Is Outlook that bad?
No. All businesses use emails for process management and most emails are requests for information or the provision of this information. This method is not looking like it will change dramatically in the immediate future and can be managed reasonably well at certain scales.
However, not all processes can or should be handled in your inbox for a variety of reasons.
So, what are we missing out on if we continue to operate out of our inboxes? Think about the following:
- What happens to the process when the employee is on leave?
- How would you transition the process to a new employee or to have multiple people handling this process?
- What kind of auditability do you have across the process?
- Would knowing who/what/when/how much allow you to make better decisions in the future?
- Are employees spending time chasing people for additional or correct information?
- Are we fulfilling all legal or legislative requirements that may be required?
If any of the above are of interest, then it is worth considering a more structured approach to how your business handles some of its processes. This can come in multiple shapes and sizes such as utilisation of core or additional aspects of your finance product, specific software for your field of business or utilisation of software you probably already own as part of your Office 365 subscription – SharePoint.
SharePoint allows us to create forms & workflows quickly and easily to start the move away from these email-based processes. Forms can be setup to require certain information to prevent the manual chasing inherent to an un-controlled process. Data security can be setup so that users of the system can only see their submissions, while process administrators can oversee everything.
Reliance on employees being at work or in their inboxes can be removed by allowances in the process to be escalated to other staff automatically, or using job titles, not email addresses, to direct workflows or approvals.
Having data stored in the way also allows us to run regular reports or notifications on outliers such as Purchase Requests for the week above a threshold such as $10,000.
Business intelligence can also be used with tools such as PowerBI being able to directly connect with SharePoint data or indirectly where Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes can be used to move your data into a Data Warehouse and integrated into reports or dashboards.
Forsythes has been assisting businesses in Newcastle, Sydney and the East Coast of Australia in the digitisation process for over 30 years. If you are interested in knowing more about what this could mean for your business get in contact with our Development team on 1300 766 661.