Turnkey Solutions: Enough for Your Growing Business?

Turnkey Solutions: Breaking Down the Approach for SMBs

Turnkey solutions are ready-to-go, full package solutions which are easily deployed or implemented in a business.

It stands in contrast to a custom-designed solution, which is built specifically for the company in mind.

Turnkey solutions have advantages and disadvantages depending on the business, its size, industry, or needs of the decision-maker.

There are many routes to modernizing a business. Digital transformation, which seeks the fundamental redesign of a company using digital technology to improve the customer experience, is widely regarded by business experts as a critical evolution.

However, digital transformation is a robust process and requires extensive planning.

Therefore, some companies may opt for turnkey solutions to fulfill their business process needs.

Before Opting for a Turnkey Solution

A turnkey solution is a lightweight strategy to gain the functionality a business needs quickly and in a cost-effective manner. However, before opting for a turnkey solution:

  1. Analyze the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Will this solution adequately complement the former and mitigate the latter?
  2. Study the processes that will change. Does this solution demonstrate scalability, or will it need to be replaced if a business grows or shrinks?
  3. Consider the employees or users who will primarily use this solution. How will it affect the way they work?
  4. Calculate the long-term costs of the solution. While it may cost less up front, are there potentials for hidden fees or additional expenditures later? Likewise, will a turnkey solution be more effective than a break/fix model?

turnkey solutions when are they useful graphic

Is a Turnkey Solution the Best?

A turnkey solution may be appropriate for a particular business, particularly when:

  • Minimal customization is acceptable or even preferred.
  • Cost-savings are a priority. Turnkey solutions tend to be less costly than custom-built solutions.
  • The company needs a tried and tested strategy, not an experimental custom one.
  • The specific processes affected don’t have any of the peculiarities which often appear in the operations of small businesses. For example, specific document management processes may be relatively unique to a company.
  • Full digital transformation is not possible in a process or department.

In general, turnkey solutions are reasonable when a company needs a ready-to-go solution that doesn’t need a lot of customization.

For many growing SMBs, this may be all they need. If your digital transformation plan is centered around upgrading your technology infrastructure, for example, turnkey solutions could suit you adequately enough.

An obvious example of a turnkey solution which will service the majority of businesses right out the box would be an application such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, a solution that is designed to accommodate a wide array of everyday professional needs without any tinkering.

Another example would be a public cloud storage solution for your data. While many businesses require a more personalized private data center, the security of modern public data centers means many are content to utilize them for their sensitive data without any customization necessary.

However, turnkey solutions and a comprehensive digital transformation program can be difficult partners. Here’s why:

Digital Transformation and Turnkey Solutions

While it may be tempting to deploy turnkey solutions to simplify an overall digital transformation, they can quickly become problematic.

Turnkey solutions can impose several limitations on the digital transformation process and actually be counterproductive for a growing SMB.

What might be useful in the short-term may cause trouble down the line as you seek to expand or retract your solutions.

1. Digital Transformation tends to be highly customized

A company’s digital transformation strategy is likely to be highly customized to that specific business.

Roughly a third (34%) of companies have a digital strategy in place, 31% are planning to introduce a strategy, and 35% have no plans at all

In contrast, a turnkey solution has a lower up-front cost because it’s a single product reproduced en masse.

Customization abilities are diminished or non-existent, which will require further customization in other areas to make sure the solution fits.

The result is a more complex series of discrete solutions which may prove more difficult to implement than a unified workplace with a single system.

2. Turnkey solutions encourage businesses to adapt to technology rather than adopt the technology needed for their goals

A digital transformation should be guided by a vision which the CEO and CIO have for what to achieve with the process.

If that doesn’t exist, the digital transformation will likely fail.

Around 70% of companies experience failure with their digital transformations because they lack a proper, comprehensive strategy

As such, altering the direction of your digital transformation goals—particularly work processes and culture changes—based on the turnkey technologies chosen.

Always identify goals first and decide what tools or strategies your company needs to achieve them.

A digital transformation should not limit you; it should give you the impetus to drive your business forward.

3. Turnkey solutions can inhibit integration.

Ready-to-go solutions sometimes lack integration abilities so that the piece of software or technology works seamlessly with other business processes.

This is particularly the case with older-style legacy systems, and one of the reasons that cloud solutions are increasing in prominence.

For example, a turnkey payroll solution, such as software or subscription, may not come with the capability to interface with a printing environment to streamline the flow of documents like invoices or bills.

If a company is capable of fully transforming digitally, it is unlikely that relying on turnkey solutions will be totally adequate going forward into the future.

Instead, consider the use of a customized enterprise resource planning solution that is tailored for your organization.

The Benefits of ERPs

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the use of software to manage and monitor the main business processes in an integrated environment.

An ERP relies on a variety of modules to bring the management of a process under one roof. They have several advantages, including:

  • The ability to operate in real time
  • Support for all applications in a business process
  • Consistency to look and feel across modules
  • Flexibility in deployment. In-house, cloud and SaaS options exist
  • Incorporation of best practices according to each business process
  • Systematization of inventories and processes
  • The ability to link and analyze the effectiveness of existing processes
  • Room for additional customization as necessary

ERPs function best when they’ve been designed and implemented with specific organizational processes in-mind.

erp market growth graphic

Here at Impact Networking, we take a deep dive into assessing the processes of a business so we can understand how to best implement and configure the right tools for your needs at a fixed price.

There are MSPs who offer off-the-shelf solutions, but we typically favor the approach of providing a customized solution with a ‘no surprises’ method for costs.

That way the client knows exactly what they’re getting, doesn’t miss out on anything they need, and doesn’t have to contend with hidden costs or additional implementation hours for future implementation.

Pros and Cons of Turnkey Solutions

Turnkey solutions have advantages and disadvantages for growing SMBs.

Benefits include:

  • Lower costs
  • Reduced implementation time
  • Off-the-shelf
  • Increased practicality

Problems include:

  • Higher long-term costs with break/fix models
  • Paying for more than what’s needed
  • Loss of competitive edge
  • Insufficient capabilities and lack of customization

Choosing Between Turnkey Solutions vs. Custom Built

Turnkey solutions are undoubtedly appropriate for some solutions. However, for digital transformation, such solutions often fall short. In either option, having dedicated support from a professional can help guide a business to the right options.

Want to Learn More?

Impact offers Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with a fixed-fee implementation model, meaning no estimates or hidden costs, just one upfront fee. Impact’s detailed assessment of a company’s business processes ensures that Business Central will be implemented successfully.

To learn more about Impact’s Enterprise Solutions department and ERP offering, call 866.544.7491 or visit www.impactmybiz.com/erp.