Keep It Simple26 Sep

Two recent articles I read form a fascinating contradiction. Naomi Grossman on bMighty reviews a Rubicon Consulting report that the technology and philosophies of small to mid-sized businesses. Apparently SMBs don’t like the term and actively shun products targeted to their use.

…many small and midsize businesses don’t like ‘less aspirational’ names like ‘Small Business Edition’ or ‘Starter edition’. Some even find those titles vaguely insulting. Surprise, surprise — many smaller companies look to buy the ‘Enterprise edition’ whenever they can afford it.

Contrast this with Rob Preston’s column about simplifying your technology. We all know large businesses that suffer from bloated infrastructure and overly customized applications. Regardless of the ownership costs, it’s hard to rip these things out once their firmly embedded in your organization.

So SMBs tend to prefer the complex “enterprise” versions of software while large corporations struggle against overly complicated technology. See the link here?

The answer, I believe, lies in an organization’s commitment from the very start to keep their processes as simplified as possible. I have no real statistic to quote here, but I’m sure that something like 90% of what Business A does must be exactly the same as Business B. Accounting, HR, IT, even Sales. It doesn’t matter where you go, those functions are basically the same.

If you’re building a business today, approach your non-core activities by finding the best practice solution and adopting it. Period. That 20% that doesn’t fit what your company already does? Forget about it. We’re talking about your non-core activities. They don’t offer you any competitive advantage. So putting in all the workarounds to get that 80% closer to 100% only increases your complexity. You’re going to regret that someday.

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