Anthony Fowler

Warning Signs

I categorise everyone in the world as one of 2 types of people

1. Those that can finish a list

Dad joke out of the way I'd like to give you some value and advice while you're here.

I wanted to develop a list of issues I've recognised in our clients. Not every client has all these problems but rather have a combination of several of them or even just one that affects them considerably.

If you recognise any of the below on this list then it may be worth looking in to having a consultant analyse your digital infrastructure. It never hurts to explore the world of possibilities available to you.

1. You constantly have to repeat data entry

It's the bane of almost every company of every size, almost impossible to get rid of but if you find yourself writing something on a piece of paper, then putting it in to to whatever software your using and then writing an email to inform someone of what you just entered then you're probably drowning in paperwork and your efficiency is taking a hit.

2. You have more software programmes running than fingers

You've got the following open: Word, Excel, Outlook, your CRM, Mail Chimp, To-Do list, Notes, Calendar, Xero, Job Management Software, etc.

There's a reason you've got these open, because individually they're all very good at what they were designed for and you've got used to using them as part of your daily routine. Unfortunately none of them talk to each other and you're all over the place with your workload.

3. You have data puddles everywhere

This has reference to the above, data puddles essentially are silos of data held within various programmes that have no control over each other. Another effect is the lack of ability to properly analyse how your business is performing, a key factor in staying ahead of the competition and being as efficient as possible.

4. Tasks aren't getting completed

Every action that results in someone needing to complete a task should be automated - normally it isn't, it's usually an email to another department or a verbal request. This then gets lost or forgotten and tasks aren't completed - this is either minor or potentially major depending on the task - I'm sure we've all been there.

5. Your employees perform tasks in multiple different ways

Your processes aren't defined, your pushing out correspondence and completing tasks with no consistency. This may be causing more work for each department or affecting how your clients are being dealt with.

6. You can't keep track of interactions with your customers

You can't keep track of whose spoken to your customers, when they did it, how they did it, you constantly have to look at emails. You lose important information and have to ask for it again.

7. You use paper... a lot

Paper based processes are inherently a laborious task, paired with almost always having to enter this in to a digital platform and you're seeing the same issues as point 1.

8. You're constantly trying new software

There are a seemingly endless number of applications designed for specific tasks, most are either too simple and you look to other software to help complete tasks or they're overly complicated with features you will never use. The real trouble can come from having these linked together causing what we call "straw bridges" that are just waiting to break.

It's expensive though isn't it.

I'm sure that most, if not all of you are going to assume that having custom software built is expensive, the answer to that is and will always be a point of contention. Custom solutions can be started small and grown from the ground up, like building the foundations of a house and slowly adding more and more bricks over time, gradually with each layer you save more and more time or make your business processes progressively easier, in theory it pays for itself in the long run.

Consider the ROI, invest now and save time, increase efficiency, maximise productivity, convert more sales, provide better service and ultimately in comparison to how you performed before, you're actually saving money and you've also built a product that you own and therefore carries an inherent value in itself.