Digitalise the management of your company
Prepare for the return of summer and update your business management software!
As a company matures and its business grows, so does the number of processes necessary for its management on a day-to-day basis, as well as the information that is generated, or in other words the “paperwork”. And what we could initially control with a spreadsheet, has now become a long series of data that needs to be analysed, especially if we want to reduce costs and management time.
The two most common scenarios in companies are those that already use business management software but it does not meet their needs; and those that still do not use any business management system and use only more basic tools such as Excel, or even still manage everything on paper.
On one hand, the company that has a system but did not implement it properly.
A management system is a very important part in the development of a company since it is able to present the status of any aspect of a business based on the data it collects, so that data must be acquired in a consistent manner, and the decisions we make must be raised on those that are key, differentiating those that are not.
For example, if we talk about a chain of stores, the best management program will not be able to control the inventory if in some the registration system connected to the program is used but in others it is done “by hand”.
And as for the reports and data analysis, it will also be necessary to look at different areas according to whether the main expenses of our business are allocated to materials with respect to whether they do so to the workforce; in the first context we could focus on the information on waste or waste, while in the second, the data on shifts or work performance would be more relevant.
The second one is that of the company that uses a management program that has been outdated.
- Relying on software that is not able to adapt to the new needs that arise within each department means that its use loses its meaning.
- If it cannot take advantage of the new functionalities, those that had not been required at the time but are now common, it causes a disadvantage compared to the competition. An example would be the use of the management tool on mobile devices.
- If you no longer receive support from the provider. Any software receives updates over time, and although not doing so can be a short-term saving, in the long run it will be more problematic if we suddenly have to adapt to the latest version; that is even without considering the security risks involved in an old version.
- If it cannot be integrated with other business systems, such as a CRM. This will cause a jam in the process of information exchange, so we will be less efficient or we will have to invest in creating an additional tool that makes communication possible.
- If it does not comply with the current GDPR, which involves being exposed to economic sanctions of up to 20 million euros (or 4% of the company’s annual turnover).
If you do not use any management program yet
Continuing handling data, records, calendars… with simple tools such as spreadsheets or even on paper may seem simple because it is what you “are used to”, but its own simplicity carries many limitations.
The main limitation it has is how complicated it is to share within a company. Transferring information is not usually a task that can be automated easily, as the organisation grows and generates more data, so does the possibility of errors. In fact, it is calculated that the probability that a table contains some erroneous value is 90% when it has more than 150 rows. The case of JPMorgan is well known, which in 2012 suffered losses of more than 6 billion dollars because of an error in an Excel sheet after “copying and pasting a series of data from one document to another”.
Compared with, for example, a spreadsheet, a management program for companies – such as an ERP – enables the monitoring of information in real time, data search and communication between areas or employees, which avoids duplication and errors.
It also allows us to analyse this information, providing us with keys to improve efficiency in any area, from the financial department, with billing and accounting data; even in the human resources department, by comparing performance and costs. Knowledge that allows us to know, for example, if the business resources are being allocated in the right way at the right time, or in a more specific way, which sales item is the most sold and which is really the most profitable.
A digital software facilitates access to all this information for all members of the company. In addition, it incorporates a system of alerts, which sends certain notices when an update of interest occurs or requires their review. All those responsible for any area will always have the latest information available.
How to make the change to a management system?
It is as important to know what a management program can do for our company as to find out what we need. It is usual that, when we use the same methods and systems for years, we lose some perspective; that we do not consider changing because “we decided to do it that way”. Therefore, the first step is to review our internal processes again, evaluate what information is being collected, which is important and which we would like to know.
Then there would be a preparation phase, in which it is necessary to decide if it is convenient for us to make a complete and rapid change or if, on the contrary, it is preferable to phase it gradually. It should also involve the entire team, both those members who will be directly involved in the change, and the end users. If we look at their opinions and plan a training plan, we can avoid problems later.
Finally, we must assess which management tool is the most appropriate for our situation, since there are more generic solutions and others adapted to business models of particular sectors. Some will provide us with more options than we need, and with others it will be possible to expand their use when we need to.
In short, opting for the digitisation of the company and / or the improvement of the management software that it uses may seem complex at first but the reality is that the benefits that this brings are noticed almost immediately and getting used to this new way of management is very simple as well as beneficial in time and cost.