Are you a business owner? Have you ever thought about saving money with the help of IT?
Have you encountered any problems in your business processes – lost documents, forgotten reports, lack of analytics for the data?
We think this is obviously the case nowadays that companies use software development services for their business processes to achieve certain aims and solve specific problems.
Benefits of using CRM and ERP systems are enormous. Some of them are immediately apparent; others bring profit in the future.
As experience shows, IT is one of the best friends for any business.
But how do you produce maximum output of using IT services?
IT Craft has experience in developing different-purpose ERP and CRM systems with the use of various technologies.
Developing systems for our clients, we discovered the following key elements of success in business process automation:
1. Clearly define the aims you want to achieve.
Some companies choose popular business solutions (i.e. Dynamics CRM) because of their popularity. In other words, any self-respecting company must use a high-end (and preferably expensive) system for their business processes. Actually, that is a good objective. Considering all other facts, such vision can really bring benefits in a short-term period. I.e. company stakeholders can be proud of improvements in the business process because of a new system introduction.
But can it be the only major fact? Definitely not.
When developing systems for our clients, we proved the obvious fact: investment in an IT solution must be justified and it must help satisfy the company needs.
Clear understanding of business processes and setting the right objectives saves time and funds invested in development and is much more efficient in the end.
Tackling certain tasks and automating properly defined business processes is a substantial part.
IT Craft, being not just a software development company, but mainly an IT solutions finder, pays great attention to analysis. We don’t expect clear requirements from client’s side, we are working to help our clients define them properly and identify the right areas where the solution can give good results. It’s much better to release a system with 1-2 key functional elements within a short timeframe and see the result faster, rather than spend months and thousands of dollars to implement 40-50 features and use only 3-4 of them.
You should set clear aims. It’s always better for everyone if you can clearly see what must be achieved.
2. Custom solution vs. ready-made systems.
When you decide to use certain CRM or ERP for your business needs, you can face the alternative: whether to download and install a ready for use tool or develop a custom solution to meet your unique needs.
There is no correct answer to this question. However, a proper approach can help decide what would be better. First, ready tools are always cheaper than a custom solution development. Moreover, it saves time – you purchase the system, install and use it. Development takes time. Free tools are even better – with no need to purchase them at all, you spend nothing. Nevertheless, pay attention that ready solutions and tools solve general problems, not specific ones. They are not business-oriented, but feature-oriented. When you think it would be better to purchase a ready to use solution, find out about its functionality, features, flexibility and compare with the aims and targets you have. If you passed point one successfully, the result of should help you understand if any of the existing ready solutions fit the aim you have set.
If any of them do, please stop for a minute and think about another thing – whether you are going to use the solution to adjust or change the processes you have in your company. Will it in any way affect what you are doing and how you are doing it? The influence can be positive, definitely, but if there is a case of that, you will need to evaluate possible investments or financial effects when restructuring of business process is required. It can be hard to calculate properly, but as a result, you will see how much you will invest in the IT solution in the end.
What about custom developed systems?
This scenario is perfect for companies with established business processes – an IT service provider should learn the processes in the company and understand how they can be improved with software means. The company representative should share the vision on the aims to be achieved by implementing the software solution, and all that input information should be processed properly in order to find the best approach. An important point here is that all investments in development must be justified with the final benefits.
Pay for custom-made systems and you will get exactly what you need – a software solution that meets your CUSTOM business needs. Evaluate existing solutions and try to understand if they can help.
The important point is how to calculate the effect of the system for the company. As mentioned above, in many cases there is no sense in developing a big system or purchasing a very expensive license for a ready solution with 40-50 features if you are only going to use 4-5 of them.
After working on several ERP and CRM different-scale projects, our team found out that for development of business automation systems an iterative approach should be used, with frequent releases (one feature per iteration, even) and getting the output from each release to be the main input for the next step. You may ask why. Here are some ideas:
- even if the company has several aims, they can all be arranged in order of importance. First, the most important aim can be achieved with the help of software tool. After release, it’s verified whether the result achieved with the system implementation meets expectations. This is some kind of prototype, but with certain functionality – the initial vision of the effect can be different from what the company gets as a result.
- shorter iterations mean less and smoother investments. It’s always better to pay $3.000 twelve times than $12.000 three times. You always have room to move after each iteration and flexibility in changing the scope – there is a psychological effect. Users (your company employees) are afraid of changes. On the one hand, if you present them a system with 12-15 new features, they will need time to get used to it and rebuild their usual workflow in order to use the system. On the other hand, a system released with 1-2 key features, which users are asked to evaluate, will not cause any confusion. On the contrary, you will get great output of what can be improved, changed, added (which can obviously be used for the following iterations) and your users will be ready for the next round of updates, where new features will appear.
Calculate the ROI of a flexible plan. Do not spend money on unnecessary things.
Hard question. First, make the most of the Web and its advantages. Why? The system can be accessible anywhere (and still secured and protected), it has minimal requirements for environment (especially for the client one); web interface can be converted into mobile interface, so you will have desktop and mobile versions with minimum effort.
You may ask which web technology should be selected? Among tons of options, the most popular ones are PHP, .NET and Java. Each of them has its own unique advantages applicable to certain circumstances. We can mention two general facts only:
- PHP allows you to do anything .NET and Java can;
- PHP has lower requirements to server environment.
In the meantime, both .NET and Java can provide something specific that would be of great benefit for your system. Each case is unique and the IT services company should provide technical base on the solution with all the necessary explanations.
IT Craft is the right choice for that.
Having all of that said, if you are thinking to get an ERP or CRM to automate some of your business processes (or even all of them), find the right IT services provider that can help identify the aims, create a real solution, integrate it into your business and get good results. IT Craft is definitely the right choice for that. You can check out our portfolio in order to see our experience.
Finally, don’t be afraid to come up with something new. Spend a couple of dollars more now and you will solve issues without getting any new ones.
Feel Free to Ask Us a Question !