Improving your Business Processes

Monday, June 6, 2016

I wrote last time about how all businesses use software systems of some description - whether it be for accounts, CRM, project management, warehousing and distribution or manufacturing. The question I raised was whether the use of different software systems e.g. accounts, CRM and project management caused a duplication of effort as the information moves through your business process.

However, it’s not just about the software. Of course the software is important, but of equal importance are your people and business processes. In this article, I’m going to focus on business processes.

All business is undertaken through processes of some description, regardless of industry, locale or language. Within most businesses some processes are computerised and therefore enforced by software systems. Many are manual and the process is determined, at best, by a procedures document, or failing that, local knowledge and received wisdom (“we have always done it like that”). Typically, manual processes are a mixture of both written procedures and unrecorded personal experience. 

Processes are rarely designed, although they evolve over time and so end up incorporating bad practice, duplication of effort and redundant process steps. Applying automated software systems to such foundations merely embeds the inefficiencies and makes them more resistant to future change. Therefore, before looking at future needs, current processes must be reviewed and simplified. In this process, it is possible to find that a number of the current process steps are no longer required. 

Pit stop – have you ever asked this question in your business, "Is there a better way to do this...?” only to receive the answer, “We have always done it like that”? Over the last 16 years I’ve worked with some great businesses; implementing new IT or software systems and I have to say that if I had a pound for every time I heard this then I’d be sitting on a sun soaked beach sipping a cold drink…

The question is though, does a lack of defined processes impact on business performance? In my experience, I believe it does and is, in addition, a primary reason why software system implementations are not always successful. Quite often I hear comments like, “the software is not doing what it should do”. However, could this be attributed to the software, training (people), business process, or a mixture of the three?

If you’re not sure where to start, then it might be worthwhile talking to your current software provider or IT partner about how they could help you.

If you’re asking yourself, “why should I bother looking at my processes?” then it’s probably worth you knowing that a business that uses processes which are efficient, controlled, flexible, well documented and regularly reviewed is in better control of its operation and is more able to satisfy its customers, whilst minimising costs and overheads – all helping to maximise profits.

 

Who is Elementary Solutions?

Elementary Solutions is an Exact Online Certified Partner. Our technical business consultants have all been through the rigorous certification programme to ensure that they not only understand the Exact Online Software Solutions but, also understand how they can help your business reap the benefits efficiently and effortlessly.

What makes Elementary Solutions different?

It’s not just about the software system. Of course the software is important, but of equal importance are your people and business processes. When you choose Elementary, you can be confident in the knowledge that you are choosing a partner who understands the importance of this and can help you successfully implement your Exact Online Solution.

What is Exact Online?

Exact Online is a cost effective all in one integrated software solution that can help your business save time, money and improve efficiency. All in the cloud and from anywhere.