Businesses come in all different shapes and sizes; a small office tucked away in a town centre with a couple of employees, all the way up to a multi-national organisation with huge offices all around the world staffed by thousands. There can be huge chasms of differences between businesses that seem identical in every way, and yet two companies with entirely different setups and layouts that appear to have very little in common can, in truth, be incredibly similar.
While there is a myriad of reasons for this, there is a foundational base of tools that the majority of business share as they grow and develop, and they can be fundamental in key development. While some may be temporary tools while a business gets off the ground, some are techniques and ideas that can stick with a business right to it’s peak operations in time. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Table of Contents
Process Mapping Integrations
While this can seem like a bit of a tedious task to set up and complete, the utilisation of process mapping and the subsequent benefits that it can provide to a business are huge. The initial cost and time expenditure required to implement them is very quickly returned in task speedup and overall work quality, as things are much less likely to be missed.
Having the Right Software
Having the right software for your business is crucial; trying to fix a snow globe with a sledgehammer never tends to end well! Using software that is too complicated will leave the users exhausted after half a day’s work after battling with a thousand and one variables for a simple task. Yet if the software is too basic, it won’t have the functionality and usability that it needs in order to complete the tasks required for it to complete.
When deciding on software, it can be helpful to jot down everything it can currently do, and everything you need it to do. For example, Excel might be able to generate a PDF of your data, but is it the most appropriate tool for reporting and collating datasets for sending directly to clients? Other tools are available and can do the job ten times better. And while a small compromise has to be made in terms of training times for new software, the overall benefits outweigh the initial cost. The cost in energy, time and money will be hugely refunded in a very short span of time when it comes to using the software over time; you could even start to see efficiency and productivity improvements within the first week of a new software being integrated within your organisation if it is the right choice!
Timeframes and Deadlines
Speed is an important factor when it comes to workflow; on the one hand, you don’t want to rush through a task to quickly and end up making mistakes, but on the other hand, if it takes too long, you could end up missing a deadline, or have other teams dependant on your work output waiting around and causing productivity to come to a halt. With a successfully implemented process mapping strategy, every detail about the task, including how long each part of it should take (with parameters), it is much easier to run at the correct pace to ensure both haste and quality with your work.
On the same lines, it may also be worth looking into how different platforms of software can be used to improve elements such as accessibility. For example, keeping software installed locally upon a singular computer system can cause a huge issue if that computer crashes, or gets lost or stolen. On the other hand, storing software to be run and accessed via a local server can be a good way around this, however, if the server goes down for any reason, any and all work can grind to a halt until it is fixed.
An increasingly popular solution to this problem is Cloud-based software. The ability to access programs and files from anywhere around the world gives it the highest level of accessibility to users possible. Additionally, the strains of the software’s system requirements are run through the server instead of through the user’s system, allowing access to almost all devices. Finally, security and data safety are the highest priorities of Cloud systems, allowing damaged or lost data to be recovered quickly, and in some cases, with extensive timeframes (I.e., server rollbacks from over a week ago, if such a repair is needed). This can be extremely handy for systems and sectors that deal extensively with confidential or sensitive information (such as personnel records, financial and payroll information, and health and safety information pertaining to the organisation)
Quality over Quantity
Speaking of quality, as mentioned above it is integral to any process map that each and every detail is included. This doesn’t have to be as in-depth as “click on start, search for “x” program, click to open it” etc, but providing details into particularly complex or intricate sections of a task can save huge amounts of time (for example, clear instructions on creating a data-dependant Macro in a spreadsheet, or pulling database records to export as a PDF document). It can be helpful when creating a process map to note down everything you do as you complete the task in question; that way, every single detail is ready and available, and in turn, can be whittled down to create a more concise, yet still in-depth, run-through of actionable tasks in order to generate an effective and productive process map. It’s like a building kit; you might be able to build the kit each time from memory, but occasionally there may be parts left over. Having the instructions available to follow makes building it a thousand times easier, faster, and more efficient.
Even just with the above, they can help to lay out a foundational structure for planning, going through a task step-by-step, and ensuring that you have the right tools and accessibility to complete the task at hand, regardless of what it is. Additionally, the speed, quality and estimated completion times will help to keep quality assurance, workflow, and productivity high, which is nothing if not great for any business, as I am sure we can all agree!