The problem with recommending an app off the bat

Linkedin is a great tool for building connections, sending and receiving referrals, and even getting news updates relating to the industry you’re in. However, I have seen a few ‘boo-boos’ (as I would refer to them) recently.

These ‘boo-boos’ happen when someone innocently posts something along the lines of ‘I’m looking for a project management app, can anyone make a recommendation?’ Linkedin, as I said is great for referrals but when people make recommendations and list app names in the comments section, the geek inside me cringes a little. It’s a great idea to learn the names of the apps that are available but you can’t truly recommend a product without first understanding the client’s business… in a LOT of detail!

meter showing arrow pointing to 'a lot'

As my colleague Jonathan said “It’s like people recommending what car they drive or what house they should buy based on very limited knowledge”

Imagine if you were recommended a 2 seat Porsche Cayman by someone who owns it and can vouch for it. Sound good? Well it might be an awesome car but it’s not ideal if you actually have 3 children to fit in the car and prefer a front wheel drive. It’s important to fully evaluate the businesses requirements (4+ seats) and wants (front wheel drive).

And before you ask, yes I did have to Google ‘sports cars that have two seats’ – no shame. Proof below!

In all seriousness

(and from experience), there are lots of potential problems with listing which apps might help as you could end up wasting a lot of time. There might be an important integration or feature requirement that gets overlooked for example. But instead of venturing down the wrong path with the wrong app, think about this… The real opportunity is to lay the existing processes bare and look for the opportunities for transformation. This is where long term success lies and we see these opportunities all the time! 

You can read about the successes that can be achieved by business transformation here.

We recommend starting by mapping out the processes in the business so you can see where your existing issues are. You’ll also be able to see workflows that could become an issue if not optimised. Based on this information, you can define a set of functional requirements and rate them using MoSCoW (must have, should have, could have, won’t have). It’ll now be much easier to create an accurate shortlist of apps that might be a good fit. With the process maps and functional requirements you can have more meaningful conversations with the various app vendors. And they can build and deliver customised demos using the workflows you have mapped – so it’s much easier for you to see if that software system is missing anything you need. 

If this is something you need guidance on then please do get in touch with us.