1. Proactive monitoring (smoke detectors)
2. A backup plan (insurance)
3. A rescue strategy (call 911)
4. Additional processes, such as a safety manager who accounts for all team members in the event of an evacuation.
Lack Of Planning For Business Systems
Just like you proactively plan for what would happen in the event of a real, physical office fire, you probably also think ahead and take steps to prevent your business from figuratively going up in flames. But, not everyone does the same. In my industry, we often ask ourselves why so many customers wait to come to the table and discuss their business systems until everything is beginning to fall apart — or in our case, when traditional operating systems start to fail. In the end, we often find that the reason they waited so long was that they simply didn’t know what search terms to use to solve their problem. Often, those problems relate to the following:
• Manual and repetitive operations that are causing increased payroll expenses
• Redundancy and segmentation of information and an increase in human errors
• Hard evolution of systems because they lack flexibility and there is no long-term vision
• Difficulties of growth because the business foundation is not solid
Thinking back to our office fire analogy, letting these problems go too long can lead to figurative smoke. Here are a few signs you might be at that point:
• It takes more time to collect the information than to discuss the information.
• No one agrees on the validity of the information, and you spend more time talking about the validity and source than the information.
• When someone goes on vacation, the whole business (or an area of the business) stops.
This becomes a real problem when any of these issues are recurring. If you are discussing the same issue over a three-week period, that’s a good indicator that the fire is smoking.
What To Search For
Before you start researching cloud software, the first thing you need is information. It might be time to bring in a consulting company, or you can go down the rabbit hole on the interwebs. Regardless of your approach, you have to know what you’re looking for. A needle may be difficult to find in a haystack, but it’s even hard to find if you don’t know what to look for.
Do you know what MAS, HCM or SCM stands for? Now you do:
• MAS: Marketing Automation Software (for marketing)
• CRM: Customer Relation Management (for customers)
• HCM: Human Capital Management (for employees)
• PSA: Professional Services Automation (for services)
• MRP: Manufacturing Resource Planning (for production)
• SCM: Supply Chain Management (for production)
• ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning (for finances)
These acronyms are all important to know before you start researching cloud software. This will help you determine what is available and how to communicate with your cloud partner.
Now you have an understanding that:
1. Cloud solutions are available to streamline your business.
2. There are some cool names and acronyms for these solutions.
3. You should consider proactively protecting against business fires.
The next step is to find the right product or mix of products for your business. My suggestion is not to go at it alone. As you make a large investment to create value for your business, it’s important that your partner knows your industry and the benefits and limitations of different software, as well as how to communicate and document your project plan to help you manage change within your organization. The ultimate goal is to optimize the impact of your business systems investment.