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6 best ways to improve your processes with technology

There are so many tools available today that can help improve processes, where do you begin? What do you look for when you don’t know what’s available and are stuck doing what you know? We’ve seen businesses manage data the same way for decades, and the inefficiencies are often obvious when viewed from the outside. These are our picks for the 5 best ways to improve processes with technology.

Who wants to avoid the problems that come with sharing documents over network drives or emails?

Do you have to ask someone to close a file before you can edit it?

Do you struggle to find the newest copy with names like:

  • final report
  • copy of final report
  • the real final report
  • report v1
  • report v1 newer 

Transition to the cloud and collaborate with your team at the same time on documents. You can now easily review the document and leave comments, and most importantly, have a history of all versions of the file saved within Google Drive (you can do the same with Office 365). This means you can have one file with a complete history of every change made to it, to which you can refer at any time and see who made those changes.

Do you have a field team or staff that need to capture data remotely?

Do your staff have to print out forms or take notes on paper? Do you have a problem finding the data you need after it’s been captured?

Do you have trouble filing, printing or keeping these forms organised? This is another area where the options are too numerous to list. There are so many great off the shelf systems that would suit so many businesses and for those that can’t find something, custom software can definitely solve that problem and work with the existing proprietary workflows or systems.

It’s very easy to transition this manual process to a digital one and see instant benefits and ROI for the change. Using online data capture tools allow you to save time on manual processing and data entry. The data is completely searchable as it centralised online and has 24/7 availability.

You could start really simply with Google Forms (or Microsoft Forms) and automatically get the data captured within Google Sheets or go to TypeForm, Zoho Forms or WordPress with Gravity Forms and some customisation to a complete Custom Development.

Have you thought there has got to be a better way to deal with those really simple phone calls and emails?

Well, there is and this allows you to free up your staff time and let them focus on more high-value tasks. Chatbots are easy to implement and can help answer basic customer queries. Freeing up the time staff used to spend on phone calls and emails.

It’s very easy to set up a basic chatbot, it took us about an hour, and now we can provide our contact details, support ticket services and newsletter signups to anyone without any staff involvement.

We’ve even written an article on 5 ways that Chatbots could help your business: https://aerion.com.au/2019/07/04/5-ways-chatbots-can-help-your-business/

Have you thought there has got to be a better way to manage a workflow or process within your business? Does a process fall over when someone isn’t there?

There are so many systems out there that can help with task and workflow management. These systems can completely transform your organisation and introduce efficiencies that you didn’t know where possible.

Would you like to have all the information for a task available in one location? be able to assign it to a person and have another responsible for it? Be able to update the status of the task easily? Identify if there are any tasks that have been forgotten about or not worked? Then you definitely need to move to a workflow or task management system.

Jira and Trello both offer the ability to manage workflows and show tasks in a “board” view to allow you to see your tasks and track their status and progress as well as be able to add sub-tasks and have comments within those tasks. 

These systems allow for customisation in the workflow, statuses and the fields required at each step. We use Jira daily and have a customised workflow for Engineering, Development and Support.

Did you know there’s another set of tools that allow you to create automated connections between the existing apps and services that you already use?

IFTTT, Zapier and Microsoft Flow are simple tools that allow, through the intuitive clickable interface, rules to be set up and actions to be performed based on certain triggers.

A great example of these tools are how easy it is to setup an approval workflow for publishing content to your organisation’s Social Media Channels.

In this flow, you create content using Microsoft Forms then put it into an approval workflow, once approved it then gets automatically published to social media channels.

Another example is upon Closing a Salesforce case, sending a survey to your customer, and getting the results directly back into Salesforce. Or getting notifications of social media mentions in your company’s Slack. Or syncing tasks between Trello and Todoist… The possibilities are endless.

Do you have a custom workflow or proprietary systems?

Then a custom development might be the best for you.

You might be using any (or all) of the above tools already. You might be noticing that they are all built for their specific purpose, but you’re hitting the limits, or finding things that you want to do that don’t quite fit into anything that already exists. At this point it might be time to look at custom development.

In this way you can get exactly what you need, and adjust it to suit your processes moving forward. Like people, every business is unique, and each has its own way of doing things. Having a product that you control, that does exactly what you need, can increase efficiencies in ways that can far exceed that of generalized tools.

Custom development is a big step, and an ongoing commitment, so it can seem scary. But with the right development team it can sustain you into the future and put you ahead of the pack.

The first place to start and determine what tools are best for your organisation it’s best to sit down and review what systems are in operation, what steps are involved in your workflows and identify what areas can be improved. What paper-based systems can we digitise? What platforms can we integrate with? How much money can we save?

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