Where Emerging Companies Get Stuck
How Digital Transformation creates opportunities for growth and efficiency in the disorganized organization.
In todays hyperconnected, high speed business world, companies cannot afford not to make their data management as efficient as possible. One of the challenges that we often run into has to do with customer data – information about the customer that follows them through the relationship with the company. This creates great inefficiencies across organization and can cost companies productivity, time, and capital unnecessarily.
A typical scenario: the company is great at doing what they do, but the outside sales team is collecting potential and customer data in excel spreadsheets they keep on their computer, or worse yet, in a notebook – usually. Good clients – the low hanging fruit, they typically stay on top of, but those big, slow deals, can easily get forgotten about or simply not nurtured effectively enough.
The inside sales team receives inbound customer requests and makes outbound calls to prospects to support the sales team. They are also using their own versions of the spreadsheets to track customer data. It is easy enough to sort and get information out of the spreadsheets, but the only person who really knows what is in it or how to work them is that inside salesperson. So, if project management or marketing needs that information, they have to go to that person to get it. Sometimes when things are busy, information or requests come in, but instead of getting added to the spreadsheet, the information just gets jotted down on a piece of paper or a sticky note. Hopefully, it will get put into production to fulfil a customer request or be forwarded to the outside salesperson and someone will take action on it.
It usually works.
In this scenario, the Project Manager has project and ticket management solutions that are not connected to each other, and furthermore, aren’t connected to any other business systems in meaningful ways, such as their accounting software. As a result, there is a very real possibility that the same customer could be named two or more different ways, billing could be missed or inaccurate, and certainly time consuming to re-enter information, so even doing a report could end up having information that is not accurate nor complete.
The company CFO must manually audit all bills to clients and inform the PM whenever payments come in so that they can plan work appropriately. Payroll has to be prepared manually and sent to the payroll company, which will distribute payroll and send the CFO the payroll records which they will have to add to their accounting software.
Most reporting that must be done has to be done manually, so that it could potentially take a week to do.
This is what is known as the disorganized organization.
How did we get here?
No one ever intentionally makes this kind of mess. When companies start out, people simply get on board and do things the best that they can, but as the company grows and gets more complex, more people get involved, and they tend to ask for different solutions to do their work more efficiently without thinking about it from an organizational level, which eventually leads to the scenario above.
The key solution is to have a system that has one primary database, whether that is your CRM, ERP or Operations Management system, your accounting system, an industry specific software, or something else altogether. Any time one system would update customer information, that information should be replicated back to the central database and update the other solutions. That way inside and outside sales, project management, accounting, and any other resource has the up-to-date information that they need to complete their work. Information is accurate as long as the data being entered is correct, ultimately avoiding double and triple entry of customer data.
Systems like Salesforce and Zoho are extremely customizable. They typically will have native integrations along with the ability to build custom integrations that centralize data providing a 360 view of your customer within the organization. Furthermore – and critical to your digital transformation journey – they can be customized to meet the unique way your company does business. In other words, the way you’ve done things in the past can continue while implementing automations that allow you to improve productivity, increase accuracy and save the company money. Many times, we’ve seen people’s roles realigned as the organization became more efficient and they became more effective.
While this process isn’t a “flip of the lights switch” transformation, it is one that if prioritized correctly, will allow the company to scale and support growth as it is able to do more with less and have fewer missed opportunities. As with any major business decision, it begins with strategy, which is the method of finding the best solutions for the business to gain marketplace advantage.
If your goal is to build an extraordinary company, digital transformation is not something that you can overlook. Even companies that embrace technology will continue to evolve if their intention is to remain competitive in the marketplace. Therefore, digital transformation is not a question of “if,” but rather that of “when.”
Learn more about how Aepiphanni’s multicultural, multinational team of experts can help your emerging company get unstuck.
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