Technology is key to helping your business grow and become more efficient. But we often find businesses struggle to know how to best apply the technology and find the current technology solutions are holding them back. After watching this video, you'll have an understanding of three ways that you can use technology to improve your business's efficiency.
Have you got your data to measure your efficiency?
So if you're looking to improve your efficiency, the first thing you really need to be thinking about is do you have a way of measuring your efficiency? How can you try and make improvements if you don't have metrics to determine whether your improvements are actually having an effect, it's key to make sure that you have the right data visibility through technology.
The first step for that is getting a reporting or business intelligence solution in place, you can gather data from all across your company, bring it into one single location, transform it as you need, to make sure that you have visibility over the data. To be able to determine the best steps for improvement, you might consider building some custom integrations or data transformation processes as part of this pipeline. To make sure you've got the data in the right format, you need to give you that visibility. Once you've got this data, you might be able to identify any bottlenecks in your processes, figure out where things could be dropped or streamlined, and maybe apply a rapid iteration cycle of improvements. To see how well those changes actually work and test your theories. You should be gathering data from multiple different sources within your business, make sure that you've got visibility over the entire business, not just a single area. For example, think about pulling data from both your finance department and your operations department. So that you can make sure both departments are working in sync and identify any discrepancies. Once you've got that data, you might be able to identify communications bottlenecks between departments, or pull that data back into driving your next marketing strategy.
I spoken about pulling data from multiple sources. But it's also important to make sure that you're getting the right data. Just pulling back in a big mass of data isn't sufficient, you need to be collecting data that's useful. And can be linked back to your business objectives.
Once you've measured your efficiency, and identified where your business is being inefficient, the most obvious next step is to use technology to automate some of your processes, you might have some manual repetitive processes that you're doing day in, day out, and just taking up a lot of your time. Well, computers are great at doing that sort of manual repetitive task, they don't make mistakes in the same way that humans do. So an example we get a lot is that businesses are having to manually process a lot of invoices and receipts they're sent through every day, there are tools out there that can just take a look at the picture of the invoice and figure out what the you know what the amount is and who it's sent from. And can apply that automatically and push that through to your accounting packages. That sort of thing is relatively easy to implement, it's going to save you a load of time in the long run, it's easy to build a business case for that you can work out how much time you're going to save. And you can work out the cost of that over a period of years, and it normally pays for itself.
So for example, we helped Sanctuary Care move from a paper based system of care and care homes to a fully electronic mobile care application that saved their carers up to an hour a day of filling in paperwork to give them much more time to spend with the residents and really deliver a higher quality of care.
You might think there isn't any room to automate your processes further. But if you look hard enough, I promise you, you'll find areas to improve. No matter how much technology you might use of at the moment, whether you have relatively low technology company or if you use it extensively, there's going to be areas that you can improve your business efficiency.
Make sure your technology is the right fit
And the final thing I want to talk about is making sure that your technology is the right fit for you. We see a lot of companies that have grown organically over time, they might have built up some processes that work for them at the moment, they might have a mix of spreadsheets they have they might do things via ad hoc emails between staff. It all works. But it doesn't let you necessarily scale out as you want to grow bigger and become more efficient over time. You need to make sure that the tools you're using a really designed to fit your business process to make sure that you can be as efficient as you can be. So you might find that your staff having to spend a lot of time editing complex spreadsheets, you might be using some off the shelf, e RP system, which works but it may be is causing a few pain points and a few inefficiencies maybe find you're making mistakes because of it. It's making you do things in the wrong way that are leading to errors or omissions that are coming back to cost you in the long run. In contrast, when your technology matches your business process, everything is going to be easier and more efficient. You can automate common tasks, you can make sure the right people are notified when they need to do something. And you can avoid costly mistakes and errors. So you might want to spend some time looking for whether there's any software out there that matches your business process. Maybe even think about getting something built bespoke if there isn't anything that matches it directly. You might want to change your business processes to better fit the tools out there. In the long run. This is going to come back and really help you become more efficient and scale as a business.
For example, OnePost a postal services company approached us to help them move from their existing financial management software, which ran their entire business to a more bespoke solution, their system had worked but was proving difficult to cope with the complexities of scale. And they wanted something that matched their business processes more closely. We worked with one post through discovery piece, to pull together data to identify where efficiency savings could be made. And then we designed and built a system, which better models that business processes automates the areas where they can be and pushes that data back into their original financial system, once they're done with their operations side, giving them efficiency savings over time, and really reducing the chance of any errors or mistakes being made. After we implemented the software. They saw reductions in the amount of time it took to process jobs, reductions in the number of errors made, and ultimately, it saves them time and money.
To recap, the three areas you want to be thinking about are making sure you've got data to measure your efficiency, so you know where improvements can be made. And then identify areas where you can automate your processes, reduce any manual work done and improve time savings. And finally, make sure that your technology is the right fit for you. Make sure it matches your business processes and isn't holding you back and stopping you growing out. If you want to explore some ideas and get inspiration for how you can apply these principles to improve your business efficiency, then booking a call with me or take a look at our website for more information.