Here at One Beyond, we are a fan of systems. Obviously, when it comes to developing software, we have to be structured and consistent. After all, you can’t work with code without following certain standards! But many of the same systemisation principles also apply to managing an efficient business.

What is business systemisation?

Business systemisation is where an organisation builds a framework of streamlined processes that enables their operation to become more efficient and profitable. This is done by reviewing existing workflows and identifying ways in which they can run better and be more aligned. Often the review can highlight gaps that need to be bridged and bottlenecks that need to be removed.

How software can help

A good piece of software will automate, simplify, or speed up an activity that would otherwise take up valuable time and effort. There is a vast landscape of ready-made tools and applications available to meet specific needs in a systemised business, but before going straight to a ‘spot solution’, it’s important to get a complete overview of the needs of the business across the board.

The tools of a systemised business

There are some fundamental types of software that support a systemised business by streamlining functionality. When chosen well, these types of systems help the entire
organisation to become optimised and high-performing. (Of course, in an ideal scenario, these systems are all interconnected and sync seamlessly with each other).

  • CRM
    The Contact Relationship Management system should sit at the centre of any business, allowing people to view, analyse and track prospects, customers, suppliers, resellers and more. A well-structured CRM system will easily save a business thousands of hours each year compared to using crude Excel spreadsheets – but it needs to be aligned to the overall business objectives through the workflow analysis that a business systemisation brings.
  • Accounting
    A good accounting solution will help the business to not only manage the day-to-day financial operations but will also allow smart analytics to predict performance throughout the year. In addition, there are many layers of automation that can be applied to invoicing, payroll, reporting, inventory management and much more.
  • Project Management
    Project management software comes in many shapes and sizes, and can often be completely tailored to the unique needs of a business. It is also one tool that should be integrated with pretty much all your other central systems like email, calendars, time logging, CRM, accounting, storage, and collaboration.
  • Communication and Collaboration
    There’s a whole range of communication and collaboration tools for the systemised business, ranging from basic email systems to complete collaboration suites. Many advanced collaboration tools can help to drastically boost productivity as staff can set up things like conference calls, online presentations, chat rooms, shared storage space, virtual desktops and more.
  • Marketing
    Organisations of all sizes are becoming more aware of the benefits of using automation systems for marketing activities. This can cover anything from email distribution to social media activity and scheduled web publishing, but the more refined systems can also apply intelligent analysis to customer behaviour and adapt marketing activities to individuals based on their preferences and actions. By automating as much as possible of regular marketing activities, a systemised business can save a great deal of time and effort.

Questions to ask before choosing a systemisation app

Even after you’ve gone through a business systemisation exercise, choosing software to match your processes can be difficult. But the most important thing is to make sure the software you’re adopting actually helps meet your overall goals in the simplest and fastest way.

When reviewing business tools, you can avoid making the most common mistakes by asking a few simple questions.

  • Does it integrate with other key applications?
    A ‘spot fix’ tool can seem great in isolation, as it solves an immediate problem. But if it doesn’t communicate with your other central systems, it may only give you a fraction of the benefit it could otherwise offer.
  • Is it tailored enough?
    There are plenty of ‘out-of-the-box’ business tools available in the market, designed to fit the requirements of the average business. But when it comes to supporting your own, unique workflows, you may find that these solutions aren’t quite the perfect fit.
  • Is it cost-effective?
    Although the cost of an application licence or subscription may seem reasonable, it’s worth considering if the same functionality can be included in an existing software package – or if you can build your own. Getting a tailored solution developed can often save money in the long run, while putting you in complete control of the functionality.

Does it scale?

Most business aim to grow, but some fail to plan for growth when it comes to their software. Your applications may work fine for managing a small number of projects or a limited level of data complexity, but when your operations expand to cover more products or more intricate customer relationships, you may start to outgrow your business tools.

The recipe for success

As we’ve discussed in this blog article, business systemisation and process reviews are really just the beginning – but a very important beginning! Choosing software and tools needs to go hand in hand with a deep understanding of the business processes, so that they can be used to support all the long-term goals and ambitions. That’s the true recipe for systemisation success.