How to improve business processes and make better decisions
In our information-driven age, you have a unique chance to use data to optimise your business processes and make more insightful decisions.
But this is not happening as well as it could be, with many business owners guilty of using technology in a way that promotes confusion instead of clarity – or, worse still, not implementing tech at all.
Take apps, for instance. An emblem of successful intent in the digital age, many business owners are discovering to their disadvantage that more is not better. Sure, intelligent software enables you to use data creatively and to ever more productive ends but the explosion of disparate systems undermines any organisational cohesion – leaving you with broken work infrastructures.
This culture can corrode the productivity of teams, where user-friendly analytics tools are brought in arbitrarily to deliver new capabilities to individual users. Better insight might come in the short term but localised analytics resurrects the zombie of silos, in turn spawning data duplication, non-compliance and questionable data integrity.
It sows the seeds for time being wasted as departments argue and cross-check to establish which data sets are most current; misinformed decisions follow, collaboration collapses while inefficiency and costs soar.
This way, “the organisation cannot become truly data-driven in its decision-making, which is likely sooner or later to lead to competitive disadvantage,” explains Forrester analyst Martha Bennett.
Up-to-date structures needed
Now consider the processes that run your business: just as a healthy mind needs a healthy body, executive decisions can only be effective if the organisational structures that underpin them are primed for the times.
Finance is a case in point. Antiquated behaviours used by accountants and businesses – desktop spreadsheets and handwritten bookkeeping – get a job done, but not in a way that can compete on the same playing field as more forward-thinking alternatives.
Applied to any number of processes across the corporate sphere, such inefficiencies paint a worrying picture of organisations trying to take on the future while being chained to the past.
Make the changes to your business processes
There’s a need to rethink how things get done in the workplace and reduce the admin burden with new techniques so workers can focus on more important tasks that directly support bosses as they grow the business.
That these frustrations are recognised suggests business owners are pulling their hair out and trying to make the best of the tools at their disposal.
Here are three ways to improve your business processes.
1. Use an online centralised hub
Instead of working in silos, use an online centralised hub – it will allow your projects and all relevant data to be presented in a familiar format to all authorised users at any time.
This will give you full visibility on team progress, resources being used, worker availability and many other relevant metrics that you need to be successful.
Across the company, will be silos are eroded as employees work seamlessly through a single platform that negates the need to synchronise and search for various documents hiding in different apps and email systems. The right information is always there, ready to share.
From marketing and customer service to accounting and sales, a connected digital environment permeates traditional barriers to nourish collaborative working.
2. Work out your KPIs and use the same analytics to meet them
Rather than creating KPIs then utilising different analytics tools for different parts of your business later down the line, bring both of them together at the start of the process.
Create your KPIs, determine which analytics and data tools will help you achieve them, and stick to them across your company.
By doing this, you will be able to keep your teams singing from the same hymn sheet. You won’t have different teams competing against each other. Instead, you’ll be working together, measuring your data in the same way and using the results to keep improving.
3. Swap spreadsheets for accounting software
Put your spreadsheets to one side and try using accounting software instead. Use a cloud-based platform that presents a unified set of data and software integrated with all organisational functions so your executives can rapidly access the information needed to make the decisions that count.
Decision-makers will get knowledge that they can trust and this breeds the confidence to make the right decisions. All chargeable elements of an invoice are stored and evidenced at the time of billing, so any queries can be swiftly addressed, improving customer experience.
Unprecedented levels of access to information throughout departments allows all participants to work, share and collaborate more effectively, both individually and within teams.
Having the knowledge to succeed
Having accurate information that everyone is clear on and working towards collectively is fundamental to creating, for example, all important sales forecasts.
When your business decisions are informed by maximum insight from all relevant areas of the business, the effectiveness of your sales campaigns can be dissected forensically.
This in turn allows you to track customer behaviours, revenues and business performance while making adjustments as markets evolve.
By using the right tech solutions, you will also be able to improve your organisation’s health, providing metrics that allow you to see into the efficiency of company procedures. With automation in place to take care of repetitive tasks, you will have more time to concentrate on working on your strategy and meeting your business objectives.
So put the right tech in place to improve your business decisions and you’ll have greater insight into the direction your business needs to go and what you need to do to succeed.
How are you using technology in your business to stay ahead of the competition? Let us know in the comments below.