Let’s Play Business Automation Golf!

April 10, 2021
William Miller

It is almost golfing season once again. This survey is like golf. Low scores are good scores. Too many strokes means your business is swinging like crazy and not making much progress down the green. The goal is to get that little ball into the hole with as little work as possible. In the same way, the goal of business is to satisfy your customers or clients quickly and efficiently, without wearing out your staff and bank account in the process.

Find out if you can win at Business Automation Golf. How does your business compare against the expected norms today of a business which is highly efficient and profitable?

The categories of excellence are three:

  1. Automated — all routine & repetative systems which can be automated, have been automated
  2. Integrated — all data is stored in one location for easy retrieval by all
  3. Coordinated – employees work together on projects, and don’t hoard information, data, or workflow processes to just themselves

Here is the five question survey to score for yourself:

  1. Do you still use paper for any of your major workflow processes?

This would include things like handing a clipboard to a customer to fill out; or tracking work orders on paper which is passed from station to station. We are not concerned about minor uses of paper, but if any of your major workflows rely on paper, then you are asking for trouble. Your business efficiency automatically takes a hit, and you are in trouble if somebody misplaces that piece of paper.

If you use paper for your central or major workflow, you get an automatic 10-point penalty against your business.

Scoring can be either zero or 10 strokes.

2. How many different pieces of software are you using?

Many companies are using so many different little software tools, and paying monthly fees for each of them, that they would be pretty surprised at how much they are spending in monthly ‘micro-fees’ for the various services. Like all those little online streaming services today, if you subscribe to all of them, you will soon be broke.

When you are playing business automation golf, every new piece of software counts as one stroke against you. So score one point for every piece of software you use, whether it is a paid service or not. More services, means more complexity. This counts against your company goals of efficiency.

Scoring can be from one stroke up to 10 strokes if you use ten or more separate software subscription tools. Total scoring for both questions now would be from 1 stroke to 20 strokes.

3. Does your software “talk” to each other?

That is, does it easily share data from one software to the next? Or, do you have to copy and paste between systems? A surprising number of businesses pay their employees good money to copy data from one piece of software and paste it into another one. This costs your company time, and money, and stress.

Two penalty points against you for every different set of software that doesn’t talk to each other. If it is all connected, then that would be a great score of 1!

Scoring can be from zero to 10 strokes if you have five or more systems that do not connect to each other. Total score for all questions could now be from 2 to 30 strokes.

4. How many “data silos” exist in your business?

That is, are there some people, or departments, in your business which protect and guard data which is needed by the rest of the business? Common examples are sales people who keep all of their recent prospects and leads on their own personal laptop. Then the company has no idea what kind of pipeline they have, and God forbid, the salesman leaves, or loses his laptop, or it locks up, because then so do all of those leads, because they were never centralized to a place where everyone could access the data.

That is a “data silo”, and that will cost you 5 penalty points for each one of those in your business.

Scoring can be from zero up to 25 strokes against you. (You don’t have more than five! data silos do you?). Total score now could be from 2 to 55 strokes.

5. Document Storage – Are your documents stored in more than one location?

That is, do you have some as hard copies in the secretary’s file cabinet, and others as PDF’s on the CEO’s hard drive; and still others as spreadsheets on somebody else’s computer? So when you need to find some information, the first question is, “Who has this information?” Rather than having it all in one centralized database for all to access, you have to hunt down information from wherever it resides.

This takes up a lot of time and energy and stress, and seriously reduces your efficiencies as a company. And remember that every poorly executed process in your company costs you money.

Take two penalty strokes for every separate location where you store documents.

Scoring can be from 2 points up to a max of 10 strokes, if you are storing documents in more than four different locations. Total score now could be from 4 strokes up to 65 strokes. That is quite a spread, but it all depends upon the level of business automation you have built into your business.

Remember, the benchmarks for business automation are:

  1. Automation — of all business worflows
  2. Integration — of all company data
  3. Coordination — of all employee efforts

If you play it well, you can win at Business Automation Golf. If you scored too high, then contact us, and our trained professionals can help you to improve your efficiencies and help you to win at the game of business.

~~ William Miller
HighPower Data Solutions

Please feel free to contact us about how you can automate and streamline your business practices using FileMaker Pro.