Most businesses as they grow, they piece together their IT infrastructure and software… then one day, it’s apparent you have issues. Most of the time these issues come across in the form of lack of insight into what’s being worked on and accomplished, repeating efforts by re-entering data in different systems, wasting time trying to find relevant data and more issues. They feel like business problems, but they can easily be solved with technology.
Way too many businesses are using the basics to get by and deliver their services/products. Think QuickBooks (or any other accounting platform), Email, a phone, Shared Files where you’ll typically find a lot of spreadsheets that manage the entire business and then probably a few cloud app websites for specific needs.
As you can see from the above, all of the current paths to data are inefficient and not really a good way to share data among the team. How do team members find out the info they need without interrupting another team member. How does leadership know the status of projects, tasks, VIP clients, specific parts of your service delivery? They have to ask. Also, these companies typically have a lot of meetings, that run over time, aren’t really productive and don’t accomplish anything. Does that sting a little? If it does, don’t worry, you’re not alone here! These can be resolved, but just like anything else, you first have to realize there’s a problem and that it can indeed be fixed. Once you see it, it’s going to catch your attention every time until it’s fixed.
A business platform that manages all facets of the business. The trendy term that has taken over here is typically what’s referred to as an ERP. But it’s just fancy talk for saying a business software platform where you can manage your business processes, delivery of services, manage all resources and assets within the company and essentially anything else you can think of. If you want to manage it and want insight into it, it can be done. If you build it, they will come!
Typical solutions on the high-end side are NetSuite and SAP. These CAN be great products when implemented correctly. Just like any other software implementation, trash in = trash out. Those can also be extremely expensive to implement. At Oakline, depending on needs of course, we typically implement QuickBase as an all encompassing platform. It integrates with standards like QuickBooks, and SalesForce (and anything else), but it’s also extremely easy to understand and get your people using it. All businesses are different and that’s why QuickBase is a great tool as it can be customized to fit how you work internally. We can also apply some out of the box things for certain areas where you may not have a defined way of doing things yet.
In a nutshell…. each team member has certain data they need to see and work with. All data should be easily accessible, easy to work with and should never have to be re-entered. Sales should be able to drive sales based on what they know. Operations should have full insight into the life-cycle for each client and what issues/improvements/tasks are being completed. Leadership should be able to see the overall health of their business via real-time data. Point is, you’re creating data every day… let’s turn it into information and create more accountable, effective team that’s always improving.