Why does my business need software? – By Bob Milliken

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Every now and then I invite business people from my peer group to talk about the work they do and how it impacts small business. My January newsletter featured such an article from Mr. Paul Sweeny. Paul is the founder and President of Flexxus Business Solutions (www.flexxus.biz) and has been helping small and medium enterprises get maximum value from their software investment for 17 years.

Software can do many amazing things for your business, but without it you’ve got not much more that a blank screen (and some of us may actually like that). It’s the engine that makes your apps run, gives you the internet, does all the nifty spreadsheet calculations, does your accounting, runs your car, fly an airplane, took us to the moon, … You get the picture—without software we would be in 1622 and watching the invention of the slide ruler.

There’s lots to like about software — it  shows up for work every day, does EXACTLY what is  told to do (which in itself can be problematic), and does it the same way every time (good or bad), is very good (and less expensive) for doing mundane repetitive tasks (powering car building robots), is incredibly efficient, improves our life quality (your iPhone, the Internet), keeps track of our taxes (opps, not everything is good), …  The list is endless.

I like this quote: “Technology has gone from a key differentiator to a core strategy. Any company that isn’t figuring out how to use technology to revolutionize their business is doomed. If you are just looking to evolve, that will give you success in the short-term, but in the long term, those that do figure it out will have your dinner – and cake, too.” The Globe and Mail

How do I know I need more or different software?

 Are you maximizing the value of your existing software? How do you know?

Are you passing paper around to multiple people?  Do you have people working outside your building? How are you keeping track of what they are doing or have done? How do they know what they are supposed to be doing?

If you are service business do you use time sheets? Are these on paper? Excel?  How do these time sheets become invoices?  Another indicator is you are keeping track of things in multiple spreadsheets or databases.

I am reminded of a client that processed hundreds of invoices from the same every month. They used a manual process to collect the information, confirm accuracy and allocate it to a profit centre. Next, they spent 3-4 days keying these into their accounting software for payment. We were able to reduce this task to one click and five minutes. Do you have someone doing similar tasks in your business?

Things to think about.

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated –ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com