Simon Hague, RedSky’s Head of Account Management, talks about the benefits of doing a root-and-branch review of current IT processes. Construction companies and contractors can use the review to help unlock the full potential of their software and add phenomenal value to their business.
I’ve been with RedSky for more than 30 years. During that time I’ve had thousands of discussions with people from the construction industry about:
- How to extract maximum value from their existing software solution.
- Embarking on their digital transformation journey to ensure the company’s long-term survival
- The barriers to digitisation
- Choosing the right time to migrate from a legacy product to the latest version
Based on these discussions, I’m in no doubt that if you’re in construction, reviewing your IT processes with an external consultant is a golden opportunity for improvement – a valuable chance for you to spend focused, quality time undergoing a proper deep-dive into how you are using your software.
Clients who have completed a RedSky review tell me it enabled them to see their software solution from a different perspective – with fresh eyes. The exercise can be hugely enlightening, even if you’ve been using your system for many years and feel you know it inside out.
I’ve seen the difference that spending time with an external consultant can make. They will help you to analyse your current processes in a way that you simply can’t do on your own. And it’s surprising how much can come out of the woodwork…
WHY REVIEW YOUR IT PROCESSES?
In construction, some long-standing customers continue to use their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in exactly the same way as they did when it was first installed. In fact, some have been using the same product version for years, if not decades. They follow the original processes, which work perfectly well, and can see no benefit in changing them.
For these customers, undergoing a review can provide more context and a better understanding of how the product has moved on since its initial implementation. Ultimately, it’s all about finding new ways to extract significant added value from their existing system.
There are many reasons why companies decide to review their IT processes. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- The current system is no longer fit for purpose because of organic business growth
- Staff who were party to the original implementation have moved on to new roles
- Lack of training means that staff are relying on outdated, inefficient practices
- Staff have found their own workarounds to address issues they have encountered, rather than seeking advice on best practice
- Fear of falling behind, coupled with a desire to take advantage of the latest developments and functionality.
Every customer is different, of course. But even businesses that have invested significant time and effort in understanding the ‘nuts and bolts’ of their system will benefit from reviewing their IT processes.
Systems are often highly configurable and there’s always more to learn. Commissioning a thorough external review of your processes can enable you to appreciate and understand:
- How you are currently using your system
- How your product has changed since the initial implementation, often in response to customer feedback and ideas
- What new functionality is available and how it can resolve troublesome issues – in fact, the review process may shed light on problems you don’t even know you’re struggling with
- How you can get more value out of your software, by optimising your processes
- Whether your software still ‘ticks all the boxes’ for your business and remains aligned with its direction of travel.
The potential added value is massive.
WHAT’S THE BEST APPROACH TO FOLLOW?
When it comes to reviewing IT processes, at RedSky we find that a four-stage approach works well.
- A comprehensive, warts-and-all look at how your system works today. The idea is to pinpoint all the processes used within your business, identify the interconnections and map everything out
- An in-depth analysis of your identified business processes and how they feed into other processes and tasks. This involves talking to as many stakeholders as possible, including the budget holder, the system owner, IT, superusers and users. It’s a deep-dive ‘face time’ into all the core processes, including things like the purchase ledger, subcontractors, plant and reporting. Going through things in such detail and talking openly about what’s going well and not so well really does bring things to the surface. It’s both a discussion forum and a discovery process
- A report setting out where and how you can make process improvements that meet your current and future business needs. The report should include:
- Clearly defined opportunities for you to get more out of your system
- Insights into best practice
- Areas for improvement, by addressing inefficient, risky or missing processes
- Suggestions about where you could benefit by implementing more functionality, such as using workflows to approve documents within the system
- Strategies – ‘quick wins’ (like training or retraining), medium-term plans (like adding a specialist module) and longer-term projects (like functionality for document management)
- Agreement on the way forward. A follow-up visit, web meeting or phone call to discuss the report, its findings, recommendations and next steps.
DO YOU HAVE THE APPETITE FOR CHANGE?
Your ERP system should be far more than ‘just another IT application’; it needs to provide the ‘golden thread of information recommended in Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future report.
It should be the backbone of how your business functions, facilitating change by using core processes. Your ERP system should support and facilitate safe transacting within existing processes, with embedded control and governance embedded – you simply can’t achieve this if you’re using multiple disparate solutions.
Reviewing your IT processes is not so much a conversation about your system; it’s a conversation about process and change. And you have to take your users with you. They must truly engage with the process and change their ways of working. Because if they fail to use the system correctly, the endemic problems they create will be difficult to weed out.
Above all, to get the most out of the review, you must approach it with an appetite for change.
RedSky’s Strategic Review can help you to optimise the configuration of your system. Our expert consultants can help you to improve your efficiency, governance and business resilience – as well as your ability to spot and resolve issues going forward.
ABOUT SIMON HAGUE
Simon has been a construction IT specialist for more than 30 years. Throughout that time he has focused on developing and delivering enhanced support services to construction companies and contractors across the UK and Ireland.
A member of the Senior Management Team since 2013, Simon was appointed Head of Account Management in 2020, with responsibility for customer relations. Over the years he has introduced many innovative approaches that have been welcomed by customers, including the RedSky User Group and a ground-breaking portfolio of Managed Service options for RedSky products.