Somewhere in the last few months, I’ve started using copy machines (Xerox) as an example of the way businesses can improve profit through technology. During presentations, I ask audiences if there’s anything they know their copier should do but don’t know how to do it. I get a lot of hands. I ask about specific things like duplex and making booklets. “Do you know how to do them on your copy machine?” I get few hands.
“Do you think your copy machine will do things you don’t know about?” I get lots of hands.
Some of those things probably don’t make any difference to your business profitability. Some of them might. Here’s the catch: if you don’t know they’re there, you can’t take advantage of them.
Next to most accounting / practice management / operational / ERP software, copy machines are pretty simple. So if you don’t know about features on your copier that could save you money or make you money, how likely is it that your software could make you more productive or help you close more sales?
And…as a matter of fact…most copy machines have similar features. If you know Xerox, you probably have a good idea about what Lanier copiers will do.
That’s where software consultants can help your company: we know the features of the software you have, and how other businesses are using those features to make and save money. Call us. We usually find significant savings or profit in your existing system. And if you need new accounting software or ERP software, we can help with that as well. You might also be interested in our research on the Top 10 Accounting Software packages.
STATICS ™ Business Growth System is ideal for implementing and profiting from these features.
There is a great deal of talk about Dashboards and Business Intelligence in tech circles today. A dashboard (in my mind) is basically a collection of a number of indicators (gauges) that help a manager judge how her part of the business is doing. There are sales dashboards, marketing dashboards, manufacturing dashboards, and so forth.
While business intelligence normally includes a dashboard component, it also contains (again in my mind) tools to allow managers to locate sources of issues. The terms “drill down” and “ad-hoc query” are perhaps overused, but the idea is simple: a manager sees an “exception” in the data presented, and uses the business intelligence tool to find the reason for the exception in the detailed business data.
ERP systems are including pre-formed dashboards, usually centering around financial measures and financial data (for example, accounts payable and accounts receivable agings).
The biggest issue with these pre-formed KPI (Key Performance Indicator) dashboards is that for any given business KPIs need to be related to CSFs. CSF stands for Critical Success Factors. Every business has at least 3 and no more than 6 CSFs. They are the critical elements that drive the business to success. Without success in these areas, the business will not prosper or grow.
Does this imply that pre-built KPI dashboards aren’t useful? Or that pre-constructed business intelligence can’t help a business? No. But it implies that at least somewhere among the measures, each business should be sure to include key performance indicators that measure effectiveness in each CSF area.
Next Friday, I’ll be speaking to the Association of Otolaryngology Administrators conference in San Francisco. John Gross, the chairperson of the conference asked me to speak on a couple of topics that I’ve written about in the past. The keynote presentation is “Are You Missing the Social Media Revolution?” The concurrent session is “Making All Your Technology Profitable.” As a technology strategy expert, I’m speaking in both sessions about how to align advancing technology with the business objectives of an ear nose and throat doctor’s practice. It will be interesting to see how the presentations are received.
John Gross introduces the conference on YouTube.
Hopefully, I’ll find a way to include some of the content here as well.