# Insights

Jan 22, 2020

Adopt vs. adapt: Which approach is best for your business?

Reading time: Eight minutes

Fabien Oliveira, Chief Product Officer at Sopra Banking Software, examines the differences between the adapt and adopt approaches, and which one could be best for your business.

With customer behavior changing and new software and technology driving business, it’s more important than ever for companies to keep up with the latest innovations.  

This means keeping a close eye on the market and regularly updating software. But with so many aspects of a business now reliant on technology, decision makers now face the problem of choosing an approach that allows them to stay on top of the latest innovations without maxing out on their budgets.   

The traditional response to this problem has been what we would call the “adapt” approach, where businesses continuously modify the software they buy to fit their internal processes. However, this model is no longer fit for service. At Sopra Banking Software, we believe a fresh approach is required – one where the business processes change to suit best practice software solutions. This new approach is what we call “adopt.”    

‘Adapt’ and the problem with the status quo

So, what exactly is wrong with the “adapt” approach, and why are so many businesses still using it  

There was a time when “adapt” made sense from a business perspective. It was easier for businesses to modify, through hard-coded edits, their existing software than their internal processes.  

But times have changed.  

With so many well-funded startups disrupting industries, leveraging innovations is now a question of survival for most businesses. And time-to-market has become a key priority.  

As such, businesses rely on software for almost every facet of their operations. To keep up with competition and changing customer demands, software requires regular updates and maintenance. This means that adapting technology and updates to suit a business’s processes has become an inefficient and expensive approach. Why? Because modified, “adapted” software is often harder to update and maintain, as it includes lines of codes that are specific to the implementation project.  

Businesses that maintain faith in the “adapt” approach claim that it offers flexible solutions to novel problems, and that the “adapt-as-you-go” methodology is architected in a way to accommodate changes through hard-coded modifications and localization. However, this doesn’t take into account the long-term risks that come with such an approach. 

Software adapted to meet a business’s processes is difficult to implement and expensive to update and maintain, and it discourages decision makers from opting for new, more innovative software better suited to the market’s needs. Simply put, it freezes innovations while increasing costs.  

The “adapt” approach to software and technology is now a short-term solution that is more costly and less efficient than its alternative, and one that harms the potential innovation of a business. 

The ‘adopt’ approach

At Sopra Banking Software, we believe there is an alternative approach to “adapt” that allows businesses to keep up to date with the latest in innovative software, while also saving time and money. That approach is “adopt,” where businesses choose to change their processes to suit innovative technology and software solutions.  

While it may sound counter intuitive to some, changing business processes rather than software is a far more efficient and sustainable methodology in the digital era.  

With the “adopt” approach, businesses choose tried-and-tested, best-practice software that has been proven to be effective. The software is implemented and maintained by specialized experts, which not only means businesses can be sure they’re in safe hands, but also that they’re saving precious resources they can reallocate to other areas. This ultimately keeps long-term software costs under control and puts innovation in the hands of the expert IT vendors.  

Let’s look at an example of the “adopt” approach in action, and why – when done well – it’s favored by the market.   

Slack is a real-time communications tool preferred by businesses and used by over 3 million paid customers. Even large companies with legacy internal communication tools have made the transition to Slack because it’s user friendly, scalable, it integrates well with other software and it updates itself.  

In workplaces that have adopted Slack, internal communications have changed dramatically, with team members shifting from email to direct messages and departmental group chats. As a result, daily inbox size has been reduced by up to 80 percent in some cases, according to one study. Furthermore, businesses using Slack often integrate it with other tools, such as CRMs, survey applications and more.  

These businesses didn’t reject Slack because it didn’t fit into their existing internal processes. Rather, they chose to change those processes, including how employees communicate and work with other tools, in order to incorporate a best practice software that improved their day-to-day operations.   

Slack shows the benefits that can come when a business chooses to change its internal processes in order to adopt best practice software. But adoption goes far beyond just internal communications tools. It can be applied to any technology process or function within a business on any scale.  

Sopra Banking Software and the ‘adopt’ solution

The “adopt” approach is something we feel passionately about at Sopra Banking Software. We have worked with hundreds of banks and financial institutions around the world, helping them taking advantage of technological innovations to create efficient, competitive and agile organizations.  

Our most successful implementations are the ones where our clients resist hard coding changes into the core of our software and instead choose to transform their internal processes, unlocking the true power of technology.  

Indeed, digital transformation is not really about updating your technology stack. Rather, it is about leveraging new possibilities offered by technology to completely rethink an organization, its design and business model.  

The “adopt” methodology is all about streamlining implementation, quickly improving efficiency and having a system that is stable, upgradable and maintainable. It requires openness to organizational change, rather than creating a customized software solution that’s almost impossible to maintain.  

This “adopt” approach often gives our clients the “first-mover advantage” and equips them with a long-term solution so they can concentrate their investments on improving customer experience, rather than wasting time and money on custom software. 

‘Adopt’: The methodology for a new age of business

Nowadays, the focus of business has changed. Digital transformation and time-to-market have become key opportunities for companies of all shapes and sizes. And market differentiation has shifted to pricing models and digital offerings. In the midst of all this change, businesses need to also concentrate their efforts on innovating their products and services to successfully compete on the market.  

It goes without saying that this is a tall order, no matter the size of the business. As such, businesses need to simplify their processes as much as possible so that they can focus on protecting against current and future disruptions, while themselves becoming disruptive innovators in their industries. 

This, of course, requires expert help. Businesses wanting to profit from the age of digital disruption rather than struggle in it need to be able to rely on tried-and-tested solutions. This doesn’t mean complicating systems further by introducing a range of different processes and functions that require constant management. Instead, it means trusting in experienced providers to manage everything, from implementation to updates.   

The world of business has shifted. Adapting pre-existing solutions on an ad-hoc basis to meet legacy processes is no longer viable. Businesses wanting to thrive in the new landscape need to turn to adoption instead. 

Fabien Oliveira, Chief Product Officer at Sopra Banking Software