A lot happens before ideas become solutions.

At ElixWare we want to bring you more than just great, affordable software. We want to let you know how and why we do what we do.

Our Ruminations blog will bring you insights into how we got here and some of the things we consider when trying to help you run your business. We hope it gives you a better understanding of how we strive to better serve your needs.

Armchair Experts

When we know more than we know

Bombs Away
Last week was a tense week for our country. Someone felt the need to send explosive devices to people they disagreed with. This was made worse by some people with large audiences spouting conspiracy theories, spreading lies and planting false flags. Basically, claiming to know more than they actually know. And then came Pittsburgh.

Everyone has an opinion, especially when it comes to events like this. And most suppositions are simply dead wrong. I was reminded of this when two former law enforcement officials reviewed the profile and predictions they offered at the beginning of the week. They were spot on (even about the time frame of capture). The "armchair experts"? Not so much.

So, what do all of these amateur CSI wannabes have to do with your business? I’d like to say "you’d be surprised", but you won’t be. Most people know at least one.

Take A Seat
Many of you may actually do something similar when it comes to subjects that affect your business. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we know more about something than we actually know. We find favor in facts that support our opinions and dismiss things that don’t align with our observations. We become armchair quarterbacks and embrace our knowledge as gospel. There's a term for this: confirmation bias.

If you recognize yourself in the preceding paragraph, then you may also recognize others in your business, your family or your circle of friends. All of these self-anointed experts can — and often do — influence your decisions. They all mean well, and yet they can steer you down the wrong path. As a decision maker, convincing ourselves that we know more than we do is enough to lead us into making poor choices.

When it comes to major business decisions — like implementing a new system — being your own expert is not the best approach. In fact, you can think about installing a new system as though you were buying new furniture at home. You're trying to make everyone happy, getting everything to match can get complicated, if you’re not careful it can get very expensive, and you have to live with the results for a long time. So, it's always a good idea to get help from someone who knows that they are doing.

The List
The best way to make a decision about implementing a new system is to recognize two simple facts:
  • You are an expert in your business.
  • You are probably not well versed in software or technology.

When filling the role of a true expert you can play to your strengths. You can use your experience and knowledge to make a well-informed decision about your business' needs. And you can make sure that your business doesn’t have to live with something that isn’t a good fit.

Start by making a list:

  • List the pain points you deal with on a daily basis.
  • List the features your current system has that you can't live without.
  • List the features you wish your current system had.
  • List the features you think you may need based on your growth projections for the next five years.
  • List the people in your company who use your current system the most, and ask them to make a similar list.
  • Prioritize the items in order of importance, with level 1 items being most important.

This list will be the foundation of your requirements. It’s your business’ list of needs that must be met. Any software packages or proposals should address all of these items. If you’re going to make a change it has to be worth the cost, effort and disruptions to your business.

Without this list you are flying blind and the chances of implementing the right system for your business fall somewhere between slim and none.

You should also have another list of features that you would like but that aren’t deal breakers. Some of these items may be available as part of the off-the-shelf or custom software you’re considering. They can be very helpful if you need to decide between multiple final candidates. They may also offer some insight into your business' needs to any consultants or developers you share them with.

The next blog posts — A Charlie Brown Project, Eli the Giant, and Veronica — are going to cover some of the obstacles of implementing a new system. Implementation can have its moments, but the effort you put in upfront is what will pay off the most in the end.

If you're looking for something to do while you're waiting for me to finish those blog posts, you can always start your list.

more posts by this author

more posts in this section

Contact Us

ElixWare Software Solutions
P: (859) 644-2771


About Us

We are a small team with a lot of experience, specializing in software development, design, and workflow, process & project management. We are fiercely dedicated to helping you do what you do best — run your business — without getting bogged down in the mountains of paper and hours of screen time required to do it. We are equally dedicated to protecting your privacy and your data. Learn more about our privacy policy.