Article Written by Stewart Gray - 29/08/2019
As with most things in life, there is rarely a truly simple answer to a question... One we want to start to delve into is the impact software can have on your business and reflect on the advantages of implementing new solutions.
I love it when a potential client or someone at a networking event hits me with this question, "What impact can software really have on my business?"
let's get the theme of this 'no simple answer' thing going. This is an easy and a hard question to answer. Straight off the cuff, I could examine their reliance on their mobile phone for apps, social media, even the simple need to text, and that could just be from a personal perspective. When we enter the business realm, however, some software is deeply ingrained, and some businesses use excessive amounts of labour maintaining the longwinded processes they already have in place, to even consider new ideas or concepts.
For example, Microsoft Office is one of most widely utilised office software packages in the world, for this reason, in almost any office you will find documents in Microsoft Word, and usually unnecessary amounts of excel spreadsheets that are described as 'required.'
Double Handling Between Excel & Word
What many businesses overlook is the opportunity to improve processes by automating tasks or optimizing workflows. Many of our customers came to us using basic Microsoft products to manage their business, sometimes they even had manual processes that still needed pen and paper at several stages.... but this is the 21st century, and in the 21st century, efficiency and innovation is key to performing against the competition. To keep ahead of the game and stay on the edge there are several things you want software to help with.
Looking at some of the areas, we can already start to show where savings can be made. Implementing a new piece of software should also act as an opportunity to review the business processes you are digitizing. A high volume of businesses are victims of the legacy processing, the age-old "we've just always done this." That doesn't mean there aren't better, faster ways to do the job, this is where companies can make a quick win when it comes to overhauling how they do things. In a world where the working pace continues to increase, we all need to be able to adapt quickly, and the first step to that is breaking down what you do, and then asking the question, why do we do that? Is it necessary? This begins a long and continually developing process.
Team Planning Session
One of the key aspects to having a successful installation is the attitude of the users, in most cases, this will be your employees or your customers, potentially both! If you can solve some of their problems and act on feedback the morale of staff will rise, and the users' experience will improve. This is more important than it seems, and most businesses overlook this too. Think about it the next time you hear repetitive complaints about systems in your workplace though...
Up until this point I've tried to highlight is that software can act as a gateway to understanding the working parts of your business. Some projects I have personally worked on have seen many team members getting the calculators out only to find out we didn't truly understand how systems were producing answers - a perfect example of legacy problems!
Preparing for new systems - especially during the plan and design stage of bespoke solution creation - offers team-building opportunities to incorporate all of the above points and allows all departments to put their cards on the table. Allowing staff to influence the system engages them directly and gets them to think about their role from a different angle, it also allows them to see how their role fits into the big picture.
The final thing that will definitely impact your business is data! I will briefly cover this topic as we have a small article on the benefits of data systems and an article on driving business using data analysis which covers things in a bit more detail between them. With software comes the opportunity to collect many types of data from many sources. The more data you have the more questions you can ask and answer, and with the right system, this can be done pretty quickly. As mentioned in the accessibility point, no one misses a beat, and this means decisions can also be made quickly. The whole point is to pull all the people and processes in and keep them all on the same page. Systems should pull companies together.
As mentioned at the start of this article, the answer to this question is broad and subjective depending on what you're looking for and what type of business you run. This is the kind of subject I want to dive into a lot further and hopefully answer more specific questions regarding software and its benefits. If you have any questions you want to be answered please don't hesitate to ask us, part of our job is to keep you informed!
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