Rare Earth Digital’s Top Tips on Embracing Technology tips #1 – 5

Oct 2020

We were lucky enough to be asked to speak at South Cheshire Chamber’s virtual education seminar last week. We wanted to share with you some practical tips which hopefully you will find useful.

Peter Bennett’s – Top Tips #1 – 5

Tip #1: More technology does not necessarily mean a better business

You can have a very successful business with just pen, paper and a brain. It’s rare to have no technology in a business, but don’t jump to deploy it yourself, as there may be other solutions. For example, great virtual assistants (e.g. www.patodayuk.co.uk ) can help you bring order out of chaos!

Tip #2: Technology is always more expensive than the initial price tag

Consider a company that uses a complex spreadsheet to manage production and delivery of their product; what is the cost of this technology? On one level it’s £50 for Excel. But the system they are running requires multiple staff appropriately trained. They can’t all access and update data at once, making the process error prone and inefficient. There may be only one person who understands the spreadsheet, bringing business risk. This bottleneck is hurting growth. What is the real cost of this technology?

Consider cost of technology, cost of staff, cost of training, risk of failure, etc. Base your decisions on a full business case.

Tip #3: A painful system may still be the best solution

Having looked at your business case, accept the fact that the right answer for your business at this point in time might still be to use the existing process. Updating a spreadsheet might be frustrating, but still be the right solution. So look at the options, but be prepared to consider not changing your processes at this time.

Tip #4: Audit your spreadsheets

We have, from time to time, been asked to turn monstrous spreadsheets into multi-user cloud-based systems to speed up processes, increase data integrity and security (or just plain comply with GDPR). I cannot recall a complex spreadsheet without at least one broken formula. For example, we have seen board reporting where each month one figure didn’t change because someone had typed a number over a formula. Check and double-check your spreadsheets. Then get someone else to check them!

Tip #5: Test, test, and test again

Whatever information systems you use to manage your business processes, please test them thoroughly. No system is perfect – there will always be failures. Know when they were last tested, who tested them, and how. Deal with problems as quickly as possible – they rarely go away of their own accord.

Making decisions about technology in your business is very similar to making decisions about any other part of your business. You need to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve, what value it will generate and so what it is worth investing to get it. If you’re clear about your business goals there are many ways to get there – low tech and high tech.

We’d welcome the opportunity to speak to you about what information you use to manage your business and if streamlining technology can help. Contact us for a chat.