Whilst the objectives are honourable, the reality can mean that back-office productivity takes a nosedive if the wrong tools are used, which leads to an increase in costs and staff morale issues. More and more firms are seeing the cost saving to be gained from back-office software development and automation as a route to staying compliant and keeping costs low.
Here are a few of the labour-saving features we like to see in back-office data systems:
1. Databases Not Documents
Most regulators don’t want spreadsheets or emails pieced together from here and there but too often that’s where the information is hiding – information that should really be structured and stored in a database.
It can be easier than you think to import your existing info to a database system, removing duplicates or outdated records. Once structured, you can update and query information from anywhere with a web browser which leads to big productivity gains and more flexible working.
Company data should always be in databases, not emails or documents.
2. Real-Time Access
Don’t wait until your in-house IT guy gets back from holiday before he can generate the answers you need. With a well-designed and well-built system the right staff members can securely sign-in and pull records at the click of a button, making it easy to maintain data and fulfil audit requirements on-the-fly.
3. Version Control
It’s not just about now. Regulators and auditors are keen on checking past records, sometimes going back years. When your information is not well-structured it can be a nightmare to fulfil historical requests for information and burn days of staff time. Make sure your system has a version control approach that allows you to pull records from any date in the past and put an end to the pain of historical reporting.
4. Audit Trails
You can see something’s changed but who made the edit? Does your existing system track user actions and timestamps for every update? If not you are potentially exposed to accidental or deliberate changes that can compromise your critical company data and erode trust in your systems to an outside auditor. It’s important that all users have their digital footprints tracked to protect them and your company in the event of a problem.
5. Self-Serve Reporting
Pestering IT to create that report you need should be a thing of the past with today’s self-service reporting technology. If your data is well structured in a database then to pull custom reports with a few button clicks should be pretty straightforward to setup. So cut out the techie.
Access your business data from a business perspective and shortcut the time to your next board presentation. Self-serve reporting should be a module in all operational database systems, for the business people not the IT department.
Your Ideal Solution
These are just some of the features we consider when setting up a client back-office system depending on the needs and aims of the project. To find out more about the benefits of bespoke software and our Agile development process, visit the Strategic Apps website.