Skip to main content

Optimize BEFORE You Automate

By January 8, 2017April 5th, 2017Systems Thinking

optimize before you automate
Happy new year! 2017 is off to the races and companies are coming back online and ready to tackle their goals for the new year. Like a lot of companies, a technology upgrade may be on the table for you. Maybe it’s a project management system, a CRM, an accounting platform, a workflow system – maybe it’s an off the shelf solution or a custom build… either way, STOP. Consider this quote before anything else.

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to a company excited to implement a new technology that’s going to accelerate everything from lead generation to sales to service delivery – and solve all their problems. But… technology rarely does this on its own without bulletproof systems in place well ahead of any software solution.

We develop software and implement technology solutions and still I’m telling you, stop. Assess your systems and processes first, then evaluate a technology solution to accelerate your results. Of the abysmal failures I’ve seen, the single more prevalent cause was bringing in technology too soon and on top of garbage systems. The successful solutions we’ve implemented and seen implemented have all been based on a solid foundation of clearly defined and well thought out processes.

Here are a few questions to ask before geeking out on software:

  1. Do we have clearly defined and well documented processes?
  2. Are our processes repeatable, consistent and error-free?
  3. Do we have know the KPI’s we need to gauge the effectiveness of the functional areas of our business?
  4. Do we have a strategy for collecting, interpreting and acting on the data our business collects?

Here’s a great intro to Business Process Automation from Laserfiche.

If you’d like to chat about a technology strategy, systems improvement or software solution, I’d love to have a conversation – contact me.


Michael Trezza

Michael Trezza is the CEO and founder of Lithyem. Since 1999, Michael has been solving complex technology challenges for some of the world's greatest brands. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn.