Tech holds sway, but it's a bit fractured!

The way we all work is changing. Twenty five years ago, did you even have an email account? And how many emails do you get a day at the moment? 60? 100?

Also these days, the web is ubiquitous. Not so, even a few years ago. This author's favourite old timer's tale is recounting when I printed out on 8 sheets of dot matrix A3 paper in landscape, a list of all the websites in the world. There were about 8,000 of them, one per line, albeit in an 8px font. The year? 1992.

A3 printer paper
Remember this stuff, young 'un?

How much paper do you use in your office, compared to electronic documents? Clearly here at igeek, being a techie company, there's not a lot of the physical papyrus. Compared to 20 years ago, paper has all but disappeared from many offices. At igeek, instead of paper, we use Google Drive, Slack and of course, FileMaker. But more on the latter a bit further on.

Speaking of offices, are you actually in one? The emergence of home working and hot-desking has transformed the way we think about the workplace. As long as there's an internet connection, many of us can pretty much work from anywhere.

Road Warrior
Road Warrior. Working from anywhere. With extreme violence.

So, technology shapes how we work and where we work. But because it's all pretty new (let's say only 25 years old), tech has not yet matured into an efficient unified system that completely empowers us. The organisations we come across often use a mixed system of paper, Excel sheets, Word and Google docs, Access databases, the web and that old favourite, people's memories.

The result of this multifaceted working style is often inefficiency. In order to achieve a simple task, such as create an invoice, staff may have to go through quite a rigmarole. One of our clients, we discovered, does the following:

  • refer to a paper Purchase Order from their customer
  • open a shared drive on the network, locate the client's dedicated folder and create a new subfolder
  • create a new invoice in Word, using a template in a different location on the shared drive
  • email the invoice manually in Outlook to the customer, copy and pasting in the same stock text from a document on the user's desktop
  • finally, file a copy on the shared drive in the new subfolder

Doing that twenty times a day is enough to send anyone straight to the water cooler to skive off for half an hour, just to regain a bit of sanity!

Water Cooler Chat
It's skiving.

What we at igeek tend to find is that the more mundane, repetitive, inefficient and, nay, brain-damaging a process is, the more likely that it can be wildly streamlined by the application of some bespoke software.

Yes, every organisation has the option to sign up to an expensive, off the shelf system like SalesForce, but not only do such systems tend to be expensive, but your organisation will have to change to accommodate the software as it's presented. The alternative is to sign up, then pay a lot of money (£1000 a day, anyone?) to have it tweaked so it's fit for purpose.

The advantage of having something written made-to-measure is that the final product will be suited to your organisation and the way it works.

But developing custom software doesn't come cheap, right?

Actually, igeek build custom apps for organisations of all sizes (one man bands to giant NHS Trusts) that are low cost. Surprisingly so, in fact! We use a development environment called FileMaker. FileMaker runs on PCs, Macs and iOS devices, and it's very quick to create working software in a relatively short time, compared to traditional coding methods.

How is that possible? Well, a great deal of the heavy lifting of development is done by FileMaker. Great graphics, layouts and many procedures are taken care of by the development programme, meaning that systems can be built in a fraction of the time you might expect.

In the small print of a website of a mobile app development company who shall remain nameless, lies the following gem: "Most mobile apps cost a minimum of £50,000 to develop." At igeek, we developed (for the Royal Derby NHS Trust) a mobile app, central database and a web view onto that database for a four figure sum. Read about it here.

So, while technology has shaped all our lives and affected our workplaces, the fact remains that a scattergun approach to tech may be more of a hindrance than a help. By commissioning unique, bespoke software, your organisation can free itself from much of the day to day grind.

While we can't promise a boost to the mental health of your workers, we hope you'll be able to regain a little sanity! Please contact us for a free, no obligation chat, meeting or call. We promise you'll be surprised at the speed of your return on investment. Plus, geeks we may be, we do speak plain English.

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