Getting the most out of business software

Covid-19 has changed the world, not just socially, but also in the workplace. Settling into a new ‘normal’ will be a challenge for most businesses, how can software help & is it future-proof?

Most UK companies had no more than 2 weeks to prepare for homeworking or social distance measures in the workplace (if they could not work from home). It posed a challenge, but they coped and have continued to work - even if not at full capacity.

As we sail into week 7 of lockdown, the settling in period has now passed and managers are beginning to see gaps in their software features. It isn’t enough to assume we will go back to pre-coronavirus ways, the world has changed and we must adapt to some degree in order to future proof our businesses. But what does future proofing software look like?

But what does future proofing software look like?

There is a case to say that homeworking will continue permanently for some employees, even if for just one or two days per week. The benefit to our road networks, the emergency services (fewer cars can mean fewer accidents), the environment, and of course, not forgetting our mental health and work/life balance are plain to see. Getting back to full capacity whilst this is happening can be a challenge for some businesses and worry leaders who don’t know how to manage this.

The right software will help. Email or group chat software has its place but real communication about where each person is in their part of an order or process can only come from a piece of software that is tailored to your business, the industry it works within and the culture & people involved. There is no off the shelf package that will suit you 100 per cent.

Then there is the future - how will your business adapt to other economic, social or health challenges? Bespoke software can be added to and amended at any time, meaning you can adapt and survive!

Use a free consultation

The best advice I can offer is to speak to a software company that specialises in bespoke solutions. Most reputable software companies will offer a free consultation and not pressure you into anything. Be clear about the functions of your business and the timeline of your job management. For example, a bespoke manufacturing companies process may look like this - map yours out in order to maximise your consultation results.

Marketing campaign - sales enquiry - customer communication - quote - manufacture - delivery - build - remedials - feedback (And all the smaller bits in between)
For each department to use different software doesn’t make sense and can seriously hamper communication and job flow. This can lead to the ultimate business faux pas - over promising and under delivery.

Alex Beamer of Smashed Crab Studio gives another example of crucial software.
“Even if you’re not a manufacturer, software still plays its part. For example, we have developed a job management system for an environmental services company. They needed to communicate the progress of each agent, key dates such as future inspections or the next stage of treatment, and all in real time Their clients' businesses are at stake if they missed any details, so the bespoke software solution was key for them.”

Don’t get confused

You may or not have software knowledge, but either way, the easiest thing for you to do is to let your development company take the lead and all the stress, leaving you to continue to work on your business. Once they have consulted with you about the functions you need, let them translate it into a software solution. A timescale will be discussed with key dates for communication, feedback sessions or sign-offs.

Article written by Tom McPherson, Lead Developer at Smashed Crab Studio

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