When technology is adopted in the correct way, businesses are suddenly presented with an opportunity to truly blossom.
No more is this true than in the world of software. And there has never been a better time to take advantage of the ocean of applications now available; driven by the hugely popular ‘freemium’ software model which has taken over the industry. The freemium model is simple: provide free or cheap services for small teams, which incur charges incrementally for premium services or additional users. If your team remains small, the apps remain free. Many of these downloadable nuggets of joy are beautifully simple; but the additional function provided by each one can bring measurable gains in efficiency, improve the interoperability of members in a team and make boring tasks a whole lot more fun!
Let’s put this in the context of collaboration. The documentation of business processes can be an important (but traditionally tedious) feature of any company. Particularly a company whose ambition is to deliver consistent customer support and build a scalable service offering. When one member of the team learns a new skill, or finds a more efficient way to complete a previously time-intensive or challenging task, the best thing that person can do is to make their newfound knowledge available to others. This means that existing or future staff can immediately benefit from the learnings of another. They can even build on the new process, and reinforce it into the day-to-day workings of the business. But only if this information is made readily available.
Recognising the power of collaborative learning, we built UtilityWiki – an internal manual which receives (and welcomes) daily contributions from everyone in our team (directors and developers alike) and provides a platform to learn from the successes (and failures) of others. Through Slack, our preferred communication app, UtilityWiki becomes easily searchable – delivering articles and guides on demand when asked a question such as “How do I set up a new Supplier?” or “What is the HH bulk upload process?”. In the blink of an eye, the company’s combined knowledge and experience becomes available to all of our staff. And how much does this efficiency gain cost us each month? $10. Yep. Just $10 to build a library of information which helps us incrementally improve every aspect of our business.
And in the world of CRM systems – larger-scale applications with multi-faceted functionality – the premise of simplifying and enhancing the experience of your team is even more relevant – and even more exciting! Providing your staff with the tools they deserve to win and retain business seems like a no-brainer; and companies which adapt to take advantage of new systems are the ones lifting the trophies at industry events. Processes are there to be improved; not to be enforced to the detriment of your own success. Stand still and risk stagnation; or even worse, lose clients.
Use technology, and use it well my young padawan. Start today – find an app, find a colleague and start seeing how the simplest software can make a positive impact on your business. Adapt and thrive.