1. You’re still filling out a small forest worth of paperwork
Paperwork, the definitive factor in bringing your business communication and up to date information to an unbarrable crawl. From the side of business process, everytime you have people entering information on a piece of paper you create a new critical control point. The more paper work. The more cirtical control points you have to worry about. The more chances you have that the information will get lost and the more chance you have that the information will be entered wrong. Custom software allows you to create one area for the information to be entered thus creating one critical control point. Custom software frees up the need to have someone transcribe the information from paper to your excel spreadsheets. Custom software ensures your managers have up to date information. Custom software ensures that you can communicate that up to date information to your managers. In todays technology market, with pads, smart phones, laptops and desktops and all the software and applications that come with them, there is no reason business should need to continue using paper methods to track critical data through their business.
2. Your team has no interest in using the current software you have
This can happen for two reasons, one the software only works for a small group of your team and for the rest it has no practical use. The second is that the software is so complex that your team feels they would need a university degree just to work with the software. Both of these points can turn an otherwise great piece of software into a complete dud for your business. When I’m speaking with clients about technology hardware & software and who makes the best stuff for example, Apple vs Microsoft vs Google vs Blackberry I think alot of people are surprised when I tell them it depends what you need it for. The analogy I would give you is this, what’s better a pickup truck or a porche? Now which one is better if your job is to move a tonne of manure from one place to another dialy? Software is no different, you have to pick the right tool for the job if you want your best results. So you can buy the porche piece of software however it doesn’t gurentee you will ever get to use its full capabilities. It also raises the skill level of the driver you need to put behind it. Often the keep it simple principle is the best. The pickup doesn’t always look pretty however it gets the job done.
3. You have too many pieces of software, none of which communicate with one another
Whether you have a piece of software to run every department in your business or you are manually moving and entering data from one program into another program. This can be a disaster from time management and from an efficiency side. As well it is one of the many areas we see a business bottom line being nibbled away at. Sometimes the solution to a problem is not to buy another piece of software but to create a way for the software you have to communicate with each other and at minimum create reports from a consoladated data pool. This will often save alot of administration cost that are normally deligated to paying an administrative clerk to organize the data in each piece of software and then porting the data to excel for reports to present to the business owner.
4. You’re collecting critical data that isn’t getting reported anywhere
I call this Excel hell and it is one of the most common things I see with established business that are trying to find out how to squeeze out more profit from the current process that are in use. It would amaze you to see, even with in your own business that amount of excel files we find team members using only to find out that the data doesn’t go anywhere. At some point in time someone said to track the information and that was the end of it. The information is entered because someone said so and then nothing. It either doens’t get passed on to the team mate who requires the information or worse the team member just copies the information they need out to another excel file. Let me be clear. The only information worth recording is information that you are going to use. Whether it be for auditing purposes or communication. Only track what you need and always, always make it readily available to the proper team members to ensure that the information is used to make intelegent business decesions.
5. You and your team can’t access information once you’ve left the office
Ah the dreaded software that is only available at the office. This may have been an ok thing ten years ago however in todays day and age with the quantity of smart phones and tablets avaialable as well as the fact that just about every home in north america has an internet connection, to not make avaialbe information to you and your team once they have left the office is just not excapable anymore. For example, the Lunarstorm team is capable of accessing our estimating software from any web ready device. This allows any one of our team members to produce an initial quote/estimate of work needing to be done on the spot. If we are sitting with a client we can also have that estimate turned into a project and at the same time invoice. All remotely. This gives us a great advantage over our competitors. This is the same advantage you can have by utilizing a custom piece of software that is built around the common technology you and your team utilize.