I decided to start blogging after years of toying with the idea. I always thought, who will read it? It’s just a guy talking tech, business, and having a few laughs along the way, but I think that is exactly the point. Easy to digest discussions about technology in a business setting, using real world scenarios and using my own experiences (and failures!) as a how-to guide to maximise your technology investment.
One of my inspirations that finally made my mind up is a YouTube channel called AvE. It’s a Canadian guy in his home workshop, pulling apart tools, reviewing them, and generally having a good time. He is full of anecdotes, great facts, and easy to digest knowledge to empower the lay person (home-gamers as he calls them) to learn and grow, without the pressure of formality (or even knowing who he is.)
Collaborative discussion is absolutely key to these styles of communication. You can reach me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or even the trusty comments section below. Details are at the bottom.
With that preamble out of the way I thought today we would look at the flip side of implementing technology. When do you know the tech has passed its use by date or isn’t a right business fit? What better way of explaining this than exploring my own technological failings and how we have solved them.
My ventures are rather diverse in nature, a core focus on technology, but we support and enable many different industries and markets. In our IT sector we have been using a remote management and monitoring tool (RMM) which has been both cost effective and fit the business requirements. This has tied into our main PSA tool (CRM, Projects, Sales, Finance) and worked quite well with Quickbooks Online. (I’m trying to not name names, the software has been robust and powerful for what we have needed but I have a particular gripe about Quickbooks Online I just have to share.)
Everything seemed fine, we have been delivering projects on time and to budget, what possible issue would we have?
Well, that issue is scale. It is both the best and worst problem to have at the same time. The realization hit me about six months ago as our projects were becoming more complex, our clients were growing significantly, and we were trying to become as efficient as possible. We leaned down our processes where we could but our business tools were slowing us down, badly!
An example of this is a simple purchase, let’s say a new laptop for a client. I had to use three different pieces of software (four if you count the actual ordering with the vendor) to create a sale, make the quote, start a project, invoice it, and then onboard the new computer to our toolset. The entire process would take about 30 minutes. If you place a value on your time a simple laptop purchase was costing serious money just to get the thing to our door, before we start actually getting it ready for a customer.
It started to make sense I could keep trying to force this issue and “make it work” to save some up front capital OR look at throwing the last two years of process and system in the bin and starting again. Let’s just say I wasn’t super pleased with either option!
A couple of months passed and we got so busy we actually could not waste this time on what should be a simple process. I spent another couple of months looking at all of the different possible combinations of software, processes involved in a migration, and then actually deciding to commit to a platform. Again, I won’t name names but it’s a suite of four core products that provide an entire business management toolset for sales, IT management, and business management. You can google it if it’s important…
So, four months into the process I have decided to commit. What an undertaking! Ignoring the cost of the software, just the cost in retraining, migrating data, systems, endpoints. It’s no small feat, that’s for sure.
Although I was rather apprehensive signing a three year deal for software that makes or breaks my business I could not be happier with the decision. My story from above, the entire process is down to about 7 minutes now, including configuring the laptop. My customers have a single toolset to interact with us, its user friendly, and it just works.
Now, am I suggesting you need to go and set fire to your business processes? Absolutely not. For the love of god please don’t! What I am eluding to is the need for a business to be nimble and not be caught up in a the entropy of a current system or process.
My absolute bug bear, and I call people out on it all the time is “but this is how we always have done it” or “it’s too hard to change.” As a business owner, leader, or even one of the team do NOT become complacent and never fear technology. There are people like me out here who live and breathe helping people get on with the business of business and we take care of the technology, processes, and implementation.
So, do yourself a favour and take half an hour to review your technology. Is it actually as good as you think? How much time and money are you pissing up against a wall because of inefficiencies? If you do the math you might be shocked. I certainly was!
Up the top I decided to name and shame Quickbooks Online (QBO). I don’t like to review products or disparage software vendors who clearly put time and money into a product, but this is just classic lock in tactics.
Say you are using Quickbooks Online (don’t by the way!) and you want to move to Xero. Let’s not discuss the pros and cons but for me it made sense for a bunch of reasons. Not a single Xero certified partner offers a direct conversion from QBO to Xero. MYOB? No worries. Quickbooks Desktop? Easy. Quickbooks provide no way of bulk extracting your data and importing it into Xero.
I can hear the excited tapping on a keyboard somewhere “Doogie, you are wrong!! See, you can export your journal, invoices, and bills as a report and put those in Xero.” Well, yes, you can. Or you can just use conversion balances but after 12 months say goodbye to your data. You can extract reports like I did, transform the data, and import to Xero, but it’s an absolute chore!
The take away? Make sure you thoroughly evaluate your choices and understand the ramifications of your choices. A decision made today might not be the best choice in a week, month, or even a year. If in doubt, ask!
I will provide a TL;DR at the end of each post so it’s easy to reflect on the post and give you the couple of key take away points.
- Look at your current technology. Is it really working or is it creating inefficiencies? Have your business requirements changed since you implemented your current tech?
- Don’t be afraid of technological change. Quantify the actual cost of IT and drive return on investment
- If you get stuck or don’t know where to begin, feel free to contact me. We can discuss what your bug bears are and how to solve them.
See you in the next post,
If you have any comments, queries, or just want to find out more and chat you can contact me on:
Phone: +61 4 0525 9005