Why are IT projects often a hassle?

Managers – especially those with an entrepreneurial spirit – often encounter numerous issues when trying to get software projects off the ground. At Triggre, we regularly meet such managers, and we understand their frustration which stems from the fact that they want to accomplish their IT goals at a pace that their IT department can’t keep up with. But why is that? Why are IT projects a hassle?

A lack of understanding

Suppose you’re a forward-thinking manager with innovative ideas, and you ask your IT experts to adjust or develop something you consider to be minor. Their response? “That will take three weeks – at least.” You don’t get it. This should be simple, so why are they making it difficult? The long wait doesn’t help either; it only widens the gap between you and your IT people. The result: a mutual lack of understanding.

Other interests

If you’re depending on an external IT supplier, their interests differ strongly from yours. They don’t want to empower you to a level where you don’t need them anymore. Their business benefits from returning customers – which is why they want you to come back and ask them for solutions. At Triggre, this is not an issue, as you can realize your ideas independently. This means our success depends on our customers’ success – a very different approach than most software companies opt for!

New insights

As a manager, you gain new insights every day. Your IT experts, however, don’t offer room for these. They dive into an idea for six months, and once they present you with the result, your vision may already have changed fundamentally. At times, this can be very frustrating and cost-ineffective!

Insufficient involvement

IT people tend to respond to fresh requests in a very bureaucratic manner. A variety of forms need to be filled out and several meetings are organized, often restraining a manager’s innovative thinking process. As a manager, you can see the urgency or benefits of your idea, but you quickly find yourself bending over backwards to break through a bureaucratic, abstract wall.

Do you recognize these issues that make the realization of innovative software ideas a hassle? And are you tired of them? Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your opportunities. At Triggre, you can create your own software. It’s fun and hassle-free!

3 Tips to Rethink and Greatly Improve your Business Processes

Business process improvement

Together with our customers we have made quite some interesting process changes over the years. I wanted to share some of the most important insights we have gained and give a few examples that might help you rethink your processes.

#1 Simplification

It may seem superfluous to say, but many processes can be simplified. Many companies are doing things the way they do just because they have always done them this way. A good way to start, is at the data that is used in the process. Look at every field of data used in the process such as for example employee number, customer social security number, etc. For each of these fields find out why you need it. If you can’t find out why, simply cross it out.

We have noticed that many times data is used in a process that is needed by law. However, laws change and it is easy to then forget that the data in a process is linked to it. One of our customers was once still storing customer’s identity information while that was no longer needed by law. We changed the process to a much simpler one, which got rid of everything related to the customer’s identity information.

#2 Automation and exceptions

One of the most interesting changes to make in a process is to automate it so that it becomes manageable by exception. This means that most of the times the process is executed, it can be handled completely automatically. Only if there is an exceptional case should a human employee intervene. This may sound a little bit abstract so let me give you a real world example.

A customer had a process where they hired external people on a regular basis to supervise exams. Those supervisors would declare their travel costs and time they spent. All this information was sent by regular mail. The information was then typed into SAP after being checked. Before paying the amount the entire declaration was checked again. This took a lot of time obviously and was seriously error-prone.

What we designed together with our customer is a process that is almost fully automated. From their online exam booking system we get all the information needed to determine the declaration; home address of the supervisor, address of the exam location, the duration of the exam and whether the supervisor was present and the financial information to transfer the money to the supervisor. With this information we use an internet service to automatically calculate the travel expenses. The duration of the exam is used to calculate the declaration for the exam.

All declarations for a month are combined for the supervisor, who can then simply download the declaration for his administration. The declaration is automatically transferred to the supervisor, who has an option to file a complaint if he thinks something is wrong (which is an exception, because most information is provided by the supervisor in the first place through the online exam booking software).

In this example the success rate is higher than 95% which is a good rule of thumb to aim for when designing such processes. You want to be able to achieve as close to 100% automation as you can, but certainly not lower than 90%. The process in this example eliminates a lot of copying of data manually, almost fully automates the process and provides time saving for both the company and the supervisor. Win-win.

#3 – Responsibility and self-service

A final tip on automating and rethinking processes is to take responsibility into account. Some processes require some input from a customer, supplier or employee. It helps enormously if you can design it in such a way that the person who has most to gain, is the one responsible for supplying the information. This creates a natural pressure to perform, which can then be further helped by sending a reminder if the data is not yet supplied after a certain amount of time.

One example of such responsibility is when we designed a process for an educational institute where the participant could indicate his company would pay. In this case, we would send an email to the company asking them to sign off on paying for the education, which would expire after 7 days. This places the responsibility to make sure the employer will sign off right where it is best put: at the participant who wants to take the course.

This step greatly reduced the amount of time spent handling requests, both because the educational institute no longer had to call after the employer, but also because there were far less issues with people trying to get a course paid by their employer without permission.