Completely new options with subscriptions
Contract models based on subscriptions are experiencing an outright boom right now. We only used to think of them in the context of newspapers and magazines, but nowadays you come across them all over the place. Just think about music or films, for example: instead of buying or downloading individual CDs or films for a fixed price, we now rely on streaming services which we pay a relatively low sum for every month. Subscriptions like this mean we can access an almost unlimited selection of songs and films or TV-series and have regular access to brand new products as well.
This exact same model works well in the software world too. Full-scale ERP programs are accessible via subscriptions as well as popular applications like Word, Excel and Outlook.
More flexibility with subscriptions
The advantages are clear: subscriptions make you flexible. Applications can be tailored individually to current needs. Staying with the example of the well-known Office packages, O365 enables us to extend our standard package any time we like. So we can add on services such as OneDrive or Skype.
Let us take a look at some specific examples in the waste disposal sector. The possibilities being opened up in this digital age are changing business processes more and more here – as they are in many sectors.
Take order entry for example – a process which can be almost completely automated today. Customer portals can also play an important role in situations like this. Suddenly customers are not only connected to us via telephone or email, they can also view contract data or place a container order directly out of their own ERP solution. This enables many processes to be automated, such as creating and processing orders or dispatching documents to the subcontractor, which in turn has an impact on the user licences which a company needs to handle orders in its own system. The flexibility of having a subscription enables us to react quickly to changes in our business processes.
High investments have to be considered carefully. Unless you are made of money, nobody wants to throw their money around. And especially not when we are talking about large sums of money.
When a company is faced with the decision of introducing or replacing an ERP solution, it is, among other things, the high investment costs involved in new company solutions which make the management break out in a cold sweat.
Subscriptions can also be an attractive model for smaller companies or start-ups, in particular, as they can then set themselves up with a professional IT infrastructure right from the beginning without having to invest large amounts of money all at once.
Spending money can be painful. Especially if you notice too late that what you bought is not what you really need.
Imagine you’re buying a car: should you buy an SUV, an estate, a small hatchback or maybe a convertible after all? It’s not always easy to work out which model makes most sense. Going on a skiing trip and you need a big car for all your equipment. If the sun is shining, maybe a convertible is best. Live in a big city where it’s practically impossible to find a parking space without driving round and round the block, then a small car is what you need. Of course, we can keep costs down by paying monthly leasing fees. But what if I choose a small car because I live in a large city today, and tomorrow I regret it because I start work in another city and have to commute. Of course, I can do this in a small car too – but it is not ideal.
Some car manufacturers have recognised this situation already. The trend even goes so far that some people aren’t just talking about getting a new car every couple of years or so but about getting a new one very month. Whether it’s an Audi A8 today, or a Tesla tomorrow, it doesn’t really make much difference, as the subscription means we can always choose exactly the right car to meet the needs we have right now.
The same goes for ERP systems. Subscriptions give companies the possibility to add functions and modules and to test them before they spend a lot on a solution that in the end might be pretty good but doesn’t really live up to their expectations.
Subscriptions mean you can reinvent yourself and your solution again and again according to a building block principle and only pay for exactly what you need. You can test everything first and reduce the risks by taking out a subscription instead of making a purchase. I, for one, think this is a great new alternative.