Monday, 3 June 2013

Good IT Systems Make a Difference!

Good IT systems can make a remarkable difference both to company performance, and also to the way staff feel about their work.  Unfortunately, a recent survey by KPMG showed only 37% of users rated their systems as “good”.  What about you?  

And what do your staff think?

I have met many people who are unhappy with their systems.  Often they are also unhappy with their work.  This is not a coincidence! I have regularly seen staff – who felt that their system did not meet their needs – spending time talking about their problems, and as a result spending less time working. 

But there are people who are keen on their systems.  They are proud of what they can achieve, and they understand they are using their software in the best way possible.

Typically, a good IT system will allow users to input crucial data easily, without duplication or having to move between a vast number of screens.  Also, reports will be readily available in the required format.

As far too many of us know, a lot of systems do not produce good management information.  It can take forever to get the right information out.  In some cases, 2 or 3 separate reports may need to be run off and data extracted into spreadsheets in order to achieve the required format.  

One company described this as their “automated approach to reporting”. (Another survey showed 58% of companies were not receiving adequate information from their finance system.)

One of my clients explained why she was so keen on her software.  She has a well-known software package which can sometimes be challenging.

But she has taken the time to learn what is possible with the system. 

She looked at her job, and then looked at the software to see the best way to carry out each task, given the software's limitations and features.  Where necessary she called the helpline to ascertain exactly what needed to be done. 

The result is an enthusiastic user.  She understands that the software has flaws, but feels she can work her way round most of these, and as a result her daily job is much easier.

Another excellent result has been achieved at one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions.  The management proudly demonstrated their new management information system to me.  This presented each manager with the key information they needed each day to do their job: indicators such as number of visitors the previous day, average spend per visitor, restaurant and shop turnover etc. 

From my point of view it was a delight to see people using IT in such a way, and to perceive that they were clear why they were collecting all this information.  Knowledge is power, and with this information – literally at their fingertips – they could quickly decide whether, for example, to make special offers, to advertise locally or nationally, or to change the prices in their shops.

So good IT systems are obviously well worthwhile.  The difference in productivity and staff satisfaction is worth addressing. 

Let me help improve your systems.  Click on Contact above and get in touch.

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