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Are your processes held together with sticky tape?

03 November 2020 | Blog

In today’s environment, businesses are facing constant challenges like adapting to changing circumstances and coping with a fluctuation in demand.

The situation we have been dealing with since March – working from home, interacting with suppliers and customers online, changes in capacity  – is likely to mean permanent changes in our working practice, which are therefore worthy of attention and investment.

This becomes even more imperative when we examine it through the lens of either increased or decreased demand. Both directions require an examination of how transactions are being handled – are they cost efficient and scalable?

It would be easy to assume that business know exactly how their processes work and why they function the way they do but, in our experience, that’s not always the case!

When we work with a client to design a new solution, the first stage is to undertake a business analysis process where we examine all the details of the processes they are running and the different activities that their staff are performing. In doing this, it’s amazing what we and our customers discover about their business – often costly and risky activities that nobody in management knew were happening.

A frequent example we see is a member of staff carrying out a task that they were shown when they first started in the role and have continued without questions even though it is no longer necessary.  This could be something like printing out every new customer record as it is added into the system and passing it to the next department as a prompt, even though that prompt can be provided automatically within the system.

Another common case is the use of spreadsheets to support a system that doesn’t work as required. Over time, these spreadsheets can become important data repositories that can cause issues due to becoming corrupt and not being backed up. We wrote an entire blog post about the risks of relying on spreadsheets which you can read here.

One of the more amusing examples we uncovered was a customer that ran several reports every week, cut out rows with certain statuses using scissors and then taped them together before sending them on. Obviously, this effort could have been avoided by writing a single report that provided what was needed in one go and could be run by the intended recipient.

Although this seems like a crazy example it’s a perfect illustration of how end users will try to solve  problem themselves, perhaps because of a lack of knowledge or trust in IT, or through a desire to demonstrate tenacity in solving problems and keeping the business running smoothly.

Inefficiencies like these are lurking in every business and harm the ability to scale or cope with change. With businesses being stretched to the limit during the pandemic, it is worth taking a deeper look at your business processes, with the people that execute them, and questioning each step to see if you can uncover any issues. Reviewing your systems in this way will enable you to identify any candidates for rationalisation, which may mean simply retraining staff, tweaking existing systems, or perhaps implementing entirely new solutions to maximise efficiency.

KLOC can help you to identify problems and develop solutions that are tailored to exactly meet your needs, solving the problem areas in your business processes. This can improve scalability, prevent data corruption and facilitate remote access, allowing staff to efficiently complete their tasks wherever they are working from.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your software requirements, please contact us today. KLOC is a software development company based in Berkshire, specialising in solving business challenges with software solutions. We have years of experience designing, building and delivering high-quality solutions backed by expert support for a wide range of companies. We want to use our expertise to help other businesses grow and develop during this time.