Simplify Your Business
Simplify your business to make more money and create a modern experience
Simplify your business to make more money and create a modern business experience. Our last article discussed how organizing processes is a quick and inexpensive first step towards simplifying your business. This article will discuss next step in simplifying your business: work with technology, not for it.
Technology is wonderful, when you can work with it. Have you ever experienced a technology change that made it more difficult to do your job? Businesses purchase technology and software to solve specific challenges. A traditional technology plan is little more than a checklist of “must have” features for each department. The problem with this approach is that it fails to consider both the process and the people at each step.
If each box is checked, we will have smooth operations, right?
Wrong. We compare this approach to assembling a puzzle using pieces from different sets. This never makes a pretty picture and typically leads to overlaps and gaps in coverage. Worse yet, any complications must be overcome by your employees' hard work and attention to detail.
Great, but how can we do better?
Our goal for working with technology is two fold:
Simplify user experience (UX)
Select software that works together
Technology should assist employees during their day-to-day activities rather than demand more of their time. If you can simplify your business to work with technology, not for it, then you will make more money and create a business experience.
Simplify user experience
Simplify your business by providing a great user experience that limits distractions like switching applications, excessive application tabs, numerous clicks, disorganized folder structures, etc. This means providing great visual tools that provide all information in one screen. Two simple UX improvements come from the use of electronic forms to collect data and interactive dashboards to visualize data.
Electronic forms are visually appealing methods to streamline data collection while reducing human error. Form question formats (multiple choice, check boxes, etc...) can improve conformity and reduce errors. More advanced applications can create dynamic forms that show or hide content based upon previous answers and pre-populate forms using data from other sources. All major office suites now contain forms applications to improve user experience.
Dashboards aggregate information from a variety of sources (typically in spreadsheets) and can provide dynamic filters, pivot tables, and other methods to separate data. Dashboards contain graphs and charts with interactive controls to simplify analysis and show trends visually. Gone are the days when we sat through those dreaded spreadsheet meetings listening to numbers.
Select software that works together
Fundamentally, we use technology to collect, store, access, share, and to protect information. Every step in a process needs to work with information to prepare it for the next step. This can be challenging if your applications do not share information well. Many businesses face challenges when data must be exported to a .csv (or other file) and reformatted so it can be moved from one application to another. This requires a lot of time and attention to detail. If you select applications that easily share information with other applications then you will save money. Where possible, replace manual export/import operations by using native integrations, RESTFUL API, or at a minimum, use the task schedule to run database queries or macros. Keep in mind, the goal is to let a computer perform the mundane mindless work to free your employees to work on something more valuable.
Work with technology, not for it.
The article discusses how to create technology plans based around a process and human perspective. This is the beginning of building an efficient digital business process because it creates a simple user experience and a foundation of software that exchanges information easily. These practices will help your business make more money and create a modern business experience.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article. Our next article will explore the practice of business process automation (BPA) and robotic process automation (RPA). If you want a sneak peek into the next two articles then visit our website to download the free guide Three Steps to Simplify and Modernize Your Business.