Technology is all about progress. Building efficiencies, cutting the time to complete tasks, ensuring you can reach your customers in a more efficient way. But purchasing a system, to bridge the gaps you have is not a one-way investigation. It starts internally. It begins with you having a full understanding, if its under control or not, of what your complete business needs are.
Here are some considerations to be made in this process
MAPPING OUT ALL PROCESSES
Before you commit to a system you have to understand all elements of the operation you want to systemize. By mapping out every detail about how you do things you are able to be very specific in what the shortcomings are, where you actually need a system and be clearer on the elements that needs to be addressed. It is also a great way to evaluate if the way you are doing things is still working for your current business needs.
This process will also help you discover what level of system you require or if you just need a total change of operational processes.
Data converted into stories creates change. The moment you can tell stories of the day-to-day events, and able to track it you can very easily point out waste n the system. The secret is to not gather data when there’s a problem, but to create a system of data gathering that highlights the good and the bad, even the mundane. Because the day you slip up on the mundane, it might just be too late to make a change. Finding ways to track your operations allows you to manage your operation.
A good system allows you to put processes in place, which will enable you to gather data without having to consult a middleman. The more layers you can cut so you can get to the true root of what’s going on, the better. i.e. Know what’s happening before they tell you a good enough reason of what’s happening.
There is no one size fits all system.
Every single organization has a different way of doing things, and no system can account for every little quip you have in you operation. Unless you build your own system!
Again, you need to walk the process of mapping out every detail so you have a full scope of your needs.
As far as possible it would be great to create standard methods of practice. The way business units operate, big or small might vary operationally due to various reasons, but the way data is collected, entered and made available should be standard. There should be a calendar of commitments, and if these are not met a SLA needs to be established. Anything outside of this should be documented as a performance measurement stat.
No system will work without good data or good data management systems.
Systems might not always suite a persons preferred way of doing things. It needs to meet the business needs of doing things. The moment everyone is allowed to have their preferred way you create a key man dependency and worse, works totally against any purpose a system serves.
CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Many organizations prefer to do all client interactions within the system. This allows you to track turnaround times to response, allow for you to run reports to see what emails have been responded to i.e. are suppliers getting sufficient feedback.
It is easy to state that a system will solve your problems… but you need you need to make sure you have the right systems in place, to support a new system.