By: GreatAmerica on January 22nd, 2024
It’s Time to Take a Good Hard Look at Your Technology & Processes
Updated on 6/7/2023. Originally posted 9/2/2021.Over the last several years, businesses have become increasingly creative, many shifting to a hybrid strategy and taking on new product and service lines to meet the quickly changing needs of their customers. As a technology provider, you had to quickly diversify your offerings in the middle of a global pandemic to ensure your customers had the latest technology to run their businesses. But how many of you came back to your own office only to encounter disparate systems or antiquated equipment surrounded by manual processes? Taking on new product and service offerings requires time and resources. The challenge is to figure out how to maintain your primary business while still devoting the time necessary to make improvements to your internal processes and technology so you can provide your customers with a top-notch experience. Now more than ever, technology providers need to enhance their processes with the same diligence they display with their customers.
Here are five questions to help you take a good hard look at the technology and processes you rely on to run your business.
How many systems does it take to run your primary business?
There is no single answer; however, the higher the number, the higher the risk. It is virtually impossible to use a single system for every part of your business, but what you choose must work together and share data as seamlessly as possible. There are two different categories when selecting a system: best in class vs. an integrated solution. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of both and determine which is the best approach for your business.
Is there manual entry required to get information from one system to the next system in your process?
Any time there is manual entry there is a risk of errors and delays. The ideal situation is to reduce the number of times people must input information and ensure data is automatically passed between systems. If you decide to pursue best in breed, this is even more important to fully integrate the systems used across your process. When working with third parties, ask about their integration capabilities because many times you can be very efficient with your data internally, but then that efficiency falls apart during those interactions.
One way we help our customers improve their efficiencies is through integrations with their CRMs. These integrations help streamline and speed up the process crucial steps in the financing process, like submitting a credit application for example. Through integrations with industry-leading CRMs, data you already have stored in your system can be pulled to automatically populate a digital credit application, which is then sent directly to the GreatAmerica credit processing queue. This process makes things better for both you and your customer; No double entry, no timely data input, less risk of errors, and ultimately, driving faster decisioning.
How many of your needs are not met with your business applications and require some manual tracking or intervention?
It’s unlikely any one system will meet all your needs, however, the amount of manual work surrounding your process indicates how ideal it is for your business. Evaluate what you are manually entering and what value it provides for your business. As needs change, sometimes the processes require adjustments to remain productive. If you find gaps, work with your software vendor to to seek ways to replace manual tasks with automated processes.
When you hire a new employee, how easy is it for them to learn your business applications and the processes surrounding them?
Someone who has never been exposed to your process or your systems can be a great resource because they will ask the questions others can’t or won’t. They aren’t used to the workarounds or know the tricks necessary to make your systems work. Encourage your new employees to ask questions, provide feedback and look for opportunities to streamline your processes and improve your operations.
How easy is it to get actionable data from your primary business applications?
Systems are needed to run your business; however, an overlooked element is using those systems to drive behavior. Data can be a powerful decision-making tool. If the data isn't available to make the decisions you need, add it. Monitor key metrics and use proactive alerts through the system when they fall outside your tolerance. Drive more consistent execution by using automated workflows triggered based on specific criteria or scenarios, eliminating the need to think about what needs to be done.
Challenge yourself by looking at your business from this viewpoint and seek a fresh perspective by getting feedback from someone that isn’t as close to the system. These questions are certainly not the only ones you should be asking as a business owner, but they will shed light on the areas of your processes that may need updating.
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Need help figuring out ways to better allocate your time and resources? Utilizing integrations can ease your staff's administration and allow better workflows while providing an enhanced experience overall to your customers. Visit www.greatamerica.com/integreat to learn about the various integrations we offer. Or click the button below to sign up for a FREE Technology Integration Review! We'll take a look at the software providers you already use and provide you with a report on what efficiencies your team could be leveraging.
GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.