Tag Archive cloud software

ByAmpurta

How do you decide what needs to be digital?

Many of us small business owners are prepared to get comfortable in the “I don’t care if I do it manually, it just needs to work”

I don’t disagree. From an IT perspective, it is best not to try and fix something that isn’t broken. But when you look at what is available to you in terms of cloud solutions, software, websites and apps that can turn some of your current processes digital, how do you decide what you should make computer based or hands on?

It normally comes down to three things: Security, Time saving, Cost

Security

This is always the hardest point. In the modern news we see all sorts of awful things happening in terms of hackers, ransomware, virus’, email / password leaks, personal data compromised, etc. So if you’re thinking about putting all of your businesses financial information into a cloud service, you might have some anxiety about that. We don’t disagree.

Not every online platform is bullet proof, and sometimes all it can take is a flashy website and a service may seem very secure – when actually it is run by a couple of engineers from a shed. Not saying thats necessarily a problem, but it does mean there is a higher risk.

  1. Research the platform – try and learn how much it is used, and how it manages your data and personal information.
  2. Secure websites – always look for ‘https’ or the friendly green lock in your browser. That tells you that a third party to that website confirms that it exists where it says it does (that www.google.com does actually point to the google.com webservers
  3. Does it need to be cloud? – You could have a computer that exists entirely offline, using some great digital / automation / database software, that never sees the internet. You would need to consider a backup / data retention strategy, but if you don’t want your data leaving your building, theres nor reason you can’t also have some software to help you run the business

Time Saving

I appreciate old school. Us IT professionals have grown up / learned to find our way around not only a computer program, but any computer program. Like someone who has studied music can pick up and play something on every instrument, or reasonably work it out.

Not all of us can so easily adjust to software. There is a science that comes with designing software that is easy to use and intuitive – that things are where you would expect them to be.

  1. Does the software have a tutorial? – video guides are great to teach new skills. If the product gives user friendly links to articles or videos, then you’ll probably get the hang of it
  2. Is there training available? – Big software products like MYOB actually generate trainers / vocational colleges to run courses on the product. If its going to reduce your overheads and increase your productivity in time, it may be worth the investment
  3. Always think: what does the program need me for? – If the payroll software winds up making you enter everything in manually, each payroll, is that really any better? Always look for what the software can do for you, do you want it to, and will it save you time in the long run?

Cost

A lot of products these days are becoming a subscription. I generally like to use a metric of comparing subscribing to a piece of software, with employing an entry level person and training them to do it.

For arguments sake, lets say a casual employee is $20 an hour. Maintaining your sales database right now – spreadsheets and documents – takes at least two hours a week to update after collating all the orders / forms / emails. You would need to pay $80 a month, so $960 a year to maintain that. So if it costs $400 to set up some software, and $50 a month to subscribe to, you’re looking at $1000 for your first year, but only $600 after that. That’s a saving of $360!

Except it probably isnt. Unless the software requires no maintenance or user interaction. If it was going to save you an hour a week, you’re still looking at around $1000 a year to have the program and use it.

  1. How much of my time/money do I need to set it up? – the initial cost is an investment, sure, but you still need to know and budget for it
  2. If it is designed to save me money by saving time, how much time really? – Saving time may always be worth it, but what is the real world comparison. Does it save you so much time that you don’t need to hire another employee, and have all of those overheads associated with recruitment/employment? Software doesn’t take sick days. If all it is going to do is make life easier/happier for staff, that is sometimes a good thing too, but make sure that benefit is worth the cost.
  3. Can my current computers/systems support it? – depending on what you need, there may be other costs associated. Sure the software runs on your computer now, but will it in a years time? What if it no longer supports your computer? You now need to make a commitment to a digital workplace in terms of maintenance.

This is only a short list of things to consider. We often help tailor our services and recommendations to products that our customers want to run to help make their business more efficient. If you’re wanting to look into ways to save you time, get in touch and we can discuss your options!