There’s an old saying that always appealed to me “When is the best time to plant a tree? The answer is 10 years ago - the next best time is now”…
This is the same for your business. You can plan for events and mitigate as many risks as you can but then out of the blue comes a totally different set of circumstances and a new curveball to deal with.
Yes, the pandemic has flawed us all. Some businesses can pivot to use machinery to make supporting products. Some smaller dynamic companies can invent new approaches or go-to-market strategies on the fly, but 70% of business owners are probably looking at the current situation and thinking “now what do we do!?”.
Sorry to say there is no magic bullet and I cannot fix all your problems in this blog, however after this situation there is only recovery which I guess is a bit like an operation or surgery; you will have a period of recovery.
Once business can get back or gets over the initial shock of this situation there will be a period of reflection on how you operate, how you sell and how you market. Usually in any crisis marketing is the first to be hit, followed by customer care and then sales. You can draw similarities from the 2008/2009 economic incident, and the same from 2002.
Now is a great time to reflect on what has happened, how processes in your business can change and what needs to be done to improve efficiency and processes. After most major impacts to economy or activity, and the way we all do business, it is likely that technology and I.T will pay a major role, so that our businesses can get to a point where a more lean operation is possible. This basically means doing more with less resource.
I was once given some advice from a business director and he said, “the most expensive thing in your business walks in on two legs” and the realisation is that resource and headcount usually take a large part of revenue and budget.
There are many cost savings you can look at to drive efficiency and these usually include resource, systems, and physical assets like buildings.
I think it is fair to say that from the current situation we have all learnt to trust our teams to work from home where they can, granted some businesses can’t and retail will now look long and hard at operations and go-to-market strategy.
Here is a separate blogabout productivity and working from home
The high street and retailers were already under massive pressure, so this may be another one of those times we see the large retails disappear from outlet parks and the high street.
Technology continues to change the way we shop, live and work, and online networking has taken a real leap forward with the likes of Zoom and Microsoft teams being used as a tool to continue to build relationships and network.
As mentioned above, as a business owner you are probably going to look at how you operate and run functions and systems in your business.
Let’s first look at Databases and Systems
I’ve spent nearly 23 years of my career helping business owners like you implement systems, mainly around CRM and web, but the one thing that has been consistent through that whole period is how businesses can make use of data and how efficiency can be gained.
There are many different types of business systems. CRM, ERP and Finance are probably the main ingredients to success, but there are so many other tools in the toolkit that can help with productivity. From the simple automated appointment booking, to tracking tools for marketing and social media, and of course, my favourite which are data tools. Data tools can bring data to life and help with decision making across your enterprise. What is more, they can help with the flow of data and integration or integration processes.
This might sound great and you may well have systems in place, but are they working? Are you getting the best from the investment you have made, and can you do things better? It really is worth thinking about now.
It really is all about the data!
As we progress through what will probably be known as the digital age, I’m sure we will see more technology and more new ways of working that include Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, which will begin to play a bigger role. But underlying all of this will be the data, how accurate the data is and what it is that is going to be paramount.
Intelligence of any kind can only come from the source; we can only implement decisions and outcomes based on good data.
In the early days of databases and applications there was the phrase “rubbish in, rubbish out”. That can now be extended as the source of data in your business is very likely to come from multiple sources and single point system will eventually become redundant. So, the theory of “rubbish in rubbish out” becomes more of an exercise of “Waste Management”. If you have lots of data silos and lots of bad data, then it is not going to help you make decisions, regardless of new technological advances.
This concept may seem a little farfetched and a bit sci-fi but it is already happening, and many businesses are taking advantage of the capability of shared and centralised data. You only need to look to social media and global online retailers to see how data is becoming so important to sales and marketing and tailored information being made available.
Application platforms like LinkedIn are becoming centralised CRM systems for businesses. Although we are not quite there yet I can see the reliance of this increasing as a business social engagement platform. Popular finance systems are extending functions and connectivity to bring data from other systems, and even data brokers are beginning to sell subscriptions to data instead of expecting large investment annually.
Factual is one of the largest databases of company information globally and supplies many well know applications that we all use on a daily basis.
But and there is a but, smaller sized enterprise can’t afford big data, in the same way that corporate enterprise can, so with data becoming a commodity, now is going to be a great time to clean up what you have as its future state will add real value to you organisation. Now is a great time to review what you have and how you use it.
So where do we help in this scenario?
You’ve probably realised by now that we are a technology company, a company that focuses on DevOps and building effective software for business.
So what is DevOps? It basically means Development and Operations. We run your technology for you and we can either supplement your software development team and operational support or we can run development projects for you and then run your services in Microsoft Azure or one of the other popular service platforms like Amazon.
Why do we build software? It’s fun! Technology is always changing, and our team love a challenge. After 11 years we are pretty good at it, so much so, we just renewed our Microsoft Gold Partner status for Application Development.
But my business does not need Software Development?
Well that’s ok too, as our mantra is “We make technology work for you, so that you don’t have to” While we are not building solutions for customers, we are building platforms for customers to subscribe to.
Mapsimise is our latest, and just like the content in this blog, we help with data and location intelligence, helping your business make better and more informative decisions.
But Why maps?
So Mapsimise uses maps, pretty much in the name, but it’s not just about creating maps, its about bringing data together and visually representing it by location so that you can build intelligence and relationships between different data sets from different systems and sources.
Imagine taking your customer data, applying real world filters like tube or rail stations to build location analysis. Imagine letting your sales team not only have access to sales opportunity data, but service data and external data to help make better decisions about location and travel.
Giving your Marketing and Events team the power to create campaigns by location or events where your customers are, instead of just picking a large location and then assuming people will travel.
Data used properly can add so many great advantages to business, and to find out more, visit us at mapsimise.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.