Effective Information Flow

If you’ve ever experienced any sort of growth then you’ll probably have information islands. It’s a natural consequence of having to make tactical solutions to immediate problems. It’s hard to be focused both on growing a business and making sure that the systems and processes to support the growth are in place. Which is why it’s worth taking a step back and looking at what you can do to make your business operate more effectively and be more scalable.

This isn’t rocket science, it just requires some honesty and pragmatism from everyone involved. It shouldn’t be about efficiency savings, allowing you to reduce your headcount, and this needs to be made crystal clear to all involved if you want their buy-in. Rather, it should be about giving your existing team the capacity to handle more work without having to put in crazy hours or have a nervous breakdown. Wouldn’t it be great if you could add 20% (or even 30% or 50%) to sales without hiring anyone and with your delivery and customer service teams being less stressed?

So, how to do it? Please head back to our exercises if you haven’t started them already. Exercise 1 helped you to identify your islands, so you began to have an idea of where the issues are. Exercise 2 helped you identify the flows between the islands and which need improvement. These will help you understand what you are trying to achieve internally – to form a blueprint for information consciousness. Next, think about information flows external to your business, as described here. Exercises 3 and 4 will help you here, adding more to your blueprint.

Now we need to look at finding the solution. The next post will look at how to turn that blueprint into some technical requirements, and what actually do you need technology to do for you and how. Spend time doing the exercises – they will help you produce a concrete, prioritised set of functional requirements from which you stand a good chance of answering the question “what systems do I actually need?”.