Summary: Homegrown systems can be effective short-term, but as organizations grow, they fall short. Based on the processes of the past, homegrown systems don’t hold up long-term.
We know managing data is hard.
In fact, it’s a problem 58% of manufacturers experience.
58% of manufacturers don’t have a well-defined data management strategy in place.
And things only get more difficult as your organization grows.
So what’s the best approach to this problem?
Many think it’s having IT teams cobble together point solutions.
But when you consider that 58% of manufacturers struggle with data management, the problems that face individual organizations really aren’t that unique.
Which leaves us wondering why organizations tackle this problem with mismatched homegrown systems when solutions that specialize in the challenge are available.
So we decided to look into it.
In this post, we’ll look at where you win and lose with homegrown systems.
What are homegrown systems?
Homegrown systems are a collection of applications and processes IT teams string together to address the needs of their organizations.
And there are good reasons why teams continue to use their homegrown systems for their data and process management.
1. Humans are creatures of habit
We stick with what we know.
Especially when it comes to the tools we use at work.
Homegrown systems incorporate the tools employees like and know how to use.
2. Resistance to change
Whether it’s internal resistance to any change or just the difficulty of choosing a direction to go, doing nothing is almost always easier than doing something.
And as decisions get more complicated — for instance, replacing your two or three point solutions with a single tool — then that resistance only goes up.
3. The dreaded learning curve.
People continue to use homegrown solutions beyond their expiry date because of the learning curve that comes with using new tools.
A learning curve that impacts productivity.
Instead of employees getting down to business, they have to spend time learning how to use programs they have no experience with.
But there is one important thing to consider here:
The hit to productivity new systems cause is less significant than the opportunity cost of sticking with the hodgepodge, homegrown systems in place now.
Especially for rapidly growing companies.
The hit to productivity new systems cause is less significant than the opportunity cost of sticking with a hodgepodged homegrown system.
Where you lose out with homegrown systems
It can take IT teams months, if not years, to get a “functional” data management process up and running.
And during this time, your biggest competitor has already implemented something that lets them solve the same problems as you in less time.
As a result, the competition realizes the benefits of organized product data faster than you.
Which leads them to get to market faster, and lets them snag the first-mover advantage you once had.
Ever heard of the 10,000 hour rule?
It’s the idea that it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. It’s been demonstrated in multiple domains from sports to music.
And it applies to data management.
Although the homegrown systems concocted by teams work, they aren’t as effective as those developed specifically for this challenge.
The vendors that provide data management solutions have spent years tweaking their software to best handle the problems manufacturers have.
Plus, they’ve benefited from years of experience helping clients overcome data management challenges.
Managing homegrown systems is time-consuming.
So whether it’s IT or operations in charge of your homegrown system, you can be assured a significant amount of their time will be dedicated to the upkeep and maintenance of your system.
Which probably isn’t the best use of their time.
In fact, a recent study by the Harvard Business Review found that a third of IT professionals are too busy supporting outdated processes to work on improving these systems.
A third of IT professionals are too busy supporting outdated processes to work on improving these systems.
Which tells us that despite the amount of time and effort homegrown systems require, they don’t add a lot of value organization-wide.
Choosing to concentrate your solutions into a few big buckets allows teams to focus on tasks that offer business benefits beyond system upkeep.
It’s not that homegrown systems don’t work.
It’s that they’re inefficient.
As your company grows, and your needs change, homegrown systems struggle to adapt.
You may be able to add some new tools and integrations, but these are only quick fixes.
Fixes that only hold up until the next organizational change.
Which, at best, is a few months down the road.
Basically, homegrown solutions aren’t future-proof.
And when they stop meeting the needs of employees, workarounds begin to happen.
- Missing data
- Decreased productivity
- Slower processes
Although homegrown systems can be effective in the short-term, they fail in the long-term.
Homegrown systems are centered around the processes of yesterday.
And fail when things change in an organization.
For tools that work long-term, organizations need solutions that proactively address challenges before they arise.
Not solutions that act in response to problems in the way homegrown systems do.
Looking to future-proof your organization with technology? Get in touch today.
Image Credit: Jared Sluyter via Unsplash