It’s not your software, it’s your processes
Have you ever wondered how people managed 30 or 40 years ago with the limited technology that was available? Computers advertised their specs from bytes to megabytes and Hz to MHz. Storage space was measured mostly in Bytes to (at a stretch) Megabytes!
Look at what they could do
Despite the limitations they had, amazing things were achieved. Businesses flourished, books were written, magazines were designed and distributed. The world still progressed. Using the technology available at the time, a vibrant entrepreneur community existed not unlike the world of today. Instead of podcasts, business influencers distributed audio cassettes, contributed to magazines and spoke at events.
Today our computing power is tens of thousands of times faster than those previous generations and yet how did they get so much done?
Why we are not the production powerhouses we could be?
You would think with the ability to process information, and the plethora of amazing software packages available, that a digital agency would not have to struggle with dropped deadlines or content overwhelm. Yet somehow we do.
The solution? Most of us blame our tech stack. We decide our computers are too slow, or the software we are using just doesn’t cut it and before long we are investing in new solutions.
The plot twist
Let me challenge that assumption today. You are reading a blog post that was created on an Amiga 500 Plus from 1991. This machine has 7MHz processing power and 1mb of RAM. I am comfortably writing in a word processed called “excellence v3.0” which was released circa 1992. A gorgeous red manual sits atop my machine explaining how I can take advantage of all the features in a comprehensive 300 pages.
Over the last few months, I have taken to moving my creative writing and administration to vintage technology. I realised that I was getting far too distracted by all the features I had at my fingertips and I should be focusing on getting the job done.
In about 10 minutes, my Organizer by Digita will remind me of a call I have scheduled, along with all the relevant details. The contact is also linked to that reminder, and I have client notes available to me at the click of a button.
Sure I can’t do the call on this machine, but I can manage my day to day admin tasks with it.
The worst kept secret
So what makes this machine and these software packages so special? How can they possibly be better than a modern application?
The secret is this: I have a defined content writing and client management process. I can use anything from a pen and paper to a super computer. It makes no difference to the process.
More modern software with automation and integrations can expedite my workflow and make me more productive. However, without an understanding of how things are done within a business, most software is misused and will eventually become a hindrance.
A company that got it right
Many years ago I was hired as the CRM Administrator of a company. They were taking on a new SaaS CRM platform, and needed to get the most from their investment. They recognised the importance of documenting their business processes and then establishing usage documentation for the CRM.
By the time we had finished documenting the business processes and connecting them across all departments, we understood the entire workflow of the business from beginning to end. We could now utilise the CRM in a way that would support how we worked as a business.
Whilst we would hit roadblocks at time where automation or integration would have been ideal, we could still use the product to get products delivered, installed and serviced.
What’s the solution?
I completely understand the desire to find software solutions that will do everything and some more, yet I wonder if we are missing the point? For myself, this self-imposed limitation of using vintage technology has taught me so much about how I work, how I focus and how my business is run.
Without the extra power or automation, I’ve been able to test and refine existing business processes. In turn, this has made using even the most primitive software a breeze.
Perhaps your next step as a business is to review your procedures, or begin to document them. When know your business inside out, you will likely find you can make the existing software you have work for you. Worst case, you can select a product that will meet your needs with confidence knowing exactly what you need.
A few years back I dropped a simple video on the basics of a process. It really doesn’t need to be clever or fancy. I just make lists. Check it out on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f3atqQEq-o