The modern, flexible business needs a modern, flexible system

“Why do you need a dedicated desk?”
That’s a question that, fifteen years ago, wouldn’t have been asked. I’ll admit, when it was first posed to me twelve years ago, I was slightly taken back. I had just opened up Gamechangers’ first office and one of my contacts had dropped in to see the new digs, and to wish me well.
“What do you mean, why do I need a dedicated desk? This is where I work!”
That was my gut response to him then, but having twelve years to consider, I’d like to revise my answer.
This is a modern, flexible, working environment. It’s not an environment our father’s fathers would have necessarily recognised. If a job used to be a job for life, we also used to have a certain amount of pre-conceptions about what “working” meant. It was nine-to-five. It was up in the morning, punch your clock, and come home for dinner.
Does that really sound that familiar anymore? I mean, setting aside whether you think the changes are good or not (and that’s a conversation best had over a couple of glasses of wine) does that even sound like how most of us engage with our workspace anymore?

The times they are a changing

Or better yet, they’ve changed.
The modern, flexible, working environment that most of us are now engaged takes a different approach. Think of the business you’re in now. How many people have the opportunity to work from home? How many people work at a hot-swap location where they can simply plug in and go? How many work remotely on the go as they travel around the country?
Technology has been a big driver for this. Working from home…working remotely…it no longer requires any real IT intervention or expenditure. You don’t need a dedicated line installed. You don’t need special equipment. I travel a lot every year and as long as I have a phone, and internet connection and a computer, I’m basically in the office.
Notice I didn’t say MY computer. I said A computer.
Of course it’s nicer to have my own computer with me. It’s got my movies and it’s got my photos of the kids. But I don’t actually need it. I can log into all of my vital systems and access all of my vital information from any computer that can access the internet.
And that’s been a game-changer (ha!) for a lot of businesses.

Where is that IT money going?

Now this is going to look like I’m bashing IT departments. And I’m not.
In fact – I think that every business needs some sort of resource (internal or outsourced) who can really take charge of its IT strategy so that more modern practices can be implemented. A good IT department is worth its weight in gold, but a bad one can end up costing you a whole lot more money.
A lot of that goes down to infrastructure. These days, the idea that most companies need on-premises servers is pretty much obsolete. That’s no to say that there aren’t some companies who will need them, but with secure online file systems like Citrix ShareFile and online productivity software like Citrix Podio…the vast majority of files and system information is stored in the cloud.
Secured.
Available anywhere.

Why are you locking yourself into how other companies do it?

This leads me to the next part of my argument for a modern, flexible, system: why should you lock yourself into working how another company thinks you can?
If I think about the development of online software systems over the past, say, thirty years, I’d roughly break it up into three types of software development:
Phase 1 – Custom Development
The first phase is how most companies (larger ones at least) had to get into the online system game: they hired a company (or built a team) to design and build a bespoke system. Now the advantages of this approach was obvious: they got the system they wanted. The disadvantages were huge: cost of development, cost of maintenance, cost of servers, cost of IT teams…and a slightly less tangible cost to update (a lot of companies we meet are stuck with old legacy systems that look like they come from the 1980s and cost a ton to update with new features so they don’t bother). Summary: Expensive, Bespoke, Slow, Clunky
Phase 2 – Standardised SaaS Systems
The move to SaaS systems really changed the game for the whole market. Suddenly we had a whole bunch of standardised systems available to companies on a low, per-user, cost. This brought online systems into the realm of possibility of the SME company, and this really revolutionised how smaller companies worked. The advantages of a SasS system were huge: No development, no hosting, no server, no IT teams. The downsides, for most companies, were well worth it: Minimal customisation, minimal feature control, reliant on an internet connection,  (for the most part), relatively small per-month costs. Summary: Cheap, Not Customisable, Someone Else’s Problem
Phase 3 – Customisable Platforms
This third phase is the phase we work in at Gamechangers, because we build systems using a flexible platform – Citrix Podio. That means that we build our systems from the ground up using a set of tools within our hosted platform. This approach has all the advantages of Phase 1 and Phase 2, with very few disadvantages. We can build completely customised scalable systems in as little as two weeks, and our clients don’t have any of the IT, server or hosting costs associated with a bespoke system. It’s the best of all worlds – completely bespoke software delivers on a SaaS model.

So why does customisation matter so much?

Simple:  your business is unique. It doesn’t work exactly like any other business. You have different processes, different people, different business models and contracts….you name it. Your business is made up of a thousand different things that make it unique.
SaaS systems don’t really play like that though. Sure they make a nod to customisation. Most of them will let you change a field name or what the options are and how they are displayed, but they all have a certain defined way of “working”.
It’s up to the company (to your company) to adjust to how the system works. You have to change to fit their processes.
And we think that’s insane.
In our modern, flexible, working environment, a system should be there to enable our needs, not force us to adapt to its needs.

Work how you want to work, where you want to work, when you want to work

Our clients want to work faster, smarter and more efficiently. They want to see what they want to see and not what they don’t. They want to measure KPIs without being moored down by complexity and reporting confusions.
That’s where we come in. We use Citrix Podio to develop bespoke business systems for our clients. Theses systems are 100% bespoke to their individual needs. We spend a lot of time learning about their business and their processes and we design their system to augment the way they work, not to reframe them into another process entirely.
That means that every part of their business is available to them wherever they are, whenever they want, We can integrate CRM functionality with production management. We can automate financial processes and integrate them with leading online Systems like Quickbooks Online or Xero. We can ensure that each department passes information and projects across to each other efficiently and we can make sure that each step of each process is discreetly monitored in the background.
Unlike off-the-shelf systems, we’re not bound by what has been developed. We’re not confined to just CRM or just Event Management. We can build anything and, more importantly, ensure that they are all linked together to make for a smooth and collaborative company-wide engagement.
Don’t believe me? Here is what we’ve built in the last 12 months:
CRMs, Sales Pipeline Management, Project Management Event Management, Education Management, Inventory Tracking, Financial Management, Resource Bookings, Customer Service Tickets, Email Management, Phone Call Integration, HR Functionality, Holiday Calculators…the list can go on for the rest of the page.
For each of these companies, the most important element is this: each of these elements are integrated into the same system so that information is shared. This is how a modern, flexible, working environment should work.
It’s not within everyone’s reach. Just drop us a line.

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About the Author:

Jordan started out life as a degenerate musician and, for his sins, ended up as a respectable businessman. He's still slightly confused, but a far happier man. Jordan brings a creative flair and an uncanny ability to spot new opportunities - which makes him a good candidate to invite out for lunch. As MD of Gamechangers, he leads a team of people developing innovative business systems for ambitious companies.

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