One of the easiest examples to point to when we talk about technology helping a business is processing credit card transactions.
Being used to Amazon, eBay, PayPal – really, any online system nowadays – we purchase something and enter a credit card number. Anything that is more complicated than that and you’re likely not to make a purchase. In most cases, these sites will store the card information for you so all you have to do is click a button and never reach into your back pocket for your wallet. Yet, monthly, I still am forced to deal with a vendor who asks me to print out the invoice he sends to me and write in my credit card information.
First: If you’ve read my blogs, you know this is my biggest pet peeve. Especially if you are a technology company. Get IT together!
Second: I’m sure this violates some PCI compliance regulation.
Third: How inefficient is this for you and the client? What kind of experience are you creating for your customers if they have to jump through hoops just to pay you?
To identify potential inefficiencies, let’s look at your applications. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What are the top one or two mission-critical applications (MCA) in your business?
I’m sure you have an accounting system, like Quickbooks. What else? Is there a tool for delivering the service, a CRM to manage prospects, an ERP that manages the shop floor? List all of them out – and then ask these questions for each. Questions — this is going to be a common theme throughout this exercise. Be ready to ask the questions and be ready to start looking for answers.
What other features are you not using?
Many businesses are using Quickbooks to manage their accounting. Are you managing payroll through Intuit or another fast, web-based system. Or, gulp, are you doing it manually?
If you are using ShopTech’s E2 or IQMS as your ERP, are you versed in all features of this application?
Look for ways to tweak those applications to do more for you. Believe me, there are a ton of features in your MCA. I’ve seen it at companies of all shapes and sizes — they don’t fully utilize all of what the software has to offer.
Too many companies are not automating enough of their processes related to their mission-critical applications. A survey conducted last year revealed that nearly one-third of companies are relying on manual disaster recovery resources and 78% of the 184 companies that participated in the survey face unplanned and unnecessary risks in their disaster recovery strategies related to their mission-critical applications.
When was the last time you updated your MCA?
These applications may have annual updates, quarterly updates – or even more frequent during peak periods, like the inside of an accounting office during tax time.
Read the Release Notes – it’s important to know exactly what is changing in the system. If you don’t want to do this, pass the task along to an employee who is your “Power User.” Make them the ‘Quickbooks Administrator’ or whatever. Make it an important role, where they are in charge of informing IT that a change is coming, reads the notes, and educates the staff on new changes.
How to find out if technology is helping my business
Want to find out how to see if technology is helping your business? Start watching any episode of “Undercover Boss” to get ideas.
Here is a show where the top execs at large companies go undercover, usually in an entry-level job.
Here, the “boss” gets to see what happens; inefficiencies with tools, processes, and client interactions.
Take a look at what is going on with the delivery side of your business and ask yourself, what changes can be made?
Executives need to look at a problem or a situation from all sides. How will employees react? How will customers react? How will regulators react? How will the media react? It’s only after all sides are analyzed should a final decision be made. There should always be an endless stream of questions running through your head. Those questions will help improve your business. And your bottom line.
Business is always changing, and technology is there to support us and allow us to do more with less. Tell me how you are using technology to make a difference in your business – [email protected].