Successful businesses have commonalities; good product, a strong team to support your customer base and systems that allow for efficient, scalable operations. Volano Solutions consults with businesses who recognize that they need a better system to support their business but are not totally clear on the way forward. As an experienced custom software developer, we’ve learned a great deal about business process management and the best approach from a technical standpoint. For many businesses, there are some great off the shelf solutions that can help your sales, marketing and operational departments. There are certainly some great CRM solutions on the market for example. However, sometimes businesses requires a custom solution. Diagnosing when to engage a custom software developer can be tough. We wanted to share some signs that your business will see ROI from a custom software solution.
You Collaborate Using E-mail
Smaller businesses tend to work together in closer quarters and with fewer clients and customers. As companies grow, e-mail becomes a perilous way to manage and track your business processes. The Harvard Law Review touched on the downside of e-mail communication years ago and their points are still relevant. E-mail is inefficient, can be easily misunderstood and lacks transparency. Were the appropriate people on an e-mail chain? Did work get completed and is everyone always clear on the status? Are people and teams clear on the next steps and who is responsible for the next step? E-mail was not meant as a system to manage projects and work yet many businesses that we talk to rely on an e-mail being sent, read and acted upon in order for work to move through a business process. E-mails can be deleted, sent to the wrong person, missing an attachment or simply missed. When multiple people are copied on an e-mail chain, ownership starts to become opaque and when a client needs status on a project, sorting through thousands of e-mails is a stressful way to piece the puzzle together.
Your People Are Double-Entering Data
This one is a no-brainer. In Michelle Bucher’s “The 5 Sins of Inefficiency” she captures the origin of the catastrophe known as double entry. “The sin of double entry is committed by inefficient workflows when people re-enter data into multiple systems that do not communicate.” Transactional inefficiency and the associated time and money are one component, but the opportunity to key an error is greater when people are doing it twice and into disparate systems that don’t talk.
Landing New Business Means Hiring More People
Growing your customer base should be exciting. Naturally as you take on more work, your staff will inevitably increase relative to your industry and demand. If you do not have a software operating system or one that becomes more difficult to use as you add people, this is a problem. People need to understand their role and daily tasks. Your system should have strong workflow components that match people and teams with their defined tasks. Tracking this work as it moves from the left side of your business (sales) to the right (accounting) is also key. Documents and notes should follow work through it’s progression. If you have a system, preferably cloud-based, that easily allows for the tracking and management of your work steps, it becomes easier to forecast headcount in relationship to new business and it becomes easier and more efficient for your people to work. Are your people clear when they log into their computers as to what they need to do? If not, you have frustrated staff and lack of clarity and transparency on your business process.
Good custom software eliminates e-mail as a source of process management. It brings clarity to your process and a greater level of efficiency. If done well, your software should allow for your business to grow and change as the market does.