Every enterprise-level organization has put some thought into workflow optimization.
Looking at the math, it just makes sense. The more people and processes you have in your organization, the more you can benefit from shaving some time off a task here or saving money on a workflow there. Some organizations even have dedicated personnel for workflow optimization (or have invested in outside resources) — while others have slowly integrated optimizations into their everyday business operations.
But what happens when an organization needs to implement large-scale workflow optimizations, and fast?
Take the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance. Most organizations did not have explicit rules and workflows designed to allow for remote work. So in order to avoid business-killing interruptions, they had to cobble them together overnight. Organizations hastily bought whatever project management, video conferencing, and document management software solutions they could find. Or, they signed up for free trials, thinking their need to work remotely was only temporary.
Unfortunately, these types of tactics are akin to treating a potentially deadly disease with aspirin. A quick fix may alleviate the symptoms for a short time, but at some point, the actual illness is going to rear its ugly head and cause serious trouble.
In this article, we’re going to examine how implementing half-formed processes, workflows, or technology solutions will only cause major headaches as your business scales and, of course, what you can do to prevent those pains as you grow.
In order to build business workflows that will play out smoothly in the long term, you must start planning now when it comes to developing scalable solutions.
Here’s how to choose scalable solutions that will boost efficiency, ensure consistent business success, and prevent catastrophes before they happen.
Scalable Solutions: How to Make Plans That can Scale with Your Business
The “quick fix” for workflow optimization is always tempting, especially in times of turmoil. But for those who are willing to take a step back and examine the landscape, identify their current and future needs, and develop technology solutions that will truly scale; there is massive upside.
Since every business is unique, there’s no one strategy that will work universally, but there are three key characteristics we recommend looking out for when you’re choosing future-proof solutions and building long-term strategies:
1. Increased Efficiency
First and foremost, you need a solution that is going to increase efficiency. In order to determine if the proposed solution can do that, however, you need to figure out where your current processes are bloated or cumbersome.
For instance, customer onboarding (or even employee onboarding) is a traditionally hands-on process. Customer success managers end up repeating their spiel dozens of times per month, often with the same bottlenecks or issues over and over again. Could you make this process more efficient with training videos, self-paced tutorials, and task-based software? Likely.
If the tech solution can’t add efficiency to a process, you don’t need it.
2. Reduced Cost
Obviously, any tech solution that adds cost to the overall business objective is a non-starter. Equipment is a fairly common example of a hefty cost that may not balance out. For example, a new rack of on-premise servers will scale up your ability to handle more customers. But, if it adds a ton of overhead in the form of equipment, ongoing maintenance, and staff to run it, did it actually increase your ability to scale in the long term?
These costs are why many IT leaders are turning to cloud technology for the ability to scale (or downsize) rapidly with minimal overhead. There’s a huge accumulated cost difference between replacing your equipment every time you need to scale versus simply upgrading your AWS subscription.
Last but not least, you need to consider how adaptable your proposed technology solution will be. Cloud infrastructure, as mentioned above, is highly adaptable because it’s somebody else’s responsibility to continually provide cutting edge technology.
Another thing to look for in adaptable solutions is their API technology: How thorough is their documentation? What level of data transfer, access, and integration can their API(s) provide?
The ability for software to integrate and adapt is far more valuable than its ability to be customized — this is because everything can be customized with hard coding, but you may end up backing yourself into a corner without the ability to scale once you add too much code.
So, what do you think? Is it worth looking out for those key criteria when choosing solutions that can scale with your business? When you think of all the time, money, and employee morale on the line if you don’t — we think it’s absolutely worth it.
At Dropbox Sign, we pride ourselves on developing solutions that address the root of workflow problems, not just the issues on the surface. We’ve built our product line from the ground up to be flexible, adaptable, and, most importantly, ready to scale in an ever-changing business world.