Research suggests that a vast amount of office time (as much as 50%) is spent conducting necessary but unproductive tasks, and that often the reason for this is the use of inappropriate or outdated computer systems. Sadly, there is a tendency for IT departments to stick with ‘best of breed’ systems without doing any real analysis of how appropriate these systems are to the business task at hand. Worse still their priority in the choice of these systems is ease of maintenance – in other words making their own lives as straight forward as possible rather than prioritising the productivity of key business functions. To help you avoid some of these pitfalls we thought we should offer a few pointers so you can examine the workings of your own business to see if there are signs that a system could help.
6 signs that your business needs a system:
- Inefficient and inconsistent processes. Do you find that teams and team members are working in a different way with little or no common processes?
- Scattered information. Are teams still using spreadsheets or paper to manage important processes? Do you find that information is literally everywhere—in multiple applications, in notebooks, in spreadsheets, on someone’s iPad? Wherever it is, it never seems to be where it needs to be? According to The Paperless Project, U.S. managers spend an average of four weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabelled, un-tracked, or “lost” papers. If this sounds familiar your business is crying out for a system.
- Do any parts of your business process involve staff writing on paper? Especially into duplicate books or paper forms.
- It feels like you need hundreds of spreadsheets for your business to run. Are your teams regularly inputting information into spreadsheets such as Excel? Do you email spreadsheets to one another? Do you find that you have multiple spreadsheet versions?
- Rigid technology. Are you struggling to integrate into other business systems or devices? Do your computer systems auto complete information that has previously been entered? Do your systems validate on entry to ensure values are not wrong? Can they check that values are within normal ranges? Are you able to improve productivity by not entering the same information in two different systems? Are your workforce taking advantage of the latest mobile technology ?
- Email intensive process. Do your teams seem incapable of completing a task without vast amounts of emails being involved?
Help! This sounds familiar.
Before we start any project at WKD we run a workshop with our partners to really get under the skin of the business and its processes. When spending time going through the nuts and bolts of a business we so often see teams mired in some of the unproductive and inefficient processes described above. Often these businesses have long been suffering in silence. They assume that the only other option is a vast system which will require retraining staff and months of development.
If the points above are all too familiar we can help you look at your options for making improvements in a way that doesn’t cripple your business. Help can come in many forms and these are some examples of what has helped our partner businesses improve their working day.
- There are some amazing “off-the-shelf” tools. They are unlikely to run your entire business but where possible our team will recommend the use of a pre-existing tool first. Developers don’t want to recreate the wheel.
- In almost all instances we can perform enhancements on your pre-existing system. Or we can connect your system to one of our modules that take out specific functionality, while keep the original system running.
- With no “Big Bang” we can create a bespoke built system that entirely fits what your business needs.