4 reasons why DIY technologies fail


According to Forbes, “Technology projects fail at an astounding rate — 90% fail to deliver any measurable ROI.”1

WOW. So bright-eyed procurement and finance professionals investing in the promise of a shiny new technology solution to solve all their issues will be disappointed 9 out of 10 times. This is a global problem, not just an American one.

More often than not, the potential of a new technology solution quickly fades into post-implementation disillusionment, disappointment, and disuse. The dust on your new technology gathers faster than any hope of process transformation or measurable results. One could argue that this is because technology solutions are not really solutions at all, but rather do-it-yourself software tools to support business processes.

Acknowledging that most technology point solutions are DIY software applications, let’s walk through the four common reasons these solutions can fail, and how Corcentric’s Managed Services provide the set-up for success, instead.

Reason #1: Writing checks your team can’t cash

The very notion of DIY is, well, do-it-yourself. Which is to say, that it is up to you and your team to maximize the adoption and utilization of the tools that you select and implement in order to get the return on investment that was developed in your buying cycle (whether by you or the provider).

The reality is, most finance professionals (procurement, AP, AR, treasury) are not trained on how to deploy, manage, utilize, and maintain complex software applications. Furthermore, most organizations don’t have the excess resource capacity to hire resources that do.

Occasionally, IT resources can provide support, however these teams are often stretched thin and lack the business acumen to truly drive system administration beyond a reactive model. According to Boston Consulting Group, “Technology is important, but the people dimension (organization, operating model, processes, and culture) is usually the determining factor. Organizational inertia from deeply rooted behaviors is a big impediment.”2

With managed services, you can leave the expertise required for deployment and management of these solutions to the experts. With an advisory-led implementation approach, Corcentric helps get the deployment right from the beginning, with business process experts as the tip of the spear on design and change management. With our business model, after go-live, our managed services team stays with you for the life of our partnership to manage, maintain, and drive continuous improvement.

Reason #2: Perception is reality

“There’s an app for that” has ingrained the expectation that there is a technology solution for every problem and, furthermore, that technology in and of itself is a solution. It’s not. It has a very valuable role to play, indeed: but organizations not investing in technology solutions to drive efficiencies, cost reduction, risk mitigation, and business visibility and scalability are likely to fall behind the competition.

However, the idea that the software solution your department has just invested in is the panacea to any and all issues you may face in the scope of that application is flawed. Software enables organizations to attain benefits otherwise not possible and in shorter timelines, but it must be deployed and utilized correctly. The perception that software tools are cure-all remedies leads to decisions in implementation and post-implementation management that negatively impact the ability to attain ROI.

Common mistakes include over-use of features (“Why have a 3-step process when we can have 7!”), under-investment in system administration and continuous improvement (“IT can own this moving forward — it should practically manage itself!”), and reliance on unrealistic stakeholder participation (“The suppliers will just have to log in”).

Instead, by developing a holistic perspective on how to best optimize business processes — both inter- and intra- department, and inter-and intra-company — and the right partner who shares your aligned objectives, you can leverage technology to drive results in partnership with the broader organization.

No matter what software provider you choose, there is work to be done. System administration, workflow monitoring, identifying suppliers behaving badly (e.g., not submitting invoices correctly, delinquent in updating expired documents, etc.), identifying users behaving badly (e.g., items awaiting approval, non-compliance, etc.), alleviating bottlenecks, and identifying opportunities for enhancement are all moving targets that require continuous focus. The attention and pattern recognition required to manage the operational tasks to keep the system going, while also driving continuous improvement, requires expertise that goes beyond just adding to someone’s workload.

Reason # 3: Is the end result in focus?

Habit # 2 of highly effective people: begin with the end in mind.3 This can also be applied to highly effective organizations. However, if you look at how most organizations make decisions, objectives are set at the highest level, then handed down to the rest of the management team to develop strategies to achieve these outcomes. These in turn then become projects at the departmental level.

What happens during this game of telephone is that the original point of the initiative is lost! The person or team in charge of selecting and contracting with a software provider is focused on just that, getting to the point of a selected and contracted vendor. The person or team in charge of deploying the solution is focused on just that, getting to go-live (and nothing beyond that).

This short-term and myopic approach leads to sub-optimal outcomes as decisions are focused on getting to the next step, and not in relation to the target business outcomes of the organization. Depending on how segmented these projects become, organizations are often left with several DIY solutions stacked on top of each other that actually end up creating more of the friction they were intended to alleviate.

DIY software investments inherently create a divergence of objective between the parties involved: The buyer wants the technology to solve their problem; the software provider wants a subscription to their platform, and; the 3rd-party system implementer simply wants to get to go-live. With the managed services approach, Corcentric has created a deployment model where objectives are aligned from the beginning, and there is a mutual investment to solve business problems and measure success against that business case. Organizations get all the benefits of software, without the risk and headaches that come with deployment, management, and ROI attainment.

Reason # 4: What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed

Speaking of target business outcomes, let’s assume organizations are building a relevant business case as part of the buying process for selecting a technology provider. How many are checking their progress against that business case 6, 12, 18 months later? How many have the ability to do so, let alone the baselines and targets associated with good business objective management.

Stagnation is a common result of DIY technology implementations. The reasons for this are varied, but typically include:

  • Poor post-go-live management and planning
  • Lack of system administration bandwidth and expertise
  • User turnover
  • Processes drifting back into business-as-usual

At the end of the day, technology deployment decisions are made with the information available at the time, which is often limited given business process visibility and scalability are often the problems these applications are trying to solve.

Continuous improvement simply cannot happen without a dedicated staff with the relevant expertise to drive pattern recognition, problem identification, solution development, and success tracking. For most organizations, back-office management of transactional business processes and the technology to facilitate them is simply not a core competency. At Corcentric, back-office processes and technology are our core competencies. These can be scaled to support any organization looking for step-change results through our managed services

Corcentric Managed Services

When it comes to financial technology (fintech), if you’re not planning for success, then your business plan is being set up for failure. By partnering with Corcentric, you trade DIY uncertainty for all the advantages of a guided success strategy, including:

  • Business outcomes as-a-service​
  • Accelerated time-to-value​​
  • Inherent ROI via shared risk model​​
  • Continuous improvement / incremental returns​​
  • Improved organizational agility and scalability​

If you’re ready to learn more about how your company can start benefitting from Corcentric Managed Services, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  1. Forbes.com, 3 Main Reasons Why Big Technology Projects Fail – & Why Many Companies Should Just Never Do Them, March 25, 2021.
  2. Boston Consulting Group, Flipping the Odds of Digital Transformation Success, October 2020.
  3. FranklinCovey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,® www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits.