Before technology made it possible for businesses to automate their processes, business owners were stuck with the idea of menial and tedious tasks for the simplest processes; e.g. document management, inventory tracking, sales and records management, and the list goes on. These forms of manual processes were prone to human errors and delays because there weren’t any forms of technology that could compute with machine-like accuracy. When people made mistakes, it would cost the business lots of money. Today, we are now fortunate enough to be surrounded by adequate technologies and advancements that make our business lives easier.
Businesses today are more than capable of developing or purchasing their own customized business software for a reasonable price. The reason behind such customization is that it allows business owners to have everything they need for their business to run at machine-like efficiency. Bigger companies, like those belonging to Fortune 500 standards, will probably have their in-house software development or IT team. On the other hand, smaller companies can try their luck at hiring a third party software development team or outsource the labour to other countries. The big question here is that: is there a difference between outsourcing and working with local companies?
But before I discuss the different benefits of automated software for businesses and the difference between outsourcing and local labour, I want to focus on the WHY’s. Why do business owners want to spend money on developing software and training people for it? Why is it a big deal to automate?
Why do business owners want to spend money on developing software and training people for it? Simply put, business owners can’t afford to spend more time on manually doing tedious tasks anymore. It’s a fast-paced world we live in today and every second wasted is a dollar wasted. Instead of training people for doing manual labour, they are better off trained as to how the software works and functions.
Why is it a big deal to automate?
As mentioned, time is of the essence. Why waste hours of inventory tracking when software can do that in half the time?
Now, we move on to the first half of the discussion. Is outsourcing better than hiring local companies, or vice versa?
Outsourcing is a task that allows business owners to contract the services of another company or individual; usually from other countries. Outsourcing has always been a big issue because it’s reportedly like piracy, only it’s pirating jobs to other countries instead of giving it to local companies. There are several reasons why business owners prefer to outsource:
- It’s cheap. The services and labour are almost half the price of hiring a local company to do the same company. It’s mainly because of the exchange rate, and the pricing of the company within a particular country. For example, a web design project can cost $10000 in the USA, but if outsourced, it would cost at least half of that in countries like India and Philippines. You can pay them to man your business telephone systems as part of your customer service department.
- Guaranteed professional services and quality. Countries like India and Philippines are two of the biggest outsourcing recipients in the world and they have specific companies that actually receive outsourcing work. These countries are noted for their capabilities in the realm of IT.
- Projects are accommodated and prioritized. Outsourcing companies are good at delegating tasks, so there’s always someone or a group of people who are on standby for the next project. They don’t need additional training because they were already trained to do so, like how to use business telephone systems.
I am going to share a personal story. My cousin is a business owner of a local deli shop in NSW and she was on the lookout for someone to help develop her shop’s POS system, but the local companies weren’t able to provide her with a price that’s within her budget. She resorted to having the task outsourced to the Philippines and in less than a month, the project was completed at less than her original budget.
So, as a business owner, you may have probably considered outsourcing your IT needs to other companies, but have you considered automating your business processes? I know a couple of businesses that are hesitant to do this because they like the way they work, even though it takes them a long time. They even close one business day every month just to do inventory; having a system that can do that will probably take at least a couple of hours MAX.
If you are one of those business owners who haven’t taken the digital leap of faith, allow me to shed some light on the advantages of having an automated system for your business.
- It’s cost efficient. Think of it this way: why spend money on training people to do menial tasks that takes hours to accomplish when you can train them to use an automated system that takes half the time to accomplish the same task? It also pays for itself in the long run. Using the scenario of my acquaintance and his inventory issues, the need to close the store on a business day is gone and he can return to generating sales instead of missing out.
- It’s a time saver. Automated business systems like bookkeeping and inventory software can make the lives of your employees a lot easier. Business software applications will help them do their job more efficiently at half the time. You are also prone to lesser production down-times with an automated software.
- It’s accurate. When using business applications, there is hardly any human error involved, unless the user makes a mistake of inputting data. Other than that, important computations for taxes, sales generated and accounting jobs are accurate, following a WYSIWYG mentality; WYSIWYG stands for What You See is What You Get. In this case, what you put in the software is what you get; you don’t blame the software for any mistakes unless the developers made an error in the algorithm or you made a mistake in entering the data.
- It saves space. This is an important advantage for software applications like document management systems. Your files and records are kept in a virtual storage area and remove the burden of getting bulky storage cabinets and wasting precious office space.
- It gives you a distinct advantage over your competitors. Or at least, those who are still using manual methods of completing tasks. Those who are still left in the stone age are not able to enjoy the first 4 advantages of using automated software for their businesses, and that is enough to put you at an advantage over them, no matter how big they are
There is no better time to shift into the digital age than now. More and more business owners are taking the huge leap of faith and converting their businesses into IT-dependent ones.