Who owns your Management Information System?

Whether it’s our house, car or even our appearance, we tend to take care of the things we own.

This feeling of accountability – of looking after the things that matter to us – is also important in the workplace. Employees want to succeed at work and take pride in the tasks that they are responsible for, whether delivering excellent service to clients, or making a good cup of tea for colleagues.

Devolving ownership of MIS systems to your workforce, therefore, has multiple benefits. It will mean a better, shared understanding of what the system is capable of and how it can be used to the full. It also means that staff take personal responsibility for maintaining and nurturing the system, to make sure it works effectively.

So, when you introduce a new MIS system to your business, involve your people in the process. Find out what your sales production, operations and finance managers need. What were the shortcomings of the old system? What would make their day more efficient? What would help their team to improve performance?

The system that they help you to choose will be one that they feel comfortable embracing. And, in the long run, their ownership will lead to a more positive working environment.

The challenge of change

Staff will react to proposed or actual organisational changes in a variety of different ways.

And for everyone who embraces new technology or processes, there is likely to be another who finds it challenging, upsetting and may dig in their heels and be blind to the wider benefits to business.

It is up to employers to guide staff through any changes that affect them, communicating what is happening to each individual, outlining the value, and demonstrating an understanding that there are challenges to face.

It is about ensuring every member of staff is a part of the change, and is willing to change with it.

But what about those who still refuse to accept what you are trying to achieve? Employers need to make clear, strategic decisions to drive their business forward and cannot afford to indulge negative self-interests.

Those that cannot adapt to new ways of working may be better off no longer being a part of the business. It is up to you to guide your staff through the challenge of change – and to take tough decisions about who is on your team.

The greatest investments don’t cost a thing

Having spent lots of time out and about meeting business leaders since the start of 2012, SMEs seem to be enjoying buoyancy and optimism compared with the bigger players and public sector.

It’s a shame that so many of these ‘good news stories’ are overlooked by the media. The picture I get, travelling around speaking to UK manufacturers, is often so very different from what appears in the papers and online.

Often this is as much about having the right attitude to business. The bosses that do best are those that look to the future and plan for growth.

A constructive spirit and a confident approach are the greatest investment you can make – and they don’t cost a thing!

Business fortune favours the brave

Forward-thinking businesses are looking past ‘recovery’ and shifting into growth mode… so take time to look at the bigger picture before cutting costs across your business.

Some enterprises are doing well right now, and it’s not all down to belt-tightening. So what are they doing right?

One of the key things successful SMEs are doing right now is identifying areas of their businesses that are underperforming – and tackling them head-on.

It’s no good shrugging your shoulders and pinning low conversion rates and poor sales on the big wide world. In doing so, inefficiencies in the workplace are handed a golden opportunity to languish.

Instead, take a long, hard look at the figures versus your people and your systems. Identify areas that trigger niggling doubts and resolve to take action.

You might well decide to take the bold step of investing in new systems or bringing in new blood.

Before committing to large-scale spending decisions, it pays real dividends to gain impartial advice.  Too many businesses end up throwing good money after bad because they swallow the sales pitch on new IT systems, only to discover it’s not the right tool for the job.

Meanwhile, it’s relatively easy to get ‘more bums on seats’, but will doubling the workforce of one department really translate into double the performance?  If you’re prepared to invest in business growth, you deserve to do well.  To make sure you do, invest in the right advice.