Have you ever found yourself thinking, “There must be a more efficient way to do this!”. Or, “Why aren’t my systems smart enough to manage all of this for me?”
This is the plight of many business owners whose companies have achieved significant growth, yet still rely on basic or outdated software and practices implemented while the business was still in its infancy.
We see this situation arise frequently in companies within the property and construction sectors, where a booming real estate market has fuelled rapid and often unexpected growth.
Whether you run an established business that is constantly impeded by the use of legacy tools, or a young company that has outgrown its initial set-up, it’s essential to ensure that your software, systems and business practices are supporting your needs. Otherwise, you run the risk of struggling to achieve the level of efficiency (and associated cost reductions) required to stay ahead of the game in a hyper-competitive sector.
While the planning and deployment of new technology solutions may feel like an immeasurable challenge, there are steps you can take to minimise the impact on operations while maximising your return on investment.
In our experience helping large-scale developers make the transition, here are the three key questions you should be asking as you start on your journey.
1. What do we have and what do we need?
Every new technology implementation should begin with a thorough assessment of:
- current systems and how they integrate
- effectiveness of practices and processes
- systems security and potential gaps
- existing data integrity
Start with your most essential business function (accounting and finance) and work your way out from there. As the lifeblood of your business, a focus on optimising these systems can have a huge impact on the overall profitability of your company.
Consider your business needs, such as the desire to integrate finances across various entities for a holistic view of how the organisation is tracking. We frequently find property development corporations that started as a single company still running basic accounting software. This simply isn’t built to handle the complex needs of a group that now houses several entities.
A mindset of “This is the way we have always done things” is your worst enemy during this stage of your tech journey. Remember that it’s highly unlikely that your business – or the segment it operates in – has remained stagnant over time, so change is necessary.
2. What are our options?
Navigating the vast array of software options is a huge feat in itself. Ideally, you want to start with a solid list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” so you can narrow down which software will best deliver to your needs.
While some software options are extremely limited in their features and ability to scale, advanced solutions such as NetSuite are specifically engineered to support larger businesses in streamlining their entire operations – from accounting to customer relationship management, automation and data analytics.
While cost is undoubtedly a factor, remember to focus on return on investment. A larger upfront investment on a holistic and integrable solution could deliver significantly greater outcomes to your business as a whole, which will end up being more cost-effective over time.
Setting an expected timeline for achieving an ROI is also beneficial. A study by NetSuite found that 82% of companies that had a projected timeline for ROI achieved it within their expected time.
3. How do we maximise the value of our investment?
While time-consuming and confusing, choosing your new software product is often the easy part. After implementation, you need to have a plan to boost user uptake so you reap the full benefits of your new system, such as:
- automating mundane processes so staff can focus on higher-value work
- collecting and presenting data insights to support decision making
- producing accurate forecasts or cashflow models
- benchmarking profitability against location or different sectors
The key to this is to redesign your business processes to make full use of the new system. Trying to maintain the same practices but with a different system may negate the benefits of your tech investment altogether.
This shift can take time and effort – but with the right support and advice, you’ll be on your way to achieving a new level of productivity and efficiency in no time.
Partner with RSM to upgrade your finance and business systems
Working with accounting and technology professionals who have specialist expertise in new tech implementations can be incredibly valuable. It eliminates much of the complexity and helps you save time and money.
At RSM, our skilled technical consultants collaborate with our highly qualified accountants to provide an end-to-end service designed to take our clients’ businesses into the digital era.
Our engagement starts with a full review of your existing systems, challenges and goals so we can help you make smart decisions about which changes will elicit the best results. We will also benchmark your systems against best practice, so you can develop an accurate list of features that your new solution must have.
Being vendor-agnostic, we help our clients navigate the array of software options available – before working closely with them to design, develop and deploy a fit-for-purpose solution that aligns with their business goals.
To partner with us for your digital transformation journey, speak to an experienced consultant at your local RSM office.