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  • Writer's pictureMichael Douman

Get what you want without compromise.

In today's Digital Era. A glorious time of innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution. In a time of new technology, new luxury and accessibility we find ourselves often overwhelmed at the plethora of choices available to us either in a personal capacity or in Business. The sheer slew of resources and opportunities suddenly available drive us in various directions. Some taking advantage, some hurrying to learn the next art in technology. Some merely struggling to keep up with the constant advances. Why?

A simple question. Why is it that every time we have a new application, a new technology, a new sensation we must hurry to have it, learn it and absorb it. After all, we just spent 6 months on one application to find that Microsoft or SAP or even Oracle to name a few will be or have released something brand new. Now I understand the need. Of course, as someone who has spent years in a corporate environment, years learning well over 100+ applications, programming, and so on. I fully grasp the need. The absolute necessity to upskill yourself and stay relevant in order to progress or just remain employed. I've seen first-hand instances where a job was at risk due to a lack of knowledge.

To share a brief story. Years back when I was still at home, working the factory floor in a corporate office and still studying. My mother who has been seasoned and at the top of her field for more than 20 years came to me and asked me to teach her Excel power pivots and using VBA, Macros and Pivot Tables.

At the time I thought nothing of it. After all to me learning was just part of the routine and knowing those things was almost a given in my field. In fact, I was surprised she didn't know it. It never occurred to me that she never would've used or needed it.

So yes I taught her. Later working in corporate training and education I realised that the constant release of new technology, the constant barrage of tools available made every person junior to executive a target audience for refreshers and training programs.

These days you see more and more that none of us really ever leave school in that regard. Whether you are a cleaning lady, a street sweeper, a writer or a programmer you will always need to learn something new, find a course, find a teacher and upskill yourself.

In the past you couldn't get a job without a high school pass, then you needed a qualification, then you needed a degree, and now you need all those things plus 3 years of experience just to get in.

Another story. My wife past her accounting, studied and wrote the exams. 2 years later she still can't get hired and works in retail because despite the knowledge she hasn't found anyone willing to give her the experience.

So why? Why do I mention all of this and why do I specifically ask the reason to constantly learn new systems?

Well before I mention my rationale I want to further iterate that yes should you or your company be using something as basic as MS office or move further to SAP, Oracle, and so on. I completely agree and encourage that you keep updated, keep learning and keep upskilling yourself. Knowledge is valuable knowledge.

Now, as for the why. The way I see it is that we currently purchase software, systems, packages from vendors. These could be your DSTV or cable package. Your management system. Your Accounting system or whatever you need at the time. While they serve your purpose and they meet your requirements, none of us in business, or at home can honestly say they meet all our requirements. That they tick all the boxes.

Now in an age of such wonderous invention does that seem right to you?

Personally, I think not. I believe that whether I am getting a white label management system from an established vendor or not. Whether I am getting Netflix. Or whether I am simply buying a gift basket. There should be absolutely no reason for my boxes, nay, all my boxes to be ticked. T put it simply, these days we can walk into a store and buy items that make a custom gift basket for us. We can download music and create a custom playlist for Mondays. Why then can we not say to Adobe, Google, Microsoft, etc. This is what I want, this is all I want and get that? Why pay unreasonable exorbitant rates for systems, products and software that either does more than we need making them a waste of our investment or doing too little forcing us to make additional investments?

The saddest thing is that unfortunately with the use of API technology we can integrate multiple solutions into a single system, but then we have multiple vendors, multiple accounts, multiple payments to make and therefore additional investment in Administration. Speaking from personal experience I wished to use the API of an established system with one of my other systems and the vendor consultant referred me to open documentation that only allowed for one-way communication and reading data. When I asked about the rest he said it would need "development". How many of us have fallen for this "additional development needed" trap. Where you sign a contract and promises are made, but what you get is sorely and miserably far from your expectation. When you enquire you hear that additional development is needed. Well no.

As a business solutions provider, I don't believe that you should pay too much for too little. I don't believe I should give you something you need to conform to. I believe that should you need a system and request a system. That system works the way YOU want it to. The way you want it too. That you get all of your boxes ticked and that you see the working version before you pay for it all and never have to hear the implication which is "this is what you get, now be happy". Why? I believe that when you ask for a red apple and you are promised a red apple. you should get a red apple, not green, not yellow. I believe this because I have been in that case many times where a trusted vendor cared more about the hours billing me than the result promised. Thank you for reading this article. Please comment and share. Be sure to visit Where custom is our delight, and innovation our partner.

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