Be smarter – how efficiency and integration can help shape your workplace
The word “digital” is on the lips of all kinds of people at the moment – not least those who are on the hunt for transformative solutions that could save their businesses some cash. However, it’s not quite as simple as it might seem. Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that around a third of businesses still aren’t using all of the major technological tools available to them. What this means is that there are far fewer business and finance leaders taking advantage of the digital revolution than there should be.
Perhaps this is down to the barriers to entry. It’s not quite as simple as installing a software package and letting it run wild. The most important, yet most difficult, thing to do is to create a digital culture in which all employees feel comfortable and happy using software solutions for productive purposes. This article will explore how to go about doing that.
Explain the benefits
Often, employees simply don’t quite understand why they’re being asked to use integrated software solutions. With one study from the Confederation of British Industry suggesting that there’s the potential for £100bn to be added to the UK’s Gross Value Added figures if technological uptake increased, it’s more crucial than ever that employers explain to their staff just why they are being asked to use systems that may seem new-fangled.
Take the example of repetitive tasks, such as the processing of expense claims. To an employee, printing out an expense form and stapling the receipt to it may simply be the way it has always been done, and change can seem scary. A much more time-efficient method of expense claim filing would be using instant digital submission tools that require a smartphone photograph of the receipt. However, for an employer to make the switch, there needs to be an accompanying explanation that emphasises how uptake of the new system will save everyone time. It’s also worth noting to employees that these sorts of software packages save the organisation cash as well and that they will be prudently contributing to the overall financial health of the organisation by using digital tools.
Invest in the training
According to figures, businesses in the UK are spending over $120bn a year on software alone. That’s a lot of cash – but it’s not even close to where it needs to be. That’s because software solutions need to be used in order for an organisation to get its money’s worth, and that requires a further investment, this time in training. Once a new piece of software has arrived within an organisation, setting aside budget and time for training can help ensure that it beds in and that everyone is on board with using it.
Get the C-suite on board
Ultimately, it is the C-suite that is responsible for ensuring transformation plans like these work. However, the process of convincing them to make changes is not always easy, and it can feel like a losing battle to get them on board. It may require a subtly different approach when it comes to persuasion. Perhaps the main value of an efficient and integrated software system for senior executives is the accuracy of the data that is collected, and then used, to make strategic decisions. By explaining that integrated software systems deliver a single version of the truth, the eyes of any C-suite leader are likely to light up. By doing this, a finance director can also earn some brownie points of their own by showing that they are one of the rare 2.2% of finance leaders who devote time to that all-important strategic analysis.
As an employer, it’s prudent to make the switch to integrated and efficient software as soon as possible. But sometimes, finance directors and other senior leaders can feel a little isolated when making a case for change. That’s why it’s smart to persuade all stakeholders in the organisation, especially the senior ones, that change is good – and that a digital culture is desirable.