How leveraging existing tools and implementing streamlined systems can propel business success through organizational efficiency. 

“Do what your boss tells you to do, how he (or she) tells you to do it,” was an early career lesson I embraced when I entered the tech industry over 15 years ago. Since then, transitioning from technical documentation writer to operations director, I’ve witnessed the industry’s evolution in tools, practices, and communication methods. Amidst these changes, one constant remains: the vital role of systems and processes in fostering a process-driven organization. While business ultimately hinges on interpersonal relationships within budget and time constraints, the significance of robust processes remains unchanged. In this brief article, I’ll discuss the importance of processes, strategies for piloting them effectively, methods for avoiding complacency, and leveraging technology to ensure consistent adherence within your team. 

Internal systems and processes drive large organizations, while smaller ones often adopt them as they undergo growth and require assistance in managing various facets such as sales, hiring, performance, and procurement. In the earlier stages, smaller organizations could afford to make ad hoc decisions, perhaps due to managing fewer stakeholders or constrained budgets. However, as the company scales, having a system will ensure the knowledge of what to do (and not to do) is retained, while promoting visibility and transparency, and fostering a culture of ownership within the organization. 

For most businesses, the budget to implement such systems typically becomes available upon winning a new project or securing funding through investment or M&A activities. However, there are many tools readily available at organizations with features that are not used due to lack of time or awareness. For example, leveraging Excel’s capabilities with macros and integrating it into Teams can greatly benefit the entire organization. Moreover, as operational demands surpass the capabilities of existing tools, transitioning to a lightweight, cloud-based system for specific tasks is a logical next step once existing tools are unable to handle the volume or complexity of the operation. 

Basic project management (requirements, testing, communication) is key to success, and evaluating whether to do this in-house or with external help is a matter of budget, time, and accountability as a combination of push and pull factors to get your team to adopt the new tools is critical. What is also overlooked is the need to review processes periodically as it is human nature to find shortcuts and, in effect, the systems will deteriorate over time. There are volumes of books and articles to further deep dive into the intricacies of what I mentioned here, the emerging trends seen in the box will hopefully serve as a high-level abstract on this subject.

Emerging trends:
Automation and AI Integration:
Increasing adoption of automation and artificial intelligence technologies to streamline processes, enhance decision-making, and improve efficiency.
Data-Driven Decision-Making: Growing emphasis on leveraging data analytics and insights to inform decision-making processes, improve performance, and identify areas for optimization.
Agile and Lean Methodologies: Continued adoption of agile and lean methodologies to promote flexibility, responsiveness, and continuous improvement in organizational processes.
Customer-Centric Processes: Shifting focus towards customer-centric processes, including personalized experiences, feedback integration, and rapid adaptation to changing customer needs and preferences.
Human-Centric Design: Adoption of human-centric design principles to create processes that prioritize user experience, employee well-being, and inclusivity. 

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Tim Burrill
Membership Manager & Executive Assistant
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