Our instinctive response to the question of providing information systems for our business is that we are better off leaving it to the "experts" - computers are far too complex for us to understand either them or the people that work with them. However unless we make the effort to do so we will remain at the mercy of an industry that is increasingly fragmented and confused about its own reason for existence.
At the same time as software companies are adding ever more features to their software and devising ever more creative ways of extracting income streams from their clients, those same clients are becoming ever more aware that the systems on offer are failing to provide their businesses with accurate, reliable and timely information targeted at their unique needs.
It is a practical impossibility for a software company to know in advance what our business needs. The best they can do is provide every feature they think we might need in the hope that they are providing enough to convince us to buy their software. When we finally settle on a product what we will most likely get is software that meets some of our needs but not all of them together with a host of other features that we will probably never need or use.
In order to provide our business with the software it needs we should resist the temptation to look for a cheap or easy solution. Instead we should engage business and IT professionals with a proven track record in business systems and software development who will take the time necessary to understand our business and work closely with us to develop our own customized systems. In reality we have NO OTHER OPTION.