Why Move a Paper Process to a Web Application
2 min read
Topic:Automate Business Process
If you are frustrated because you can’t get reports and information about your business fast enough to make decisions or respond to customers, you’re not alone. Many companies find that their enterprise business systems are designed to be repositories for transactions and not to deliver actionable information to managers and decision makers.
As a result, your team sets up alternative systems outside the ERP or other IT systems. These side systems may be spreadsheet based or they may be sticky notes stuck to a monitor, or scraps of paper scattered on a desk or hanging from a clipboard. Whatever form the informal system takes, the one thing all side systems have in common is that your team can’t share data that’s scrawled on scraps of paper or locked away in a spreadsheet on someone’s PC hard drive.
This makes your staff is inefficient. They go through the motions of entering information into your business system of record, and then they record the same data to their sticky note system. They frequently forget to update one or the other, and they make errors. The basic systems information starts to diverge, and eventually, nobody knows what the real status is. In addition, the process is cumbersome, with no defined workflow, business rules, data validation or approval processes in place. Chaos ensues.
Worse yet, management doesn’t have accurate information about the status of the business. Workers struggle to create reports from a hodgepodge of notes and bits of paper, or they argue about whose spreadsheet is correct. When you finally get a report, the information may be outdated, and it almost certainly will be inaccurate. The information in all the reports you receive is suspect, and you might as well flip a coin to make decisions because you know you don’t have any real facts to base them on.
Your informal, paper based system is subject to disasters, and there’s no backup for information scribbled on the back of someone’s hand. If a key status update goes through the laundry in the pocket of a pair of pants, it’s as much of a catastrophe as a major flood wiping out your data center.
Furthermore, your staff moves around. They travel to visit customers and suppliers, or they go home at night and on weekends. There is no mobile interface for the scraps of paper shoved in the desk drawer that comprise your manual system. When you or they need information and someone is out of the office, you’re out of luck.
Streamline Your Process with a Web Application
The solution is to move your manual process to a custom web application based on ASP.NET and SQL Server. Since the application is custom written for you, it maps to your business process exactly, giving your entire team maximum efficiency and productivity. Most commercial applications suffer from feature bloat where the software vendor is trying to be all things to all people. In contrast, custom web applications are cost effective, because you only pay for the features you need, not a bunch of processes designed for other industries or larger companies. And best of all, you can access web applications from any device with a mainstream browser, so it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling or sitting at your desk or relaxing at the ballgame. You always have the information you need right at your fingertips.
Unlike standard, off-the-shelf applications, custom web applications present your company’s information exactly the way you want to see it — formatted, sorted and presented to make it simple to see at a glance exactly what’s going on in every area of your business. It’s easy to make decisions when you have the information you need to support you. You know the information is correct, because the solution eliminates human error and enforces the business rules and the approval process that you defined. It wasn’t defined by some programmer who doesn’t understand how your business operates. Right away, you know whether you’re on target to meet your strategic objectives, and if not, how to get back on track.
Custom web applications based on ASP.NET and SQL Server are the solution to the chaos and confusion of manual paper based systems.
To learn more about the importance of eliminating human error in your operations, please download the eBook titled "How to Automate Business Process in 7 Smart Steps."