. The result: friction costs, inefficiencies, and low margins. The customer wants to harmonize the way he operates, streamline processes, and unlock value.
I need to solve a very specific issue
Here, the customer sees huge value in one specific area of his business or one specific function. He might wants to a new HCM (Human Capital Management) or WFM (Work Force Management) application so that he can manage and schedule his people better. Or a CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) to enhance the customer experience. Or he is in an asset-intensive business and EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) could save a lot of money and reduce down-time. These standalone software solutions can cater to the specific needs of the customer.
Keep in mind: Sometimes, customers want to do a project for a combination of these reasons.