November 6, 2019
Getting the Most From Your Tech Investments – Business Technology Stack
Posted by Ryan Prindiville
Even having the best business technology stack won’t help your business if you’re not using them properly, or you’re only taking advantage of one or two features.
We’ve seen many growing companies either wasting money on technology they’re not using, or buying tools with duplicative features because they don’t understand how to get the most from a tool they already own.
For example, a company may use its accounting package to record sales, but not to pay vendor bills. Or they may use a cloud-based human resources information system (HRIS) to manage payroll, but still on-board employees manually.
Any of these practices waste dollars, time and effort you could apply more effectively to growing your business.
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How does this happen? The most common cause is buying a complex tool without considering how easy it is to use, or not offering training.
Say your customer relationship management (CRM) platform offers powerful features, but your people struggle to use it. Your sales team will put off entering data or will track data on their own devices. Before long, you have a CRM tool gathering virtual dust while your subscription rolls along, month after month.
In other cases,mid-market companies invest in a cloud-based suite of tools, but don’t take advantage of that’s suite’s potential.
These purchases are often made to address a specific need or to serve a specific client. But when another need arises, the company often purchases new software instead of asking their software vendor whether an existing tool can help, or exploring that tool’s features.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, for instance, are designed to handle a company’s financial, customer service and inventory needs (either in their core functionality or through plug-ins). We often see companies using ERP systems for some limited financial functions, while manually performing others that the ERP could be doing.
Or we see a company using a cloud ERP for financials but using a separate CRM tool that doesn’t share data with the ERP. In this case, the company loses the time savings and efficiency gains of having a customer’s complete history on one screen.
Another common issue is companies being reluctant to pull the plug on a tool that nobody’s using, but that the company has invested money and time in. This sunk cost fallacy means the company sticks with software that’s not doing anyone any good.
As our CFO Evolution research shows, successful business leaders understand how technology is critical to strategic business growth.
Not taking advantage of your tech tool’s functionality can create several challenges for your company’s growth and financial success. If you have two or three tools when one could do the job, for example, you’re spending good money on technology that you’re not using.
Money aside, you can wind up with data in a variety of tools that aren’t integrated and don’t share information. If you have sales data in multiple systems, your company is harder to manage. And if that data doesn’t match, you’re not sure which numbers to trust. Then you waste time trying to understand which figures represent the “true” data.
Instead, it’s more effective to say goodbye to tools that don’t meet your needs and to investigate whether there are features in your existing technology that are being ignored.
Ryan sits on the Consulting Leadership Team and heads Armanino’s Strategy and Transformation, Data Analytics and Solution Architecture functions. He provides executive advisory, management consulting, assessments and roadmaps for clients in all of Armanino’s business segments, and sits on the firmwide Real Estate and Construction Industry leadership team. He has extensive business, technology, and operations leadership experience in Fortune 50, mid-market and entrepreneurial environments, and has led global teams in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
He has held line leadership and consulting roles in a range of industries, including retail/consumer goods, real estate / construction, entertainment, hospitality, technology, healthcare, and financial services. His multi-functional experience includes strategy, management consulting, technology, process improvement, product commercialization, innovation, and operations.
Co Authors :
Jenn has more than 25 years of outsourced accounting and finance experience, with a particular expertise in startups and the advertising and creative production industries. She is passionate about seeing companies utilize the latest accounting technology to maximize their efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, success.
Before joining Armanino, Jenn founded and led Team Jenn Corp., a firm dedicated to the strategic financial management of startups and small businesses, offering a comprehensive back office solution with accounting, finance and HR solutions. Previous roles include stints at advertising giant Ogilvy and Mather, and in the cash management industry.
Jenn has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pepperdine University and is a member of several professional associations including the National Society of Accountants, ProVisors and the Women’s Business Enterprise Network.