Reviewing Internal Systems and Processes

Last week, we discussed ‘Rethinking Your Budgeting Process‘. Following on from this, we thought that we’d list some questions that would be useful when reviewing the next step in improving business performance.

If you lived through the 1980’s in Australia, you might remember the Fame Game question on ‘Sale of the Century’. Host Tony Barber started out by saying ‘Who am I? I was born in…’ and gave out more and more detail about the famous person until the contestants could guess who it was. As we go through a review process, we need to ask ourselves questions which expose our business requirements, and which give us a picture of who our business really is.

The first step (“I was born in…”) is to go back to the beginning and objectively consider what your business budget requirements are.

  • What challenge are you seeking to resolve – is it a reporting issue?
  • What solution are you actually looking for – what are you trying to solve?
  • What outputs does the system need to produce?
  • With your current processes, are you utilising all of your resources effectively?
  • What bottlenecks are there in the system, considering both software and workflow?
  • If tasks are delegated, have you considered the critical path of data flows, or processes to get from start to finish?
  • Do others who input into the system have the same understanding as you of what their inputs mean?

If you’re using any sort of software, do you know how to use it properly?

  • Are there gaps in your understanding of the functionality?
  • Do you need to review current capability with the supplier first?
  • Is there training which might inspire more effective utilisation of the tools you currently have in front of you? This could be anything from how-to tips in a professional publication, to user forums, to webinars and day long courses all the way to conferences which unpack ‘expert’ or ‘best practice’ skills.
  • From the above, are there tools or features in your current software suite which you could be using, or use more effectively?
  • Are there features which weren’t implemented when a package was first introduced, and maybe now is the time to dig deeper and make use of them?
  • What is the max capacity of your current solution in terms of responding to the requirements identified at the very start?
  • Are there other software tools which unpack supplementary capacity which can augment those existing systems?

Once you’ve answered some or all of these questions, you’ll have a better understanding of what your environment is like. You should have a better understanding of what the weak points are in your processes, and which areas are already as efficient and effective as you need them to be.

Knowing this, you can make informed decisions about what changes you might make to maximise your current solution, whether the full potential of the current solution has already been maximised, or whether migrating to a more robust or sophisticated tool is the best way forward for you and your business.

This review process can be in-house, or you can engage an external party to conduct that review to identify if there are any inefficiencies which can be addressed and go from there. This is an area in which we can help with – get in touch for a confidential discussion.

In our next post we will consider what to do once your review process has been completed – check back here or drop us a line if you want to stay in touch with our updates on this topic.

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