Business at Simplus is booming—we are barreling down the road at a million miles an hour, picking up bigger and better business opportunities along the way. That is all well and good for a growing business, but what do we actually want to accomplish?
That is to say, what is it that we think we can be improving on to better help our case as a company. It can be anything, really: working on building out a better brand, creating more efficient internal processes, refining our value proposition to clients, etc. The important thing to focus on is what is going to bring the most value to the organization at which time. There are a few important things to consider when considering your team’s long-term goals.
The importance of the discovery phase
Most companies involved in the implementation and integration of technological systems are technically proficient in getting a working solution off the ground in the frame of a few weeks. Any firm can enter into the A&D phase with the client, procure a configurable document of needs, and then go execute upon the deliverables. However, what will the system look like five years, one year, or even just six months down the road? In other words, has it been architected to be a scalable system for the client?
To provide this level of excellence to the users, you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This “discovery” allows you to delve into the higher-level goals of the organization. Here at Simplus, we call them our “Epic Stories,” and they typically comprise of the company requirement and persona stories that let you build out the needs of the process and people involved. It’s these early-stage discoveries that ultimately help you lay the foundation for your project roadmap and subsequent success downstream.
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Developing a roadmap for alignment
In everyday life, most people don’t take the time to slow down and think about their own lives, much less their businesses. In the book Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the authors point out that the average person only stops one to two times a year to take the time to think without taking action. That’s where the real value of a roadmap lies—it allows you to stop and look at the current situation and apply a scope to the business, program, or project.
When first engaging a client, you will initially ask if they have documentation regarding their current processes. And, unfortunately, they will most likely tell you no. Someone could probably tell you what they do on a day-to-day basis, but there is no empirical evidence to back it up. This is another benefit that a roadmap lends: you can help your team establish documentation standards and ensure that you are developing a digital trail to inform insightful business decisions down the line. Once you have aligned your roadmap, you’re ready to tackle the more technical needs of the company.
Spurring business process re-engineering
One of the things we do here at Simplus is an offering in the strategy practice of business process re-engineering. These are the beginning fundamentals of understanding where the business currently is and hashing out what you want to change. How do you redefine that process within that new set of tools or technology?
Once you get there, then you go to your tool selection: what is it that is going to help meet those needs within the application? Then, you can start to develop your in-depth technological decision. In other words, you’re finally ready to pick and choose your features and functions. What are the capabilities or features and functions that you are looking for that will ultimately help align you with your tools? For example, anything within your sales process (lead generation, opportunities, etc.) would fall into your Sales Cloud.
There is one final imperative to consider here—your discovery, road mapping, and re-engineering efforts are not a one-and-done task. This is a living and breathing entity; you have to continually monitor the status of the system and how the technology stacks up against your business goals. Keeping a finger on the pulse, performing health checks, and keeping tabs on lessons learned is the only way to guarantee that you are pushing the organization’s growth in the right direction.