Posted on26 April 2017 11:42 AM GMT

Engineering Better Businesses

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We are in the business of building businesses - digitized / digital businesses per se, but not necessarily in the way that you might perceive, and certainly not as a fully stand-alone and independent activity. We construct business vehicles and vessels - which still need to be properly manned and skippered. Constructing the system is only the starting point, it needs to be correctly deployed for success. Just as you can buy the most technically proficient vessel to race in the America’s Cup, it will all be moot if you don’t run a decent crew. And by the same token, the best racing crew in the world is not going to be able compete adequately if not making use of the latest technologies used by all the other competitors.

 

And so it is also for Digital business - where success is an ongoing collaboration between personnel and systems. No matter how good your business vehicle or system, you won’t achieve your goals adequately if you don’t resource it properly.

 


Workflow

 

Our starting point is always to identify the inner workings of a business from a more conventional basis - what are the revenue streams, business models and routines employed. How does the business function on a daily basis - which are the key tasks and activities, and how are these ordered and organized.

 

In recent years, more and more emphasis has been placed on the CRM as a central ’brain’ and organizing resource for a business. After all - most businesses are simply some sort of matchmaker between customer needs and a product or service provision from the other end. So we help identify key business regimes and routines and how to organize and control those activities centrally - through a common brain - otherwise known as a CRM.

 

The Affino Unified Digital Business Platform is fairly unique in encompassing so many different business systems and workflows in a singular system - where all activities can be centrally managed through a singular database and fully connected CRM.

 


Process

 

Most businesses can be fairly easily broken down into a series of key processes and workflows. Which are the agents of change and progress, what are their steps, and how do they connect together. Equally - how do different user groups need to interact with those tasks - both end users / customers and service personnel / admins.

 

All this distils down to an organisational resource with specific navigation and signposts - with structured user journeys on both sides. This is an evolving system - where it usually takes a some degree of evolution to arrive at the best interface and navigation. It is an ongoing learning process where processes can be continuously honed and improved.

 

Here the collaborative component is key - as with the earlier metaphor - it is critical that the crew gets an adequate feel for how all the systems work and react - so that they can be best placed to fine tune the key operational parameters to improve the experience for all concerned. This also means that goals will shift, and what you end up with can be quite significantly elevated and different from the starting point.

 


Automation

 

Successful business is based on repeatability and reproducibility. Once you hit upon the magic formula, how easily can you replicate it again and again. Running a system like Affino gives you several advantages in the areas of tracking and automation - where just about every activity can be tracked, incentivised and rewarded, and be set into a fully automated daisy-chained workflow of activities where key service activities can be largely or entirely automated.

 

This of course helps reduce overheads and extends business hours and reach. Yet automation is not entirely a panacea, as with automation you often get the occasional unwanted reaction / response - which means the collaborative component is as important as ever. You can get complacent that all manner of routines are running automatically - but all of this still requires regular monitoring to ensure that you are capturing the full extent of customer behaviour, and that you are continually honing and improving the processes and thus the overall business.

 

As we are wont to say - the Internet changes every day, sometimes several times a day. Having smart automated systems obviously gives you an advantage in running your business. But just like those America’s Cup sailors - you also need to keep tabs on your performance at all times to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly - there will always be kinks that need ironing out, and there will always be room for improvement.

Stefan
Posted by Stefan
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