Having seen hundreds of companies you realise that patterns begin to form. Inefficiencies and bad habits repeat over and over.
I don’t believe though that companies wish to operate in this way, they are simply made to do so by the software they use. This is not to say the software is bad, quite the opposite, the problem though seems to be interoperability between applications.
Applications which we see often are:
Sage 50 – for Accountancy, Sales Order and Purchase Order Processing
Word – Word processing
Excel – Financials / budgets / forecasting / calculations
Outlook – Used for emailing, Appointments, Contacts
Access – Database application used for storing information
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) product, usually one of the following:
Industry Specific Software
Almost all of the software we come across is very effective, but seems to work independently to the next. Because of this islands of data are created in each application which usually has to be copied and pasted from somewhere else. Company and Contact information for example is stored in Sage, and in Outlook, maybe in Microsoft Access, and in CRM. Sales Order information may be replicated and stored in Sage, CRM, Access, Excel maybe?
I don’t believe companies can see the impact that these inefficient processes have on their businesses. Additional man-power is employed to cope with busy and hectic workloads, which simply don’t need to be that way. It just seems to be the norm, and is accepted by almost everyone.
There is a better way:
By taking one common application which is or can be used by everyone is the starting point. For this we generally recommend Microsoft CRM. Why? Well MS CRM can integrate with Sage, fits in nicely to MS Office and Outlook, connects with database systems and more.
With MS CRM you can therefore view different information, from different applications all in one place.
Ok granted, sometimes ‘middleware’ is required to interface between one application and another, but the cost of such systems can be insignificant if measured against the benefits:
– Imagine if you were able to cut down your labour costs, or admin costs which are continual cost savings
– Imagine if you had all your company information at your fingertips, all in one place, all instantly searchable
– Imagine if you could produce quotes, proposals, orders in seconds, rather than minutes, or even hours
– Imagine if you could access the same information from your mobile phone, laptop, at home, abroad, anywhere
– What if you could present information back out to your clients?
The next step:
We don’t offer a revolution out of the box. We recommend a staged approach which starts by mapping your processes, and streamlining them with the use of efficient technology.
In the current market every penny counts, don’t pay wages to cover inefficiencies in your business, get lean and get efficient.