By Nkululeko Nombika, Business Operations Director, Sage Africa, Middle East and Australia-Pacific
You have probably experienced the feeling of being ‘in the zone’. Perhaps it comes to you when you’re running, working on a piece of art or getting engrossed in the analysis of a spreadsheet. You get into a flow and only realise it when you lose your sense of time. Difficult things become effortless, you’re performing at your best, and every action and decision flows seamlessly from the last.
Your business, too, can find this sort of flow. It’s a state where your team is empowered to achieve peak performance, and your business benefits from higher output and quality. Good business flow describes a company’s ability to consistently and steadily provide value to its customers. Flow is disrupted when everyone appears busy, but nothing is getting done.
Business flow comes from building a talented team that collaborates effectively. But even if your business only hires the best, impediments like manual processes, disjointed systems, and multiple data sources can create anxiety and frustration in your teams. Getting your process and data flow right will facilitate team fluidity and take performance to the next level.
Streamlining and automating processes within your business is one of the best ways to achieve flow. By using cloud technology, you can connect your people to one another and to their work to get things done faster. Business process automation (BPA) removes manual, repetitive processes and gives time back to your people so they can work on higher-value tasks.
For example, instead of your team sending emails back and forth or having to follow up with their managers for approvals, BPA pushes documents and approvals through a workflow, notifying and reminding people when their input is needed. Cloud solutions capture and track every action, providing valuable, auditable data that you can use to identify issues and make informed decisions – any time, anywhere.
Integrating processes also dramatically improve team productivity, frees them up to focus on more important tasks, and enables the entire business to flow forward seamlessly.
A well-organised information flow can reduce costs, improve customer service, and make processes more efficient. Yet sharing information between the multiple systems in most businesses is challenging, often requiring the information to be entered multiple times in different ways, duplicating efforts, and increasing the risk of error.
Monitoring data streams, opening up silos, and removing barriers unlocks competitive advantages and drives innovation by sharing ideas and information, transferring knowledge, and supporting collaboration. The challenge comes when making data available throughout business flows and functions without comprising security or compliance.
That’s where cloud financial, HR, payroll and ERP systems come into play. They not only remove barriers to sharing information but also provide the ability to control access and maintain an audit trail for integrated, automated reporting. A modern cloud platform can give your business a single, real-time view of manufacturing, supply chain, CRM, HR, and warehouse management.
Moreover, the ability to customise workflows reduces risk and improves the employee experience by reducing errors caused by insufficient or incorrect information. High-level planning and decision-making also become faster and easier. That’s because each person can access the data they need to inform their job.
Don’t lose the flow
When your organisation is not optimised for flow, work gets passed between busy team members who are exhausted from the effects of context switching, excessive meetings, rework, and an inability to focus. This has a significant impact on both quality and speed of delivery. Automating repetitive, low value activities can free your team’s time to focus on what matters, helping them to find their flow and enabling your business to thrive.
Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of Small and Mid Sized Businesses served by us, our partners and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR and payroll software to make work and money flow. By digitising business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality and the climate crisis.