We all know what SaaS is – Software as a Service – a revolution that has managed to bring software to almost every tech savvy business and is benefitting each one of them through automation of various processes.
By eliminating hardware infra need and thus drastically cutting down on capex spending, SaaS has been a boon to businesses that wanted to automate and become more efficient. In addition, a monthly low bill instead of a one-time humongous one fits in with any business comfortably.
Now of course, there is a SaaS product for almost all areas of business, for every kind of process that is common to all businesses – a lowest common denominator of business processes, if you will.
What do I mean by that? Because SaaS products have to cater to businesses of all kind (to cover the costs in making a SaaS product), they obviously choose to work on mainstream processes of the business, things that are common to all. They will NOT cover many small and not so important parts of the process that together end up taking a lot of time. Those are often the parts that's are done via spreadsheets and emails. Wouldn't it be great of these processes were also automated?
Secondly and most importantly, they also choose the most common way of doing things – not necessarily the best and definitely NOT something that is specific to your business.
When that happens, often you have to change your way of doing business, leading to underperformance. Or you have to opt for costly and time-consuming customisation, which helps but only partially as readymade products are often not very customisation friendly.
Thirdly, SaaS products are often designed for one mainstream process or another. They are never meant for the complete business as a whole. That leads to spending on multiple systems which only increases costs but also leads to a problem of fragmented operations once again leading to inefficiency and also, fragmented reporting/view of the business. Of course, to remedy the situation will mean spending on integration – further costs.
So, what does one need instead – one software that is custom made to fit your way of doing business and covers most of your processes, including small ones.
Your business processes are a reflection of your culture just like your habits are a reflection of your personality. Just like your habits, your processes have been formed over a long period of time due to repetition.
If you are a successful business, that means your processes are actually helping you achieve that success. They are the right fit for your business and they are what define your company culture. And this culture (just like personality) reflects in everything your company does and produces. This is what attracts your customers and your employees to you and helps you maintain a bond with them. Your culture is your brand.
At a more operational level, your processes have evolved (just like human beings, again) over a long period of selection and elimination – all those processes that led to failure were ultimately discontinued or modified to those that led to success. And then the successful ones improved over time becoming more knowledgeable, capable and complex (like human beings). Basically, only the best processes have survived.
These surviving processes are the ones that work for you and your company. Your clients identify you with them and your employees are used to them and carry them out efficiently like they would any of their own habits.
Changing these processes could then lead to a disaster that could be tough to control. It could alienate your customers and employees alike. It could lead to a revolt in some cases where the change is too much and they might find the change to actually hinder their work causing them to be inefficient and mistake prone.
Given this scenario, why will you like to change your process just for the sake of automation? Such an automation will cause your business more harm than good.
Isn't it then better to have a custom software on the cloud?
Yes, not all processes, just like not all habits, are likely to be good. Yes, such bad and harmful processes need to be identified and improved or eliminated. But as we know, just like habits, these processes are tough to change and can be changed over time. If at all something needs to be changed, it should be made part of a plan (or a strategy) so that there is a sense of purpose in trying to change.
However, the new automation has to be specific to what your new process ought to be and not some general process not suitable to your business.
This shows that Custom Automation is the best way to automate the working of your business, provided it is affordable and fast.