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Get your ducks in a row, don’t let scattered information destroy your business


It’s no secret that the average business environment has changed dramatically in the past few decades, and continues to do so as technology progresses.

Employees are often facing upwards of 60-100 emails per day, and the workplace itself has expanded to include remote colleagues and teams. Information is coming in from dozens of different geographical locations, devices, servers, apps as well as many other sources.

Unfortunately, while the myriad ways of delivering information have evolved dramatically, for many organisations, the system for managing the information hasn’t changed much.

A faulty information management system means that this wealth of data is becoming a hindrance to businesses rather than the growth-enabler it should be.

The disorganisation of information presents a serious challenge for businesses, one that can have a significant impact. With data located in multiple locations, the potential is high for inefficient processes, and this means lost time and money.

Finding a way to combat this burden is a key component to success.

The cost to business

Many businesses feel the pain of scattered information. Some businesses try to create ad-hoc processes for their particular office or department, but it has little effect on the wider problem.

All this scattered data is leading to a range of growing problems. Some businesses may just be losing time as employees search for lost information while others are also losing profits from missed revenue opportunities.

Businesses may even be risking their customer satisfaction by having incomplete information available when it is most needed.

Employees feel the impact as well. Most are likely to be frustrated by inefficient processes, which could potentially lead to reduced job satisfaction and even company exodus.

Getting organised

To overcome these challenges, businesses must consolidate their information. By implementing a central system to manage data and enable the formation of clear processes, businesses can begin to effectively manage internal and external information.

However, businesses must consider what system to implement, particularly given the continually changing workflows. Today a significant number of employees either work from home or are field-based.

Modern employees are mobile; equipped with a laptop, tablet and smartphone, they are able to work wherever and whenever they need to. This means businesses must find a system that can operate independently of an office and is accessible on the go.

A recent study found that many organisations are turning to custom apps to reduce inefficiency and increase productivity. Custom apps enable employees and customers to securely access vital information at any time, from any place and extend business processes far beyond the boundaries of the enterprise.

The benefit of custom apps is that they are created to meet the unique needs of a team or organisation, working across various devices – be it desktop or mobile – to service the modern worker.

There was a time when custom app development was out of reach for small and mid-sized businesses, because it required hiring expensive developers. However, now there are many options available that make custom app development easier and cheaper than ever before.

Today creating an app from scratch is a real possibility for organisations who in the past may have settled for trying to customise off-the-shelf software.

The same study also found that 81 per cent of businesses reduced inefficient tasks, and 74 per cent increased team productivity thanks to the implementation of custom apps.

Businesses are finding value in creating their own apps to corral their scattered information so that it does not have a negative impact on business productivity or limit their potential for growth. New software development tools take the sting out of creating custom apps and fit the unique needs of a business.

Finding a solution that works across multiple platforms and easily integrate with existing systems will give businesses the competitive advantage they need.

Andrew LeCates is a 20-year veteran of FileMaker, Inc., an Apple subsidiary, that develops simply powerful software for easily creating custom apps that work seamlessly across iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and the web.

Andy LeCates