Risk management, business resilience and disaster recovery have enjoyed a lot of focus – even before the events of the last couple of years. Despite this, many businesses still stick to traditional paper-based forms and processes – even while large corporations enjoy a multitude of benefits from going digital.
These large businesses could afford the vast, costly systems that used to be a prerequisite to the shift to paperless operations. However, modern technology has changed the game.
In this post, we’ll explore how SMEs (small to medium businesses) can join the paperless revolution with their very own custom applications.
You don’t need programmers or have to learn to code in order to help your clients get their own apps. Here follows exactly what to do, without cost (except some time) on your part.
The Correct Approach To Digital Migration
Many companies start their road to digital with their customer service experience. The idea is to show their customers how digitally advanced they are – and it’s a nice idea.
The problem is that they end up forcing the customer to use an app that’s either been purchased or is hosted by a provider. There’s no control and no clear grasp of the limitations, and the whole strategy comes crashing down.
A better approach is to start where faster processes add the most value to the business. This is often not at the customer level, but on the perennial problems that consume the most time and add little perceived value.
Risk management and compliance, for example, are great places to start.
These ‘hidden’ and often arduous processes can be managed digitally. As a result, staff save hours of admin time and can be better utilized in high-value actions – like engaging with clients.
In the end, risk management apps pay for themselves. Audit processing, checklists, and historical compliance data can all be easily housed and reported as it happens.
Shifting to digital risk management options goes beyond simply streamlining your processes. The ability to capture images, video, estimates, and real-time commentary is invaluable.
This helps to cut approval times and the eventual cost of incidents by reducing their frequency and severity. All of this contributes to a leaner, better business.
Taking the Leap
When you’re ready to dig in and help your clients with a digital solution, it can be tempting to focus on big problems. This can be counter-intuitive in the beginning, however.
The real power is in focusing on their most pressing issues during the free trial phase that Appenate provides. Offering a simple solution to these issues will have them wondering how they ever lived without it – even within the trial period.
My engagements with clients have been as a trouble-shooter. My experience is often sought in a technical capacity, and not in digital territory. That said, Appenate has become one aspect of problem-solving for businesses.
Then there is a need for support in resolving a process or part of a system, Appenate is often the exact fit to achieve the desired outcome. The focus remains on making the lives of those running the operations easier. Without fail, Appenate achieves this objective.
All of this means that I don’t use Appenate as a platform to gain clients. Rather, I introduce clients to Appenate to ensure a smooth outcome for all parties.
‘Go on, hold the puppy’
As a consultant, I often take it upon myself to pay for more time with the apps I’ve set up for clients – offered as a trial extension. I call this an opportunity to ‘hold the puppy.’
When pet store owners spot a potential puppy adopter, they would invite them in to hold the puppy. The soft, adorable puppy is then hard to put down and a potential sale looms.
I tailor the forms to their needs to show them the ease of use, as well as the usefulness beyond paper forms. I also run a training and familiarisation program to aid the process of adoption.
There are several small methods I’ve designed to impress clients.
- Demonstrating the app complete with company branding and colour schemes.
- Showcasing the transfer of forms for approval through task allocation and reminders.
- Testing the personalised nature of forms with dropdown boxes showing employee names.
At the end of the extension, the company has seen how powerful the resource is. Hence, they’re ready to take over the subscription and run with it.
Consider Your Candidates
Not all clients in your network will be ready for the leap forward. Some are already overwhelmed by a myriad of existing solutions that prove difficult to manage. They might already be jaded by digital systems; seeing them as a necessary evil rather than a time- and cost-saving tool.
In this case, it may not be the right time to introduce them to an app development resource.
On the other hand, there may be a serious need. As their consultant and advisor, you are best positioned to make this call.
Be their guide to a new business world full of possibilities. You could help relieve someone who’s bogged down in paper in accounts receivable. You could be the hero to the Safety Committee, helping them marshall their information and reporting with greater ease. The list goes on – manufacturing, field teams, maintenance planning – the possibilities are near endless.
Feelings, Not Formula
So much of business in the post-pandemic world is based on a feeling, not a formula. Companies argue that they’ll be ready to move to digital technology when ‘it feels right.’
The focus, instead, should be on strategic planning to predict when the transition should begin. Appenate fits in well here because it’s a user-defined resource. It can be as wide or confined as a business needs it to be.
In the end, the world is making a shift to digital. Slowly, yes, but that’s the global direction. So ask yourself this… can your clients afford not to include a digital solution such as Appenate in their planning?
More About Lisa
We at Appenate would like to thank Lisa Bateson, Certified Appenate Consulting Partner, for penning this article.
Lisa is a seasoned consultant operating in the risk management and chemicals industry in the Brisbane area, Australia.
If you’d like to get in touch, Lisa has agreed to share her LinkedIn details as follows.