Articles - 4 min read

What’s the true cost of bad software?

AUTHOR Lou Crane

DATE Apr 2020


There’s a reason why updating a company’s software stays on the to-do list for years. It’s cited as one of the most avoided business decisions and is routinely thrown out of board meetings because directors can’t face the perceived risk.

It is true to varying degrees that if you get it wrong, a lot can go wrong so here are our 7 top ‘PLEASE TAKE NOTE’ points before you attempt it on your own.

1. Replacing the mistake
This is an obvious cost and leaves you with the following options:
1. Make the mistake work for now
2. Go back to whatever you were using before
3. Dive back in, learn from errors and engage someone who can help

One and two don’t feel very satisfying and three is costly. You also need to consider the cost of reinstalling, hosting and ongoing contracts. The end result is a further delay in getting the software that is needed to make improvements to the business.

2. Changing your long-established processes to fit the new software
It could be that your software purchase is off-the-shelf and doesn’t quite mirror what you do so you decide to make the change in the business operations instead. Depending on what change is required, it could mean staff training, downtime and customer dissatisfaction whilst you familiarise yourself with the new methodologies.

If the new software has been custom built for you but they just didn’t understand what you needed, you’ll be faced with the same decision: change or abandon.

3. Poor staff engagement
A brand-new system can result in limited uptake from the staff who are expected to use it when they can’t see the value in it. If there was no R&D with the staff to see what would work for them, no focus groups or involvement in decision making, you won’t create evangelists and the data will be below standard, giving you inaccurate metrics.

Be aware that the whole process may also affect attitudes towards leadership with some ability and trust issues.

4. The development company lose interest and won’t help you to grow the software
The whole point of software to run systems is so that it encourages growth. You won’t know exactly what you need at the outset so you need to ensure that whatever product you end up with, is extensible, future proof and clever. That will allow you to develop to suit your mid to long term plans to at least 10 – 15 years.

5. Uncovering the unknowns when it’s too late
A good, efficient software build will uncover requirements at the beginning you didn’t know you would benefit from, but if this initial phase is done badly, these may only be discovered during the build or at the end when it is much more costly and when compromises then have to be made.

6. What do your customers make of it
Their perception of you is what keeps the business going. If they start to experience delays, errors, poor or inconsistent service, you are likely to lose sales and reputation.
A report from Inside Retail states,
“companies that fail to deliver quality customer service experiences may be losing loyal customers, as well as sales”

This is nothing new and it used to be just about staff training but we can no longer hold humans completely accountable if they are being failed by the software.

7. Time is all we’ve got
If schedules creep or worse, run into the far distance, everything else blows up – money, resources, enthusiasm, opportunity, milestones, belief, targets…

BUT SOFTWARE EXECUTED CORRECTLY brings freedom and growth. So do your research and bring someone in at the beginning who will treat it as seriously as you and who will support you to make the right decisions.
When a client chooses us, they end up saving thousands of their budget and gain long-term investment in their business.