These days way too many companies have multiple software programs that they need to run and manage their companies all of which aren’t ‘talking’ to each other.
Our clients tell us that they all started off with one or two, but over time, they added specialized packages that were supposed to make their work easier. Our Not-For-Profits tell us that they added software packages to manage their grants, fundraising events and track donations.
Manufacturing clients tell us that they added forecasting, shop floor control and sometimes warranty and serial or lot number tracking. Our retail customers tell us that they struggle with being able to accurately track multiple inventory locations. Construction subcontactors tell us that getting their jobs and estimates into their accounting software can be a real challenge.
Everyone of these clients is entering the same data into multiple programs, with very few checks and balances to ensure that their data matches up. We wondered why that was, and here’s what they told us: After looking at whatever aspect their primary software wasn’t addressing; they did the research to find an application that would allow them to track the additional information that their company needed.
Often, they were told that the new software would transfer the information to their primary software. And all too often, it didn’t work the way they hoped; sometimes they got it to work intermittently, and occasionally they never got the new software to share data with their original software. But they had an extra clerk, and that kind soul got the information into one or both software packages.
If this sounds like your company, do you need to resign yourself to this outcome? The simple answer is no! But what are your options? First of all, there’s a fairly good chance that someone, somewhere has gotten the two systems to share data. Best resource: the specialty/ industry specific software that you added will know how to make this work.
You can have them integrate the systems for you or ask them to supervise your team while they do the work. If this is your only issue and the budget for the integration seems like a good investment; go for it!
If you have three to six programs to integrate and none of those programs are giving you exactly what your team needs to drive more business, then you may have outgrown your software. If this sounds like where your company is, then you need to re-evaluate your company’s needs.
That process looks something like this:
First, define redundant work, quantify costs and look at how long it will take your company to recoup the investment for a new integrated software package. The calculation to quantify your costs looks something like this: for each manual task you are hoping to eliminate, that that person’s hourly rate plus 30% for fringes.
Multiply that rate times the weekly average hours it takes to do the task, and finally multiply that number by 52 weeks in the year. Repeat the process for each task, add up the total dollars and that will give you your ROI (return on investment).
Generally, if you can make that investment back in 12-18 months, that’s a good return.
The additional benefit is that by freeing up your employees to do more meaningful work, you’ll also get more done and even be able to delegate work to other team members, helping them to grow into their full potential. It also doesn’t hurt that your team members will be doing more meaningful work.
Our clients tell us that often, that one thing becomes a top benefit of having updated to a fully integrated software package.
Both technology and the world have changed in the past few years, and advances in software programs are right up there with their changes as well. If you’ve owned your software for about seven years, the differences between then and now are amazing.
Whether you’re the CFO, the CEO or any management level team member needed to accomplish more with the same size team, this is a conversation you’ll want to have.
Every company’s needs change over time, and the methodologies in place need a good review every five to seven years as well.
Talk with your CPA, get their take on software. Talk with colleagues and peers as well. Ask yourself if you really need your team to be doing as much manual work as they do.
We can all handle special projects, but those have a beginning and an end. It’s when we get to that point where we are either buried in paperwork, or the numbers from the different systems don’t agree that we need to take a breath and ask ourselves if there isn’t a better way, and today is a great day to start finding answers.
If this sounds like you, we should chat. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up at time that works for you!