“I know your requirements Mr Customer – I specialize in your industry”
Imagine walking into an Architect’s office; he asks you two questions:
- How big is your family?
- What type of family are you?
You answer and he says: “Yes, I specialize in your type of family and fully understand your requirements. In fact, I have the perfect house for you.”
You think to yourself: “But my family is unique, we are not just like the Joneses. We would like a double storey building; we have two teenage kids, with their own cars, so we need four garages and preferably two bedrooms with outside access.”
Isn’t this what we do to a customer when we say: “We have the perfect solution for your industry; we specialize in the ABC vertical”?
Every business is unique, with its own internal systems and ways of winning business. They have their own unique product and service offerings. By boxing a customer’s requirements into a one-size fits all vertical offering, we are doing exactly what the architect above did.
As a customer I would find this insulting and condescending, with no respect for my business and its needs.
Company A in the plastics industry makes plastic packaging for the food industry, while Company B, also in the plastics industry, makes custom chair and table sets for toddlers. Do you think these two companies operate in the same way; have the same challenges and the same governance and regulations? Definitely not; Company A will be governed by food industry regulations and will have a high volume manufacturing process; while Company B will be governed by safety regulations, and will have a specialized make-to-order, probably batch quantity of 1, manufacturing process. Their marketing, purchasing, sales and manufacturing processes will all be totally different.
Can you honestly say to Company B, after asking him just two questions: “Yes Mr Customer, we specialize in the plastics industry and have the perfect solution for you. We implemented it at Company A last month”?
Wouldn’t a hand-crafted solution, using various building blocks, industry templates and a full discovery phase be a better solution for Company B? Shouldn’t the response be: “When can we meet for you to tell me about your unique business needs and challenges, so we can model your processes and architect a solution especially for you? We have the building blocks to expedite this process and make it more cost effective.”
At SYSPRO we believe that approach is more valuable to prospective customers. Not only can we apply our industry experience in having a deep understanding of the business issues, but also our Quantum Architecture methodology allows organizations to have a visual representation of their clearly articulated process and technical solution before they embark on their ERP project. What does that mean? It means everyone gets to understand what is going to be delivered (and not delivered), and significantly reduces the likelihood of surprises during the implementation.