Like me, most of you have found yourself in a position where you needed to buy a present for someone and you were at a total loss as to what to get them.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner; are you wondering what to get for your Mother and maybe even Mother-in-Law? It has to be perfect, right? There is a good bit riding on this gift. But what should you get? So, you go to store, or if you’re me, you go to Amazon, and look at all the options. It’s absolutely overwhelming. What is the perfect gift? The anxiety starts to build. You question everything you look at. Does this match her taste? Does she already have this? Would that sweater fit her? What if it’s too big or worse yet, too small? You’re thinking, “If it’s not the right gift, I’m just wasting my money.” Maybe you should just go with the tried and true gift of flowers?
I don’t know about you, but I pretty much have that exact same scenario play out every single Mother’s Day. My husband, Ben, and I will be celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary this summer and I still have no idea what to get my Mother-in-Law each Mother’s Day.
Funny enough, the IT world is a lot like shopping for my Mother-in-Law. There is so much technology available to businesses that it can be overwhelming to sort through it all to find the perfect product to fit our needs. Regardless of whether you are a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a Managing Partner at a law firm, a Realtor or a small business owner, you are looking for ways to improve your customer engagement, reduce your overhead and your workload, make things work better, smoother, and make sense of all the data surrounding your business. And you know technology can help you do all of that.
But where do you start? If you’re a small business owner, you probably go online and it’s overwhelming. If you are part of a larger company, maybe you attend a conference and even then, the booths in the expo hall are endless. Which systems are right for your business? That one doesn’t seem like the right fit; it doesn’t quite do everything you need. Worse yet, this one does everything you need and a lot more, so of course, the price is completely out of your budget. Then you start thinking, “Maybe I already have something in-house that would do this for me and I just have no idea because I’m not technical enough to figure it out.”
Well, welcome to 2019. You’re not alone. In fact, one question I hear over and over again from friends and clients is, “How do you know all of this?” The answer is simple, I don’t. But I have a team around me of people who do. A team I trust. A team of really smart people. A team I rely on to sort through the sea of options and deliver quality, innovative, and complete lifecycle solutions for each particular problem.
Now that’s not to say I don’t have my own skillset. I started my career as a data analyst. Over time, that experience, along with a natural skill for technology led me into a career of business process analysis. This was my bread and butter. I loved, and still love, helping businesses streamline their processes to reduce overhead, eliminate redundant tasks, facilitate growth and free up their resources for more valuable work.
Have you ever seen the movie Office Space? For those of you who haven’t seen it, one of the plot lines is about a team of consultants that have been brought into a company to help eliminate unnecessary staff. They interview one particular man who has worked at the company for some time. The reality is, what he does is simply take a piece of paper from one person and hand it to another. As the consultants continue to question him about the specifics of his job, asking him, “What would you say you do here?”, he blows up and says, “I have people skills! I’m good at dealing with people!”
I saw Office Space while I was in college, but it wasn’t until ten years later that the humor, or more accurately, the tragedy, of the movie really hit home. I was in a warehouse speaking with two gentlemen that helped with processing orders from the customers to the warehouse staff so the orders could be fulfilled. For the sake of this story, let’s call them Steve and John.
I started by asking John how he received the orders. He proceeded to show me that he receives them via email. Great. “Steve, do you also receive orders via email?” John interrupts, “No, I print the emails out and give them to him. Then he enters them into the system.” Ok. “So, John, do you also have the ability to enter them into the system?” “No, I just receive the emails and print them for Steve.” Ok. “Why don’t they just email the orders to Steve?” “Well because Steve doesn’t have email.” Ok. “So, if we got Steve setup with email, he could technically just get the email and enter the order into the system, right? Then you wouldn’t have to print them out for him. It would save that entire step.” Already sensing where this was heading, John panicked. “No, Steve cannot have email. I have to print the orders and give them to him to enter into the system.” At this point I am looking around the room waiting for someone to jump out and tell me I’m being punked. Am I seriously experiencing a real-life Office Space moment? This is surreal!
As humorous as the moment was, it was truly tragic too. Of course, John and Steve were both great guys and no one wanted either of them to lose their job. But from an IT perspective, they were both unnecessary for that specific task. A simple computer system could do their job in a fraction of the time with no risk of human error. For the business owner who was trying to streamline his business and cut costs so he could grow, this was a breakthrough. We had identified an area where he could utilize technology to increase his capacity for throughput, and ultimately, he didn’t need to downsize John and Steve, because he could restructure and reassign them to perform valuable work that would help the business sustain new growth.
We live in an amazing age. Sure, there is plenty out there we wish we could wave a magic wand and make disappear. Even in the world of technology, I feel that way. But in the world where technology and business meet, it’s magic! Tasks that take weeks can now be done in minutes. This saves time, which we all know is money. But it’s not just about saving time. It’s about reducing errors, having real-time data that you can translate into practical information to help you run your business better. You just need the right tools to do it.
And you may already have the tools at your disposal and don’t realize it. At The Coral Edge, we spend time with large corporations as well as small businesses helping to review their current systems and determine ways to optimize what they have to meet their growing needs. We develop IT strategies that align with their business goals so they are investing in the right technology. Technology that meets their needs today, but will also grow with their business without requiring ongoing investments in bigger solutions next year. We help sift through the sea of options to help you pick what truly is best for your business. Many consulting companies solely implement specific technology from software vendors such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and Amazon, but there are also robust open source technologies, that cost a fraction of the price and can meet the needs of many small to mid-sized businesses without the immense investment of time, resources and budget. And we’ve found that just like each person is unique, each business is as well. And what is right for one business is not always right for another. So, we work with our customers to identify their problem, define their requirements, determine their budget and then design their solution, whether that be through a third-party vendor like Microsoft, or through a custom-built solution.
The fact is, we live in a world of endless technical possibilities. And although that can be overwhelming, it shouldn’t discourage you from using technology to enable your business to grow. Our Fortune 100 clients got to where they are today because they refused to let the overwhelming sea of options get the better of them. They brought in the experts to offer guidance and advice, and present the technical options that would solve their problems. Sure, they often have in-house employees that do much of that work for them. But they also value a fresh perspective. They know when their time, money and resources are better delegated to other tasks. That’s when we are brought in.
- A logistics company need integration solutions between their supplier’s systems and their in-house warehouse and finance systems.
- A retailer needs an in-store mobile activations solution and their internal teams have no bandwidth to deliver one.
- A growing law firm needs their monthly invoicing process to be more transparent and efficient for their partners to improve their cash flow.
That’s what we do. We formed The Coral Edge in 2006 because we saw this need all over the world. Technology wasn’t going away. It was getting bigger and becoming more relevant and more critical to the way we do business. We wanted to be a part of that. And in the process, we built a client base that spans from Australia to Asia, the Americas and Europe. Our customers range from large franchising and retail chains, to law firms, to startups just getting off the ground.
Because that’s how technology works. It is critical and instrumental to businesses of all sizes, all over the world. The right technology solutions enable businesses to grow and evolve. And just like your search for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, with the right planning, and maybe consulting with your spouse for some expert advice, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be just what you were looking for; the perfect gift for your business.