Take a look at your backend
The focus for most websites today is selling services / products to customers and clients. But often the idea of streamlining internal company operations via online interfaces (i.e. intranets), isn't considered as a vital part to improve customer service, improve reporting and reduce costs.
Traditional paper / human intervention based tasks such as timesheets, invoicing, scheduling (and a number of other tasks) are key areas that companies can look at streamlining. This article will focus on these 3 tasks.
Time billing within the service industry for example is critical to ensuring cash flow and accountability to clients - yet paper based timesheets require double handling via collation, give no real time reporting and are less effective than electronic means.
We utilise a custom built timesheet management program that integrates directly into our online job system. This allows staff to keep track of times quickly and more effectively than via a paper based system, whilst allowing management access to reporting and approval/assignment to jobs. This also removes the requirement to key data from a paper based system into the job system.
The ability to assign tasks and jobs to co-workers, as well as track their progress, is another organisational tool that can increase the productivity of most organisations.
Finally, invoicing and end of the month statement generation should not chew staff resources. An electronic invoicing system (linked with the timesheet system) makes it a quick and simple operation that requires minimum staff resources and provides clients and customers a clear description of what they are being billed for.
Backend automation in a nutshell really needs to accomplish a few key objectives:
- Be easy for staff to use.
- Reduce staff time in recording data. Smart interfaces are always faster than hand writing information.
- Automated collation and reporting of data.
- Improve customer service.