By Russ Levanway, CEO
How to integrate your tech so you can start working smarter not harder
Picture if you will: One person in your finance department buys a new cloud-based billing package – the coolest thing since sliced bread – but it doesn’t integrate with invoicing and other software in the company, so adoption never gets past the number-crunchers.
A lot of businesses that believe they’ve totally integrated technology into their work are, in reality, operating with a layered hodgepodge of different technological solutions. This is common because, over time, companies develop ways of doing things and those pathways become calcified, thus resulting in tacked-on technology solutions that can easily be added to the way they’re already doing things.
These companies often consider themselves tech-savvy or technologically integrated, but in reality, they’re just layering tech on top of what they already do. Don’t get me wrong: you can definitely receive some benefits from automating disparate tasks, but this layering maneuver results in band-aiding, not big picture problem-solving.
Have Info – Will Travel
What drives your organization is your process and workflow. To get at the heart of what this entails, you should ask yourself a few questions: How does work get done in my office? How does information travel? How is it processed? What are the rules for where it goes, and how much of that is manual versus automated?
If these questions are never fully answered and assessed prior to adopting a new technology solution, a company cannot achieve the full benefits of the technology they’ve paid for. As pricey as a new CRM or ERP software package is, no one ever saves money by choosing to not fully integrate their workflow with their technology. Instead, get your money’s worth by going all in.
2 Step Evaluation
So how does a company attain full technological integration? First, conduct a thorough and clear-eyed evaluation of their processes, department by department, and then compile a list of problem areas where people spend most of their time.
When it comes to listing problems, I apply the 80/20 rule and run through the following questions: Where is my staff spending 80 percent of their time? Are repetitive processes eating up too much of that time? Is there a specific workflow process between two teams that creates a bottleneck? The key is looking closely at the answers to these key questions to inform a smart software purchase that will solve problems. Not just stick a Band-Aid on them.
Going All In
These two actions – company-wide workflow assessment and time-clog identification – kick off an important discussion of how technology can be transformative for your organization. And when you engage your entire staff in this discussion, you then optimize your staff’s buy-in with the new software thus resulting in broader adoption across departments.
In the case of the billing package I led with above, if the software had been evaluated inter-departmentally before or just after being purchased, maybe it could have been used company-wide and not just layered on.
Take a critical look at all the software packages you have across your company. Are they fully integrated and solving big picture problems, or are they Band-Aids? Is there a better way to integrate software into your organization to get more value out of it?