Below is a guest blog article from one of our Strategic Partners at TeleData Select.
Are your business systems slow? Do you get the feeling you’re not as efficient as you should be, even though your people seem to be working hard? Does it ever feel like you’re working against your IT systems, or maybe “the system” isn’t optimized for your workflows? Does it ever feel like you’re throwing people at a technology problem? Good news! You probably don’t need to hire expensive consultants who will spend hours asking you questions only to recommend someone else to implement the technology. Instead, find yourself a full-service custom software developer who can understand your business and make smart recommendations.
Many times, we see that our customers simply aren’t optimized anymore because their business has grown around them for years. Sometimes, what used to work just fine is now more complicated and has exceptions. Other times, we see clients taking extra days to process orders due to system constraints, or employees who are stressed trying to use old systems to do complex tasks. In many cases, these problems have existed for years but have gradually started to have negative effects on employee and/or customer satisfaction. People want to work in efficient environments and customers expect reliable and consistent service.
A great question to ask yourself is, “How often do we make mistakes?” Mistakes can happen when employees need to manually key in data, and these mistakes can multiply when your workflow requires multiple touches by imperfect people. For executives managing sales and operations, it can be very frustrating when you are trying to eliminate order mistakes and/or delays, but then your root cause analysis determines that you are going to keep making these same mistakes until you find a smarter way. Sometimes, the solution is as simple as adding some carefully applied software code to automate the specific tasks which have become problematic. In other cases, your business system may benefit from a partial or full replacement of the older pieces which are slowing you down, or by adding new components such as scanning systems, RFID technology, or other elements to assist production.
Below are 12 more questions to ask yourself. If you answer “Yes” to any of these, you might benefit from a conversation about how to better automate your business.
- Do you have software applications which are slow, “buggy” or broken?
- Do you use spreadsheets to supplement the software’s functionality?
- Does your processing require manual data entry, particularly double and triple data entry and/or data conversion by humans into your various systems?
- Is all your data in sync between the software products you use?
- Finance software? CRM software?
- Warehouse Management software? Other software?
- Are your business systems difficult for new people to understand?
- Do your customers complain about their ability to do business with you online?
- Can everyone (remote staff, suppliers, customers) interact with the system the way you would like, or is access limited and/or challenging for some?
- Does it ever take more than a few clicks to get the reports you need?
- Are there any people in your organization who are “irreplaceable” due to their ability to understand your complex systems and data?
- Does it ever make you nervous the way your data is flowing and reported, and you take extra steps to ensure you save data or can trust the numbers?
- How critical is your software to your business, and do you have reliable support for all your applications in case of failure?
- Are any of your applications still running on outdated or obsolete technology?
Finally, be careful who you ask for help. Companies who sell “off the shelf” software for business management will all try to convince you that their software is better than what you have. And purchasing the most expensive software does not guarantee it will be thoughtfully and effectively implemented. And while the vendors who are currently managing your existing services and/or infrastructure may be great partners, they may be reluctant to advise you of solutions which could make them less relevant. Be sure to gather multiple opinions before moving forward, and maintain good visibility to all the issues facing your organization to ensure a holistic approach.
Adam M. Brown is VP of Sales at EM Squared Inc., a custom software developer specializing in business process automation, custom integrations and IoT devices. Since 2001, EM Squared has served business clients by complementing their in-house or outsourced IT with added capabilities and support such as better integrating software, connecting disparate systems into cohesive workflows, and removing unnecessary system constraints. Their deep experience with business systems may provide the answer you seek. Consultations are free and you can reach Adam at 404-556-5417 or email email@example.com.