My colleague, Matt Petersen, just wrote a great article The Cost of Not Upgrading Your Technology which has been picked up by a couple of distribution industry blogs. If you haven’t read it, please do.
Matt compares replacing a business platform with buying a new car. As an avid baseball fan who just watched the minor league Futures game as part of the MLB All-Star game festivities, I’ve got another analogy to offer just for fun – minor league baseball prospects. I’d say replacing a business platform is like being a scouting director for a baseball club.
Here’s why: As a scouting director, you’ve got to choose talented players so you can help build a team that can hopefully someday win a World Series for your franchise. But it’s hard to evaluate players; they’re all different and have different skills and abilities and there’s no perfect formula for a winning team. Similarly, every business platform has different strengths and weaknesses and there’s no perfect formula when it comes to your unique business.
Some baseball talent evaluators prefer high-ceiling athletes with lots of potential even though those players typically have lots of flaws as well. Other scouts favor high-floor prospects – they may not hit as many home runs or throw 99 MPH, but they probably hit more consistently, or throw more strikes. The truth is, a good scouting director has a mix of both types of prospects, and ideally, they can find the rare prospect who has both a high floor and a high ceiling.
It occurs to me that business platforms can be evaluated the same way. Sizzling new technologies are the high ceiling features – image recognition and machine learning for example. But, you need systems with the high floor technology too. You need a robust platform, flexible deployment options, easy extensibility, and scalable infrastructure.
Take Microsoft D365, for example. Great high ceiling technological features like Azure Machine Learning and Bot Framework are important for keeping up in the marketplace. That’s why ENAVATE is building Apps leveraging these technologies for wholesale distributors. But, I’ll be honest – I wouldn’t choose a business platform only based on this alone. But Microsoft is continuously raising the floor for D365 as well, solidifying and improving the core set of features with each release, and not insignificantly, even improving the way that they deliver releases.
Microsoft D365 is the rare prospect that has both a high ceiling and a high floor.