There is no denying that many businesses absolutely need automation in order to get to that next level of efficiency. Unfortunately, large companies with large budgets drove the development of most automation solutions and therefore, those solutions are very complex.
This legacy complexity creates an actual and perceived barrier to implementation. Small to medium businesses (“SMB”) don’t have the training and support resources, nor the cash runway to implement and achieve the promised benefits from automation. But SMBs, don’t be deterred, there are automation solutions that will fit your budget, workforce and customer needs.
The poster child of complex solutions for efficiency gains is an enterprise resource planning system or ERP. Software solutions have a tendency to be built to do everything, but as we all know, that can lead to an application that does nothing well. Many ERP’s have a module for virtually every function of the business, but this breadth of business coverage is what makes these solutions so complex and potentially less effective than planned.
The ERP should be used for the functionality where it excels and provides value that is measurable and difficult to replicate with multiple separate applications. Its ok to only use the modules that meet the test and to use other, separate applications for other functionality. In other words, take a practical approach instead of an idealistic approach. Find some solutions that will cleanly and easily get the job done.
Several benefits may come from this such as, lower cost, the opportunity for a phased approach, faster employee adoption and ultimately, faster return on investment. The biggest benefit of looking at the situation in this way is that you should not be overwhelmed or deterred. It is doable. It may take some small steps first and a solid plan, but the whole point is to get started down the automation path. Doing nothing is exactly that, doing nothing.
If you don’t get started, the opportunities for efficiency gains, cost savings and happy customers can slip away. So look at taking on a document management system to help get the customer and job files into accessible digital format. Think about implementing a CRM to stay connected with your customers and prospects. Maybe a collaboration site to improve adhoc project results. These are not necessarily large outlays but will provide the needed automation and company advancement.
Millennia Group provides workflow and document management solutions. For more information and additional blog posts, please visit our website, www.mgdocs.com.