It could be that you feel pretty confident that you are staying ahead in the race to implement new technology and maintain a competitive edge. Possibly you have been investing in new systems for some years.
This could be particularly true if your organisation is a composite, created by a series of mergers or acquisitions, or a company forged from substantial changes in recent times.
However, could 2018 be the year to declutter and streamline your business process software, to create a leaner, more agile future?
Technology company-wide or fragmented
At one time, sourcing and implementing any tech development was firmly in the hands of your IT team. The acquisition would have been rubber-stamped by a CEO or FD who felt there was a compulsive argument for its benefit, without them necessarily having more than a passing understanding of its application.
It is a very different picture today.
Technology now cuts across every business function. It is also readily available to match a myriad of daily needs.
This means that it is likely that in the past few years software and devices have been commissioned and added by a variety of different decision makers in your organisation. The boardroom too may have felt economically pressured into investing in tech to match new methodology and business practice.
For some companies, the legacy of this is a hotchpotch of new systems that achieve key business goals, but in a way that creates business funnels.
The ideal digital workplace should be more of a flow – a stream of data passing horizontally to even the remotest corners, via intuitive intranet software.
Integration, collaboration and communication
One of the most crucial advantages of a true digital workplace is that it facilitates a seamless flow of information. From ordering components to scheduling staff and machines, and from fulfilment of orders to the issuing of invoices, operations should be one orchestrated business process.
You may be asking why integration is necessary. Surely having your business management on various digital platforms – however they evolved – is sufficient.
Here are a few good reasons why you should audit your entire digital workplace and declutter.
A digital workplace that has evolved, without planning or foresight, may well leave you with fragmented tools that interrupt the flow of information. This could also lead to duplication of effort, or a breakdown in communications.
To be truly in charge of financial consolidation, analysis and planning, you need to be able to see the full picture.
Using a variety of technology, particularly tools that are not scalable, provides only partial data on expenses. The seamlessness of a well-integrated business process platform provides far more clarity in measuring expenses. You will find it easier to find economies and take action in a concerted manner.
It could be that you feel allowing some latitude on choosing devices and applications provides your management team with a healthy degree of autonomy and control over their own business area.
However, this needs to be done with scrutiny of how these disparate technologies affect your running costs, as well as any potential for them to breach data laws and put you in the way of hefty fines under the General Data Protection Regulation.
Unified can mean stronger
If your organisation has grown from a series of major changes, such as mergers and acquisitions, you may well have inherited a wide range of internal communications and collaboration systems.
Getting everyone on the same intranet system is an investment in a far more unified workplace, who can collaborate and share good practice with greater ease.
Having everyone linked up provides the ability to take on new projects, tasks or markets far more quickly. Information can be communicated and accessed at any location, simultaneously, in real time. There will mean less time required for meetings or site visits.
If you build a learning management platform, you can train project teams or staff even company-wide to get them swiftly up to speed, using the same tools. This means you create a more agile business model, versatile to both threats and opportunities.
Successful companies don’t just rely on the best technology. They are also based firmly on the buy-in and skills of the staff who are using that technology.
Providing staff with tools, but in a fragmented way, can create a silo effect, which in turn could serve to disenfranchise them.
It can be frustrating to have abundant technology available, only to find it does not integrate properly with the next part of the process, or, if staff are working remotely or on specific projects, have them struggling to find context or to gain answers to everyday business questions.
Is it enough to look across a myriad of technology and know your organisation has a fabulous toolbox? For some companies, possibly.
If you are a decision maker within an organisation ambitious to grow, then you may well need to audit your digital workplace thoroughly; declutter and integrate, before the cracks start to show.