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We have always done things that way around here March 8, 2013

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Office, Training.
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We have always done things that way around here.

In 1984 the CEO of a large tubing company asked me to conduct an audit of all of the business forms used within the company. I presented my findings by surrounding the boardroom walls with over 70 printed forms, many of them multi part sets, where the estimated print costs ran into the then tens of thousands every year. Copies of some multi part forms were filed, one by date order, one by customer order and one by numerical order! This was the way things had been done for years.

What he had correctly assumed was that the business, and the processes in the background had generated a life of their own and he had effectively lost control of something that he could not effectively see.

You may well ask, what has this got to do with today? Quite a lot I would suggest, in order to control things, people put in place systems, processes and controls, and as mentioned in an earlier blog, Excel can form part of those processes and controls. I think it goes deeper than that, management can often not see deep into the organisation and really understand everything that is going on and without effective Business Intelligence will continue to be in the dark.

As was the case with the tubing company, debtors did not know that despatch department made a photocopy of all customer invoices and filed them in a range of new filing cabinets that rivalled those found in accounting. It was noted that these copies were seldom if ever referenced once they had been filed away.

I am regularly amazed in my CRM consulting when I am told “We have always done it this way” and where there is little scope, interest or stomach to change or look differently at certain things. I have been undertaking analysis for over 30 years, my few grey hairs coupled with my experience of big business always alerts me to dodgy practices, and it pains me to say, some of the things I see today are just as bad as when I was starting out doing process analysis in 1983.

Sometimes it is a good idea to stand back from the business and take a long hard look at what you are doing. Maybe ask an independent person to assist. Another pair of eyes may see things that you just cannot see and perhaps some things may need to be changed. It may well be time to challenge those who continue to cling to the notion that “Things have always been done this way around here”.

This is blog number 8 in the series “The more things change the more they stay the same”.



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