Putting software to work

November 5, 2014 -  By

 

A decade ago, there were only a handful of green industry software options. Thanks to the cloud and the advent of mobile technologies, many other programs are viable for landscape and lawn care companies.

We selected this month’s cover story—and compiled its associated chart—because readers asked us to.

“Perhaps this has been done recently and I missed it—a comprehensive article, or series of articles, about software programs utilized in our green industry?”

“Have you done any surveys on the lawn maintenance software available? If not, please think about doing so. Also, do you have any recommendations?”

Those are just a few requests we’ve received on this topic over the last few years. It’s a tough one to tackle because our readers’ needs are so varied due to the variety of service offerings and range of company sizes.

That’s why we sought to compile all the programs we could find that said they catered to the green industry into one chart. (Thanks to Associate Editor Sarah Pfledderer for her painstaking reportage!) She’s come up with a place for you to start your search.

We also asked our Editorial Advisory Board for its advice about implementing new software (see here). One of Jody Shilan’s comments struck me based on my own experiences and a book I read recently. In addition to the quote we printed from him at right, he offered this: “Find something that fits the way you currently work, not the other way around. If you have to change your processes to accommodate the software, then it probably isn’t a good fit.”

How many companies implement software programs that don’t get used? More than we can count.

That brings me to the book I mentioned, which was given to me at a company meeting by our CEO. He challenged us to read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

It points out how a part of the brain called the basal ganglia plays a significant role in habits. Mental activity in this region of the brain decreases as a behavior becomes habitual.

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making,” Duhigg says. “It stops working so hard or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.”

Shilan’s point is valid. It’s tough to change when the “old way” is automatic. So when it comes time to upgrade your software, determine if your company’s way of working—in other words, its habits—is something you want to amplify with a new program. Or maybe it’s time for some new processes? I know the realist in Shilan would say it’s unlikely most companies will change. He’s right, of course. But The Power of Habit explains that it may be unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

As Duhigg puts it: “Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp and the only option left is to get to work.”

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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