It’s a new year, and that means many industrial and manufacturing companies are taking a fresh look at their business.
And many of these companies likely look at their software stack and see problems:
* Siloed and inconsistent data
* Outdated ERPs and business critical software
* Unconnected robotics
* Management of rapidly growing databases
* BYOD (Bring your own device) trends among employees
These are big problems that stand in the way of strategic goals and ROI gains. But fixing them completely by overhauling or outright replacing your software stack is a huge undertaking that most businesses don’t have the capacity and/or CapEx budget to begin.
If you’re in that boat, I have good news for you:
A little software augmentation can go a long way.
Here are four ways your company can get a big impact from a smaller software project.
1. Increased Speed
It’s amazing how many big companies live with software that is just slow. Many times, it’s because a company has evolved to the point where it has to ask software to do things it wasn’t intended to do, or because a company was an early adopter back in the 1990s (or even 1980s) and now is stuck with an ERP that’s too expensive to replace. Either way, things just move slow.
Software augmentation can add speed in a couple of different ways.
Building a web app or portal that handles some of the work currently happening in a slower system allows you to optimize for speed. From page load speeds to API calls, each step in the process can be analyzed and optimized. The result is a faster experience for every user.
A software augmentation doesn’t just provide technical speed—it also speeds up work by helping users be more efficient. By enforcing current user experience best practices and understanding what users are trying to do at every step along the way, a good software developer can deliver a more intuitive software app that makes work faster.
2. Employee Satisfaction
Another benefit of software that is faster and more intuitive is employees who are happier. This makes sense—few things make us more frustrated than waiting on a screen to load or getting stuck with a spinning color wheel or hourglass.
As employee satisfaction becomes a KPI for more and more businesses, it’s important for business to remove the everyday frustrations that make them want to throw their computers out the window. Software augmentation isn’t the end-all solution to employee satisfaction scores, but it’s a way to make a gain that you can measure.
3. Mobile Access
If your company hears complaints its old software or its processes that happen on paper, the source of these complaints is likely about not having access to information in the field. This is a big deal for your sales team and for any employees who gather information on site visits.
The good news is that you can address mobile needs without having to replace your entire software. Whether it’s a mobile website that presents information currently housed in your software in an easily accessible way, a mobile app that sends information into your software, or some other on-the-go solution, a mobile-first solution can solve a lot of problems and make your business run more smoothly.
4. Reporting Flexibility
Nothing is more frustrating for company leaders than wanting an answer and not being able to compile the data needed to provide it, or for it taking a long time to produce that answer. Software augmentation can do this by integrating data and presenting it in an easily digestible and understandable form. This may take the form of a dashboard, or it may be a more complex solution that leverages machine learning to create predictive analytics.
Improving your industrial company or manufacturing firm’s software isn’t an either/or proposition. You can find a small step or two that will make a big impact this year.
So put a dash of software augmentation into your company’s plan this year. You’ll be surprised how a little bit can go a long way toward helping your business accomplish its strategic goals.