New technologies are redefining how businesses engage with employees, customers, and suppliers. Is it time your business embraced them?
In some ways, managing a business has never been more challenging. The world is moving fast, competition is diverse and global, industry compliance regulations are increasingly more complex, and stakeholders have higher expectations than ever before. But just as these business challenges are increasing, so too are the number of cloud-based technologies emerging to offer ‘miracle solutions’.
Modern organisations are adopting these cloud-based technologies to lower their capital expense profile, increase employee productivity, reduce costs, and drive new capabilities that have a direct impact on business performance. The ability to quickly deploy business-ready solutions that improve back-office efficiency without having to build, deploy, and maintain costly on-premise technology systems means many smaller organisations can now effectively compete with larger enterprises.
Established companies risk being left behind if they don’t modernise their business processes to make them more efficient and effective.
With these issues in mind, forward-thinking organisations need to engage with technology solutions that are:
- business ready
- capable of providing greater business performance visibility
- and able to drive better decision-making.
There is no debating that new technologies can enable significant productivity gains if used properly. Automation not only helps businesses gain efficiency and productivity, it can also provide big-picture data visibility for more effective operations and a better bottom line. Through automation, ease of use, and lowered risk of error, purpose-built solutions can enable substantial time savings. They can be far more effective than manual processes and enable deeper reporting on a wider set of business metrics. What used to take days or weeks can now take hours.
Consider the life cycle of an invoice within an organisation. With a manual process, a paper invoice arrives at reception by mail before being dispatched to the relevant employee for processing and approval. In many cases the invoice will be transmitted to the accounting department only when it becomes urgent or, worse, overdue. This situation creates frustration internally and damages relationships with suppliers. Operators are spending considerable amount of time on manual data entry and filing, business managers make decisions based on incomplete information, cash flow is unpredictable and financial reporting inaccurate. An invoice can be ‘in house’ for up to 45 days before it reaches the accounting department and can cost up to $30 to be approved as it travels through the company.
By using purpose-built software to automate this process, the same invoice can be sent to an email address. The software will read it and prepare the ledger entry with significant time savings and a lower error rate, and it will capture more data during the process. The invoice could be in the company’s accounts department by the end of the day, approved by a budget holder who has received a notification on his smartphone, for a cost of less than $5.
Beyond process automation and data collection automated processes enable lower transactional costs:
- Supplier relationships are improved: the business will be able to access pay-on-time discounts and negotiate better contractual terms.
- Inventory management is enhanced due to better visibility and cost savings realised.
- Customers negotiations are more balanced: the company may not need to discount products to accelerate cash collection because of uncertain cash outflow.
- Improved financial health will give the company a stronger position in negotiations with banks. If the business has cash in excess it could reimburse loans (or credit cards) in advance.
However, having tried many different software solutions, good and bad, what is apparent is that automation doesn’t happen overnight. Simplification isn’t simple. No cloud-based technology will do the work by itself, it takes tech-savvy individuals with process-oriented minds to leverage the capabilities of such solutions.
The real challenge resides in creating efficient and effective processes as well as software implementation. All organisations should look at their current systems and processes with a critical view. They need to think in terms of value adding and non-value adding activities, focus on perfecting the value add and reducing or eliminate non-value add.
These new technologies can have a direct and significant impact on the bottom line. In 2017 technology can provide significant improvements to business processes,remove costly and inefficient activities to replace them with value creation and increase the business performance and competitiveness.
If you believe you have no control over your expenditure and your business is having recurring problems to meet payment deadlines, we recommend that you speak with your Client Relationship Manager. We can help you assess the current state of your internal processes and develop a solution that will suit your needs.
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