by Scott M. Lewis
The COVID 19 virus has introduced us to a new world and a unique working environment. Companies are now reconsidering and reorganizing work processes and themselves to accommodate remote workers and maximize productivity in a distributed environment. Some of the challenges companies are now trying to address are how employees can communicate and gain access to data, customer records, human resources, scheduling, and inventory management. Companies also are struggling with just maintaining work processes that make sense and are productive for the company and employees--as well as finding ways to manage and measure productivity in this new normal. I have been strategizing software and work processes for this scenario for almost 20 years, designing a software package that empowers employees and companies to operate productively in this situation. The COVID 19 virus has put this strategy into an unprecedented, real-world test.
Business Manager 365 was developed over the past 20 years to address and wrap real solutions to real business operational problems. I think everyone agrees that having great employees is key to any company’s success. However, organizational success is also driven by work processes and data that employees use to operationally run the organization and provide services and products to customers. COVID 19 has proven that operating within the distributed environment is increasingly difficult without access to data. Or, due to what I call disassociated data, or data held by only one employee or information that is hoarded, which can result in delays and customer-service issues.
Business Manager 365 was developed to focus on work process--putting employees into a management structure as part of ordinary business operations to collect data and structure it for immediate availability in all parts of the organization. Data management and data flow within Business Manager 365 are focused on automatically moving data through the system with a series of triggers to automate customer and team needs by putting those data into workable and manageable work processes.
Aside from organizational work-process issues, the coronavirus has shown us that most organizations are not as ready for catastrophic events as everyone thought. A lot of other problems have emerged as areas of possible improvement from a technological perspective.
- Internet capacity issues:
All telecommunication companies tend to oversell the capacity of their networks; they do so to maximize profits and regain the cost of development and maintenance of the fiber and copper networks. COVID 19 overselling the capacity of the systems has proven to have an impact on the ability of employees to work from home, with slow Internet response, drops and choppiness when using high bandwidth resources such as video conferencing.
Data are emerging that show an increase in virus, malware and ransomware virus spreads. Additional data reveal that, in some cases, corporate networks have been compromised through employees’ home systems. Home networks are notoriously less secure than corporate networks, which is increasing opportunities for corporate networks to be virus-infected due to lack of filtering and protections coming through employees’ work portals. Or, due to employees working from home, the culture of security has dropped, and employees are leaving workstations unlocked and logged in to work networks, providing easy access to people who shouldn’t have it.
- Lack of collaboration software:
This is an area in which Business Manager 365 can fill the gaps. The software includes a fully integrated database with scheduling, parts, and inventory management; time and attendance tracking; document management; and escalation processes all built into the system. The goal was to put employees (regardless of role or responsibility) into work and data-flow processes, with data managed by a single piece of software.This statement doesn’t mean that integration with other software packages is a bad thing, because it isn’t. Business Manager is not accounting software. Still, the software does integrate with QuickBooks Pro via a bi-directional API interface. However, the theory behind Business Manager 365 is to minimize the necessity for employees to transition from one software package to another to do their jobs effectively. Business Manager 365 limits brain drain and workflow management, and collects all the operational and customer information you need to operate your business successfully.
Business Manager 365 has its roots in managing service-based businesses. Service-based businesses rely on customer communications, CRM tools, customer history, contract management, scheduling, time management, and parts and inventory management. Control of a naturally distributed workforce and a highly mobile workforce can be tricky propositions when it comes to collecting customer time and translating these activities into billable hours. COVID 19 has forced internal staffing into a remote workforce, and Business Manager 365 has proven to transition and manage those processes productively and effectively.
COVID 19 has indeed shown many weaknesses in the world of technology, including our ability to serve as remote or mobile workers. Fortunately, in our client base, transitions have been smooth with little impact on our clients or their clients. One of our objectives has always been to design systems that, by default, have a high degree of flexibility for end-users to work in traditional office settings or on the run. The methodology has now shown itself to work with a high degree of success and has provided our clients with a flexible, high-performing system with which to serve their clients.
Scott Lewis is the President and CEO of Winning Technologies Group of Companies, which includes Liberty One Software. Scott has more than 36 years of experience in the technology industry and is a nationally recognized speaker and author on technology subjects. Scott has worked with hundreds of large and small businesses to empower them to use technology to improve work processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs. Scott has designed thousands of systems for large, medium, and small companies, and Winning Technologies’ goal is to work with companies on the selection, implementation, management, and support of technology resources. Learn more about Winning Technologies at www.winningtech.com or call 877-379-8279.