As we all enter the New Year, its a great time to take a look at your software systems and business processes and make sure you get are still getting the maximum value out from them.
Here are our four suggested New Year's Software resolutions that might help
This is probably our number one resolution for New Year as cybersecurity is the biggest threat to any business with software systems and we find its something that so many businesses are either not aware of or just don't prioritise.
So we'd say ask yourself when was the last time your business conducted a full security and vulnerability audit? If you've not done one in the past 12 months then we strongly suggest that you do as the cyber threat landscape is constantly changing and evolving.
For peace of mind, you should seriously consider bringing in someone to conduct a security audit and help you identify risk areas and guide you through possible solutions to mitigate those risks. They can help identify any risk areas and determine what the business should be doing to address them. We'd also suggest conducting audits on a regular basis.
If you are not doing so already, we would suggest creating and maintaining a business process map. Every business has processes, but they are often not documented. If you map out all of your processes it helps you become aware of all the steps in your business process and how they are being done and how efficient each step is running.
It’s quite often not until we start mapping out our process flows that we become fully aware of every step that is taken to complete an action and more importantly aware of which steps are actually failing or held together with sticking plaster or solutions that are not ideal and are consuming time, effort and increasing your costs.
If you conduct such an audit at least once a year it can be an eye-opening exercise that helps you understand what's working and what's not working in your business and therefore gives you the opportunity to spot any gaps or challenges that should be addressed.
By doing this every year and it can help you identify if you perhaps need new or upgraded systems in place to help you address these issues. We'd also suggest bringing in an independent advisor who can review your existing business process and suggest any changes on the technology side that you may not be aware is possible but may actually buy an improved return on your processes.
It’s completely normal for a business to “always do what they’ve always done” and to allow processes and habits that ‘just work’ to occur so don't beat yourself up over it but our 2nd resolution suggestion is not to fall into that trap and look at your business process map each and every year.
This is also a big must do, to review each year. Many businesses fall into the trap of using old legacy systems simply because they've always been there or the fear of what's involved in changing or replacing them. Both are genuine concerns but quite often the reality is that those issues are not as scary as they might appear.
We find that most businesses using legacy systems suffer from two main problems. The first one is that those systems are simply not fit for purpose anymore and don't really match your current business process, or the other big problem is that they don't talk to your other systems and share data.
So instead of adding sticky tape to these systems and hoping for the best or passing data between them the hard and time-consuming way we'd suggest getting those systems checked out. Sometimes the solution is to build something new but there are also solutions where a bit of clever new software can be put in place allowing those legacy systems to share data and talk to each other.
So this year we'd suggest doing a full review and taking advise on any legacy systems you are operating.
We find that many businesses don't review Software ROI and profitability in the same way they do other areas of their business. We think this is a big mistake. There can be a lot of lost costs involved in using Software that's not really working for you in the same way as it did when it was first built. We'd encourage all businesses to regularly review the software they use and encourage the users within the business to regularly evaluate and give feedback on any areas they feel could improve.
What we suggest is at the very least to have a checklist of questions to evaluate your software that you regularly apply like; Is the Software making your staff productive or hindering their productivity?, How easy or hard is to use?, How fast can a new user be trained to use the software?, How stable is the software?, Are you applying any workarounds to its process?
You get the idea!
Hopefully these four resolutions help you to focus some thoughts on the software and business processes you currently use. And if we can help in making those resolutions become reality, let us know!