Through 15 years of working in software development across three companies, it is a common scenario that when a new manager comes into a client's business, your software solution suddenly becomes a "Reviewed and Replaced" solution. It raises the question as to why this happens and why it is such a predictable pattern.

1. A new manager may be appointed with the express purpose of change. This change might be streamlining an existing processes, a change of business focus, expansion, change in personnel or their roles within the organization - any number of items may come under review. Your solution may simply no longer be 'best fit' for this new vision. In some instances it is clear this is a valid assessment for example, the client's business might move to a multi-company structure and your software does not have the structural or reporting capacity to cope with this. In other instances, it is evident that the existing solution has not been accurately compared to the alternatives and you may never be able to understand why. I once received an email from a client telling me the reason for changing was because the new program would integrate with XYZ program and this would help streamline their business. Their existing solution also integrated with XYZ program, which they knew! If the client does not want to stay with your solution, you may be better to let them walk away, rather than invest time and energy in trying to manage a new manager who will never be satisfied.

2. A manager moves from one business to another and replaces the existing programs with ones they have used before. I certainly have benefited from managers moving from business to business over the years! When you are familiar with a program and how it works you come to trust that it is reliable. You are familiar with what it will provide you and how to easily get supporting evidence to analyse what is happening in your business. Particularly if you are new to a business, when you are initially trying to find what the strengths and weaknesses are, what staff strengths and weaknesses are, who is responsible for what and what priority issues need to be addressed in, for example. To be able to extract data from a program you trust, to support or guide you with your decisions can be a great relief and comfort. I have also wondered from time to time, if a manager who puts in new software that they understand, elevates their position of power and control too!

As software vendors, beware of the 'new manager syndrome'. Let's hope you are on the receiving end of point number 2 and not the number 1! In one company we actually set up a program to try and identify early if client personnel were changing and to offer the new employees free training on our solution, to try and make them feel comfortable with us and the product. We would try and initiate the building of rapport and relationships with new managers. While you may make best effort to proactively manage new managers, often this is out of your control.

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