Are you using the right software for the right job?
As has been recently highlighted with the UK government’s Track and Trace issue using the right software for the right job is paramount for any business. The government sadly lost 16,000 records for its COVID-19 Track and Trace program due to using software that wasn't designed to carry out the job it was assigned to.
Software programmes are meant to be beneficial for your business and produce positive results for you and all your team. It is a very different story though if you are using or about to purchase the wrong software as the negative impact could be critical to your business as can be seen below.
Major data errors
The quickest solution isn’t always the best choice and doing this can be detrimental to any business. Using the wrong software can leave your business with a large number of potential problems.
Some people think using a spreadsheet as a database is a convenient way to go but it's not… It can lead to dire consequences.
A business is advised to be really careful when using popular spreadsheet applications and to check settings on a regular basis as failing to do this can lead lead to an array of issues. There are many horror stories out there where automatic features like spell correct has lead to details being altered without anyone being aware of this or converted some symbols to dates and numbers resulting in incorrect information.
Businesses need to be aware that information can be added erroneously giving you results that are incorrect leading you to make the wrong decisions. Information is also more open to being manipulated giving you incorrect information about your business.
Reduction in productivity
Software is intended to simplify operations to increase performance and allow a business to move forward more quickly. Team members should find it easier to carry out their tasks whether they directly or indirectly use the software and this should result in a happier work environment.
When a system is not capable of handing a certain task this can result in a major failure. Not only could many hours of hard work be lost but any confusion and delays while trying to resolve the issue would have a significant impact on productivity reducing overall business performance.
Morale within the workforce would be significantly affected. Frustration would be high as the knock-on effect would spread throughout the business and the stress would create a negative work environment which no business wants. A happy workforce is key to productivity and business growth.
Paying careful attention to your budget is paramount for business growth. No business wants to throw money away on a bad decision. Choosing the wrong product, employing the wrong person for a role can result in financial losses so it makes sense to think it through when you are about to purchase or use existing software for a new purpose without checking first that it is capable of being able to handle it.
Time would be wasted if you have invested in the wrong software and a business would have to either revert to previous operation methods which may have been costly and the reason you purchased new software in the first place or spend more money on a more appropriate program. This would slow business growth or even set it back losing you money.
You would have trained staff members how to use the software which will have used up resources and now your business is idle until the issue is resolved but you will still have wages to pay. The costs are adding up and that is not including any new software you may have to invest in and the additional staff training that goes along with it.
When your software doesn't operate as it should it doesn't just effect the business. It could lead to disruption with suppliers, delays in fulfilling orders, being able to access customers/clients information; the list goes on. When something goes wrong it is like a domino effect and so many areas feel the brunt, including your customers and clients.
There is also the issue of reputation and every business wants a happy customer/client. If there is a chance that the business is seen to be failing there is no option but to do whatever it takes to keep them happy. This may mean using additional resources such as goodwill gestures, discounts on delayed services etc which will cost a business more time and more money in the long run.
Am I able to avoid this happening to my business?
Training is paramount to ensure software is used correctly thus avoiding any mistakes which could happen if a member has forgotten how to use a particular feature. Your team will need to be trained not just when you get new software but it is also a good idea to refresh training at regular intervals to ensure everyone is up to date on how to use it effectively. Everyone learns at a different pace so you need to ensure you have put in place training options that is best for them. Sometimes rather than going across the whole business, if possible maybe stagger a roll out of new software, this is a far gentler and softer approach.
If you are thinking about investing in new software it is important to have a good idea what you want the software to accomplish, what team members will be using it and the overall goal you expect from the software. If you can clarify your exact requirements to a software provider whether that it someone who specialises in bespoke software or one who has experience with off the shelf packages you will have a better chance of finding the appropriate options that fits your business needs. This will save you money by ensuring you buy the right software.
Businesses have faced many challenges during the recent pandemic and may want advice on what a software system should and shouldn't be used for. A software consultant will take a look at what technology you are currently using, how any existing software systems are performing and review your business operations. This enables them to give recommendations that can help your business avoid any potential mistakes that would have a dramatic impact on your business.
It is important to remember that you can only achieve optimum performance with software if it is used correctly.