By Jon Wellman
As emerging technologies provide more and more solutions to digitise your business, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype without thinking pragmatically about what your business needs, and what digitisation of certain processes could help you achieve.
We’re all trying to save time, grow our businesses and work more efficiently. But every business has its unique products or services, values, knowledge, workflows, organisational structure, people and processes.
To truly benefit from digital transformation – to experience its workflow-streamlining, productivity-boosting, quality-enhancing power – it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for digitising your business: digital transformation looks different for every business.
Let’s look at how shaping your digital transformation activities around your unique business processes can drive productivity, efficiency and long-term success as you digitise your business.
Here are five business processes you might not have realised could benefit from being digitised.
Manual data entry can really slow your business down, and using multiple (and often competing) bits of software often means we’re entering the same data, for the same purpose, twice or more.
Automating data entry can save you a lot of time: for example, if a customer sends you a Purchase Order to book a job, your software could extract data from the PDF and automatically create a job in your system, and even assign it to someone depending on the type of job it is.
Here’s an example of custom software working wonders in data entry: we recently worked with waste management company Jumbocorp to automate data entry. Before, team members had to create hundreds of jobs a day by reading emails and purchase order PDFs and manually entering data from those requests in the system – an extremely time-consuming process.
Now the information is just there – and they can spend their time on more important things.
Think about all the time you and your team spend collecting data from your suppliers, such as an up-to-date list of their products and service pricing. It can really add up.
Consider integrating software which can comb documents, websites and emails, automatically collect this data, and update it in your system.
Imagine — up-to-the-minute pricing information at your fingertips, without having to do any manual work.
Riding the e-commerce wave is extremely common for product-based businesses, but less so for those focusing on services, such as trades. But allowing customers to book online can be incredibly instrumental in making it easier – and thus more likely – for them to contract your services.
We’re currently helping Bark King and Jumbocorp integrate e-commerce functions into their website so that their larger customers can book complex jobs online via a custom-built customer portal. This can work for smaller jobs too. In most industries, there are existing platforms that can do this for you, but if your pricing is at all personalised or dynamic, this will cause a ton of frustration (as you probably know already).
And even if it does work, you’ll probably have to give the platform a commission for the pleasure of advertising you right next to all your competitors.
Many of your business processes would not necessarily fit into the mold created by off-the-shelf software. This was the case for one of Australia’s largest vehicle acquisition groups. They have a complex private tendering process that previously included a lot of leg work.
We worked with them to develop a digital solution for that private tendering process that would streamline their quoting workflow. Their custom-build system now allows them to post jobs to car dealers in order to field quotes from service providers. All they need to do then is pick the winner.
Many businesses spend a huge amount of time preparing quotations for their clients and specifications for their staff and contractors, often using a combination of Excel, PowerPoint and Word. The problem is that the process is quite clunky and time-consuming, and the outputs can be wildly inconsistent depending on who’s preparing the quote.
We were engaged to develop a custom software solution to solve this problem for office fitout design business, Officeboy.
Having been tailored to fulfil the business’ specific needs in a target area for digital transformation, the solution improved and sped up quotation processes, and led to increased margins, easier business management, improved scalability and increased sales rates.
So, what’s the best way to digitise your business so that you experience the game-changing benefits of digital transformation?
Ultimately, digital transformation works best when it’s targeted. Focus on key processes, identify areas for improvement, and choose a solution that enhances – not detracts – from the value that your business offers through them.
Want to talk more about custom software that reflects the uniqueness of your business? Get in touch, we’d love to talk.
Jon Wellman on 30 June 2020
I'm a director at Vokke Software in Melbourne. We build custom web software for companies to help them digitalise their organisations, achieve their strategic goals, and disrupt their industries. I'm passionate about working with smart people on interesting problems, particularly in technology and business.