Integrators have become increasingly creative over the last 20 or so months, shifting to a remote work strategy, and taking on new product and service lines to meet the quickly changing needs of their customers.
As a technology provider, you had to quickly diversify your offerings in the middle of a global pandemic to ensure your customers had the latest technology to run their businesses.
But how many of you came back to your own office only to encounter disparate systems or antiquated equipment surrounded by manual processes?
Taking on new product and service offerings requires time and resources. The challenge is to figure out how to maintain your primary business while still devoting the time necessary to evaluate your systems and make improvements to your internal processes so you can provide your customers with a top-notch experience.
Now more than ever, technology providers need to enhance their processes with the same diligence they display with their customers.
Here are five questions to help you review and evaluate your systems and processes:
1. How many systems does it take to run your primary business?
There is no single correct answer; however, the higher the number, the higher the risk.
The systems you use in your integration business must work together and share data as seamlessly as possible. There are two different categories when selecting a system: best in class vs. an integrated solution. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of both and determine which is the best approach for your business.
2. Is there manual entry required to get information from one system to the next system in your process?
Any time there is manual entry there is a risk of errors and delays.
The ideal situation is to reduce the number of times people must input information and ensure data is automatically passed between systems. If you decide to pursue best in breed, this is even more important to fully integrate the systems used across your process.
When working with third parties, ask about their integration capabilities because many times you can be very efficient with your data internally, but then that efficiency falls apart during those interactions.
3. How many of your needs are not met with your existing software platforms and require some manual tracking or intervention?
It may take some work to customize one system to meet all your needs, however, the amount of manual work surrounding your process indicates how ideal it is for your business.
Evaluate what you are manually entering and what value it provides for your business.
As needs change, sometimes the processes require adjustments to remain productive. If you find gaps, work with your software vendor to seek ways to replace manual tasks with automated processes.
4. When you hire a new employee, how easy is it for them to learn your business applications and the processes surrounding them?
Someone who has never been exposed to your process or your systems can be a great resource because they will ask the questions others can’t or won’t. They aren’t used to the workarounds or know the tricks necessary to make your systems work. Encourage your new employees to ask questions, provide feedback and look for opportunities to streamline your processes and improve your operations.
5. How easy is it to get actionable data from your primary business applications?
Systems are needed to run your business; however, an overlooked element is using those systems to drive behavior.
Data can be a powerful decision-making tool. If the data isn’t available to make the decisions you need, add it. Monitor key metrics and use proactive alerts through the system when they fall outside your tolerance. Drive more consistent execution by using automated workflows triggered based on specific criteria or scenarios, eliminating the need to think about what needs to be done.
Challenge yourself by looking at your business from this viewpoint and seek a fresh perspective by getting feedback from someone that isn’t as close to the system.
These questions are certainly not the only ones you should be asking as an owner, but as you evaluate your systems, they will shed light on the areas of your business that may need updating.
This article comes from our partners at GreatAmerica Financial. Read the full story here – It’s Time to Take a Good Hard Look at Your Technology and Processes