But my paper-based process is working just fine. Leave me alone with all your digital stuff!

I figured that I started with the wrong post last week. I explained the difference between solutions built for many and custom business software. While it is good to know the difference, it doesnt answer an important question.

“Why should I get software in the first place?”

I get that. Your paper-based process is just fine. Printing e-mails to add it to your physical to-do list seems efficient. At least you (or your employees) have worked like that for years. Why change that?

A couple of reasons I could think of:

Save time

Sound simple right? With the recession and everything going on, it's important to spent your time wisely. A fully automated system that is not based on paper on your desk could easily save you hours or days.

Make more money

There are plenty of ways software can make you more money. For example, serving more clients per day is a way to make more. Improve your service and as a result increase your prices is another. Software can help you do that.

Reduce frustration

Ever waited in an Austrian official office for any kind of paperwork (like a new passport). Its frustrating how long it takes because printing stuff, signing off, making physical copies, …

Imaging your clients waiting in front of your desk while you work thru your paper-based process. Not so nice, right? Now think of your employee and how he/she feels when pressured by your clients to finish. How long are they gonna stay? Think of that.

So yeah, there are plenty of reasons. Still, I dont want to sound like one of the “you must digitalize AT ALL COST” kind of consultants. That's why I want you to think twice before replacing anything with software. It does have a major impact on your business, your employees and on your profits. It could be positive (in terms of more profit) but could be bad too. Better take a few steps back and look at your company from an outside perspective.

You could do a so-called exploration phase

  1. Make a list of all processes that are going on. Headlines are enough. Dont overcomplicate things.
  2. Mark the ones that are paper-based, software-based or mixed.
  3. Sort by importance for your core business
  4. Rate them 1-5 for time consumption, money spent, revenue impact, employee satisfaction, client experience impact
  5. Select the 3 processes with the most impact. Now you should have a good understanding of what would be a good starting point for digitalization.

Sure, it's very simplified, and a serious business analyst would give me hell for that. All I want is to provide a decent starting point. Something that can be done without too much hustle.

I highly recommend to reach out to an independent (software) consultant to discuss the data you generated. You aim for an overall strategy and dont want to digitalize things that dont have a huge positive impact on your business. A professional can help you with that.