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By Ed Weisberg
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 and 2020 created new challenges and opportunities for corporate data systems. As workers decamped to their basement offices (or corners of their bedrooms), our IT departments frantically modified systems and processes to enable their continued productivity. Collectively, we’ve done systems modifications to enable the change in working environment that we never thought possible in such a short time. However, in the process, we’ve cut a lot of corners. Applications may not be as efficient as they could be. Spreadsheets have become part of our core processes. We probably ignored security holes which are keeping us up at night, as we worry about data breaches. We’ve ignored planned systems and data-centric projects that were on the agenda for 2020, but have fallen by the wayside. However, on the positive side, we’ve discovered more effective ways to do things that we never thought of before. New opportunities to become more efficient in our business processes have reared their smiling heads! Great news! We can build on this scaffolding as our organizations change in the coming months.
It’s time to take a deep breath, step back, and look at our systems… the good, the bad, and just the plain old ugly. We need to review what we’ve done, where we’ve compromised, and develop new plans for enhancements. Do our various platforms (MRP, CRM, Accounting, etc.) still talk to each other the way they should? Have individual employees built their own spreadsheets that should be integrated into our business processes? Our customers have cut us some slack due to COVID challenges, but will they continue to be so forgiving? Now it’s time to get ahead of their needs and improve our customer-data insights, delighting them before they start second guessing us.
How can we build on what we’ve done? And as we run in circles keeping these fragmented systems operating, how will we find time to become more effective? Our most recent survey of IT professionals shows that approximately 70% of respondents have said that the changes in work patterns during the Pandemic have resulted in an increase in the number of IT projects for next year. In addition, 74% of respondents plan to outsource some amount of their IT development, mostly to gain specific skills.
AnswerPoint is a company that can help you. AnswerPoint has a team of hard-core data developers, along with visionary strategy consultants which enables us to holistically help you audit your system changes, fix your databases, while at the same time, help you envision data transformation projects. Without disrupting your business, AnswerPoint can immerse themselves in your processes, present best-practice solutions, help define your strategies and direction, and implement the improvements you need. We can convert the new processes that your team has created into AI and Machine-learning applications to free up time and focus. And equally important, we can firm up any security holes that have emerged as workers have done their best to jury-rig business solutions, before any breaches might occur. And of course, we can help you sleep again at night!
Let’s have a conversation. We can help by quickly assessing the risks and opportunities that 2020 has created for your data and systems. Perhaps it’s not as bad as you might think! And wouldn’t it be nice when we discover that the frantic efforts in 2020 will result in major improvements in businesses in 2021! Here’s to a prosperous new year!
-Ed Weisberg is VP of Sales at AnswerPoint. You can reach him at Ed.Weisberg@AnswerPoint.com