Implementing software into your business can be a daunting task. Sometimes we do it because we have to. For example, all businesses need to run some sort of accounting software like Quickbooks in order to pay for items, process invoices, etc. If you have a more mature business and are looking into making certain areas run more efficiently in order to improve margins or your customers’ experience, there are a lot of different types of software that can help.
What’s the best software to run my integration firm?
The average custom integrator uses at least 10 pieces of software to run their business and a question I get a lot is, what’s the best piece of software to run my business? The answer is that there is no “one size fits all” or “magic software” that does everything you need! The goal of software is to make you more efficient at a specific task but sometimes we keep adding more pieces of software to get more efficient with the task. Email used to be our primary tool for communication but now that’s used more for outward communication to clients and we use Slack for our internal communication. We went from one piece of software to two with a goal of becoming more efficient. The list goes on.
But what if there was a way to glue it all together? There is and that’s by creating Workflow Documentation of your process. A product I often develop for clients is what I call the Client Journey workflow.
Enter the Client Journey workflow…
A Client Journey workflow is a visual representation of the customer’s experience with your company and shows how the client moves through each phase of the process. It also shows the interaction between departments and employees to help define areas of improvement ultimately leading to a better customer experience.
The Client Journey Workflow will detail the following information:
- Show how many departments or employees are involved in the Client Journey Process.
- Show which department or employee(s) are responsible for the individual steps.
- Displays the flow of the process by department or employee(s) and hand off points.
- Notate the integrator’s involvement in the design and documentation process.
Adding in the software element
Once you’ve developed your “Client Journey workflow”, you can now add in the software that is used for each of the steps. You can even get even more detailed and label how things need to be communicated between steps or phases like via email or via Slack so it’s crystal clear how the communication is supposed to take place.
The Client Journey Workflow is your glue that sticks the software to your process. If the pieces of your software have automations or integrations, now you can easily see how those get set up by reviewing your workflow because it’s all visually in front of you.
Use Case – After the Pre-wire on a project is finished, what happens next?
- Lead Tech completes a checklist
- PM reviews checklist
- PM notifies Sales about the project status
- PM notifies Accounting send another invoice
That’s four manual tasks!
If software is used for all of those steps, you can set up notifications so that when the Lead Tech completes the checklist, the PM is notified. When the PM reviews the checklist, Sales is notified via an alert which can also notify Accounting that it’s time to send an invoice. All four manual tasks were automated simply layering in the software we use onto the map.
Of course you could set this up without having developed a Client Journey workflow but the order of operations wouldn’t have been so obvious.