How much time do you think your staff would spend storing, tracking and accessing important business information each day?
Thankfully we don't have to, but it does make you wonder........
How much of your current business information is still managed in a paper based or legacy system or even worse, spread across multiple systems?
Change is hard to manage in any organisation & understanding what changes to consider implementing is as equally challenging. In previous posts we have highlighted the fact that any change should always begin with the end in mind & what the outcomes need to look like.
Here we offer up 5 thought provoking objectives to consider when reviewing your information management systems & some outcomes you should be looking to incorporate in your planning.
Legacy systems cost businesses a lot of money, particularly in terms of costs your most likely not measuring i.e filing time, information retrieval, scanning, shredding, duplex data entry etc, etc. These items should not be viewed as just the cost of doing business.
First seek to understand how your current systems work, learn what is available in the market, map out the gaps between what is and what could be - build your business case - implement change & measure.
Digitising your business information allows you a higher level of integration. Whether it’s retrieving client information or sharing project-specific data to team members, an integrated system prevents delays and keeps everyone efficient.
Most businesses (unless starting out) already have some existing systems in place, whether it be accounting platforms, proprietary software or something else. But, with the exception of a few platforms, gaps still exist. Integration between applications will take your business to the next level and cross pollination of data should feature highly in your planning.
Often when we work with our clients, they put very little thought into the changing landscape of the business sector in which they work. If you have gone to the effort of identifying where you have some challenges, then make sure you give some thought to any potential challenges or changes that you may encounter as well.
Every business sector is looking at new and innovative ways of doing business - top of mind is the management and distribution of business information. Don't just consider how you might manage information for improvement right now - think about how you will “want” to manage it in the future, how you might receive it and the simplest way of also distributing it. Plan for the future, not for the now.
4. Process Transparency
Call it a blockage, a bottleneck or whatever catch phrase you like - the bottom line is this, don't automatically assume that the issue will be resolved by moving to a new information platform. If you try to take a poorly functioning legacy system and adapt that old way of working to a new system in the hope of a better outcome - then prepare to be severely disappointed.
Understand your most important processes, map them out & discuss with your team what steps could be eliminated under a “what if” scenario & how that would position you moving forward.
This was highlighted in a recent study by Canon AU of Australian SMB’s as one of the top 3 items for business improvement in 2015/2016. Work conditions & employment contracts are changing - as strange as it sounds right now, it will most likely be the norm in 2020 (which is only 4 years away) for a bricks and mortar business in Melbourne or Sydney to have a full time employee based in the UK or the US.
To attract the best talent, you need to have an agile business model - which means you need agile systems to support your future business plan.
Reviewing your existing digital landscape from multiple perspectives should be a key feature on the agenda - if it's not, it might be time to give it some serious consideration.