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Business is full of data management. Customer information, employee time logs, equipment tracking, task management, and customer support followup sequences are just the tip of the informational iceberg.
Most small businesses start by tracking their key data points in excel. Spreadsheets offer custom functions and equations to make calculations more accurate. Cloud based spreadsheets like google drive, icloud, and office 365 are a great way to collaborate and share information through your business.
However, being that labor is the largest expense for most businesses, data tracking and reporting is not only time consuming but error prone as there are no rules for entering the data into an excel sheet. Row shift, column shift, and lack of input validation can quickly cause our valued data to become inaccurate and difficult to audit. This is the time that most businesses look towards custom software to manage their businesses data and reporting.
Businesses Outgrow Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets are a great starting place to track and consolidate all of your business information. However, as a business scales, the time it takes to enter data accurately and generate useful reports begins to take its toll on most entrepreneurs. Most reports can take hours to manually generate. At some point your excel sheets will have so many rows that the mere process of opening the document can take several minutes. Not only is load time an issue, but humans are prone to error. Without proper input validation, it’s too easy to enter data in the wrong field causing the data to be useless or worse.
Automating Redundant Business Tasks and Reporting
Custom business application software provides automated solutions that save time and increase accuracy. This is done by providing a limited view of what a user can enter and validation the input fields whenever possible. An intuitive application dashboard also provides reports at the push of a button. Weekly and daily reports no longer take a full time position.
Reporting with data tables, charts, and graphs provide insight by highlighting the outliers in any dataset. If we can see the averages, it's easy to spot an overperformer or an underperformer. This level of insight opens the doors to efficiency. Not only in accuracy of data entry and reporting, but in the ability to make informed business decisions.
Cross Platform and Multi-Site Capable
Many businesses operate from a main administrative office and in the field simultaneously. This can create its own set of unique challenges:
- Field agents need to track their time.
- Field agents reporting of tasks and jobs accomplished.
- Administrative agents need to track updates based on field activity.
- Administrative agents generate real time reports based on field activity.
These are common problems that can be overcome with custom business software. Web applications allow users with any device and location to have access to the same data set. This means that field agents can provide real time updates to the system. Field updates allow administration to produce reports at the push of a button. Live reports are the lifeblood of any well informed business.
Real Time Reporting
Real time reporting has benefits beyond the obvious. Reports are used to identify over and underperformers to increase productivity. Live data reports also provide insight into cost and project completion to keep track of your clients projects. Another benefit of custom reporting is that we can print, share, and send data to clients, payroll departments, or key decision makers to keep communication and expectations accurate.
To Recap, real time reporting offers:
- Site work reports to keep clients and administration up to date.
- Payroll reports at the push of a button.
- Live Cost Reporting
- Graphs allow quick identification of outliers for informed business decisions.
- No more waiting hours for a report to be created. If the data is there, so is the report.
Custom Software Solutions Save Time and Money
It all comes down to time and money. Auditing data in spreadsheets is an arduous process. Manually generating reports can take so much time that they are often obsolete by the time they get to key decision makers. Not to mention that field workers need to report back to the office secretary which can cost inaccuracy and even more time.
Custom software puts an end to most of these issues. Auditing data is easier with graphs and charts. Validating inputs creates safer and more reliable data whether entered from the field or main office. Once we can trust our data, reporting becomes hyper efficient. Not only are the reports accurate, they are no longer associated with labor to generate them. Business decisions can be made with confidence as we can use logic to outweigh our emotions.
Want to talk to someone about your business goals and how custom software can help you reach them? Fill out our contact form for a free 30 minutes discovery call.