Performance Improvement

February 22, 2022

Focus On the Hole, Not the Drill: Should you be buying a product, the solution to a problem, or perhaps something more?

ERPs for Long Term Solutions - BT Partners

Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt is rather famous for saying, “People don’t want to buy a drill and a quarter-inch bit. They want a quarter-inch hole!” To bring this analogy into the business world: businesses spend money to solve a problem, to get a job done. No surprises there, perhaps, but what if solving a problem is no longer the competitive (or survival) advantage it once was? What if today’s businesses need more than a short-term problem-solving tool?

Looking Beyond the Hole

At BT Partners, we’ve long understood the fact that companies only spend money to solve problems—and we’ve built our business on finding financial management solutions to complex business problems. However, we’ve also been seeing an exciting shift in the paradigm. Companies are looking beyond solving short-term problems; they want tools and guidance that can adapt and be repurposed to add value for the long term.

We believe that going forward, businesses won’t buy financial and accounting software only for the holes it drills or problems it solves, but for the long-term insights it provides. To put it another way: businesses want software that helps them pinpoint where and when they should drill the hole in the first place.

Missing the Mark

Just 24% of respondents in a 2021 survey of Fortune 1000 companies said that they thought their organization was data-driven this past year. Actionable insights appear to be the missing link for companies that want to drive business outcomes from their data.

These firms bought the drill and the bit, and may even have drilled that first hole, but they have no reliable way of knowing where the next hole should go. They bought financial management solutions to solve their business challenges, yet the challenges are a moving target. What went wrong? We’ve said it before, today’s cloud financial management solutions are all pretty good, and they all provide many of the same transactional capabilities. In a sea of parity, then, where does one look for differentiators to actually make a difference and drive value in your business?

Zeroing In On the Mark

While many financial management solutions claim to provide actionable insights, Sage Intacct backs up the claim with some of the most powerful data analytics tools available. The intuitive dashboards, preconfigured reports, and drag and drop report customizations allow companies to easily turn data into insight. Actionable insight. Profitable insight. Plus, new predictive analytics, visual analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities increase the value of the solution with every new version.

In addition to its data analytics tools, Sage Intacct supports a growing ecosystem of complementary functionality—something like an entire home improvement store that offers more than just drills and bits. The product’s tight integration with Salesforce is at the forefront, but the Sage Intacct Marketplace is packed with hundreds of add-on solutions designed to extend the functionality, reach, breadth, and longevity of the solution.

Measure Twice and Cut Once

Sage Intacct is a solution that’s capable of helping you hit the mark, but you’ll increase your success rate if you combine the software with a partner who can help you discover and leverage the capabilities within—and apply them to your unique business processes. Something of a belt and suspenders approach or a pencil and pencil sharpener. (Okay, we’re done with the analogies.)

What are your thoughts? Are you seeing the same shift we’re seeing? Is your company starting to look beyond short-term problem solving toward long-term value and insight? We’d love to join your conversations—let’s get in touch.

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