When was the last time you stood back and looked at the workflows in your business? Why should you if everything is working well; orders are coming in, the system is processing them and the goods and services are going out?

The simple reason is that we live in an environment where technology, convergence and innovation are opening up new opportunities for everyone, especially businesses, and giving us further tools and resources to achieve more. OK it’s easy to get overload at this point with the opportunities to do things differently are everywhere and we can also be seduced by the next new shiny toy, be that hardware or an app.

Cleverly you need to continually ensure your business assesses what resources it needs to grow and remain efficient; what you did last year may not be the best this year; and if you were doing it five years ago you’re likely missing a benefit somewhere.

We routinely see businesses processing data and products where big leaps in efficiency could be gained through the automation of workflow and processes. There are some very simple changes where automation apps can be included behind the website. Some businesses will have started and developed workflows using spreadsheets, which to my mind is excellent as you’ve got a tool that everyone knows how to use at a fundamental level and changes can be made quickly and with little overhead.

However when the processes are proven and mature, rarely is a basic spreadsheet the most efficient way. Use spreadsheets as breadboards for building and honing the process and then get the processes automated. The automation will remove human error and save significant labour costs. Then with the freed-up labour turn it to greater profitability, therefore growing your business not your payroll.

Having your staff, customers and processes on one common platform makes for significant innovative opportunities for growth.

Simon Thomas has 40 years’ experience in business process and builds & programs bespoke websites and apps that sell, market and automate processes. “My kick is seeing the business wheels spin more freely once we’ve done the geeky stuff”.

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