GM How Integrated is Your Operation

How Integrated is Your Operation?

From Military Integration to Digital Transformation

In the 1950s, the military used the term integrated when referring to its efforts to bring the races together within each of the services. The results were both groundbreaking and slow to yield changes in behaviors.

In the 1980s, the military used the term integrated when referring to its efforts to open up avenues of service to women. Through the next 40 years, the integration of women expanded to women being allowed to compete for and serve in nearly all branches and communities of service. The change was too slow, but the impact on the force is undeniable and remarkably positive.

This message is about adopting, incorporating, and embracing digital integration in your business operations. By digital integration, I’m speaking of ways you may automate the movement and usage of otherwise stove-piped information within your company.

Growth and Growing Pains

I am certain that this message is already landing with audiences differently depending on one’s age, digital fluency, risk tolerance, and paranoia about digital hygiene. If you are locked into a government bureaucracy slaved to a specific Microsoft Office and its suite of products, you can probably stop reading here because nothing I say next will help you other than to show you there is hope. For those not in government, the Microsoft Suite and Google Workspace offer many low-cost methods you might not be fully aware of.

It’s common for companies that grow quickly to fail to grow their processes to suit those companies’ newer sizes. The result—wasted time and talent.

If you are not using automated features to manage routine workflows, you and your people are wasting precious time. Saving one hour a week per person across a one-hundred-person company is the equivalent of two full-time positions. Imagine if each of your people could save ten hours per week?

Automating for Efficiency

There now exists a cottage industry capable of helping you analyze your digital workflow, simplify and automate tasks, and categorize and prioritize information. Who in your organization is responsible for wringing out inefficiencies? It’s likely that no single person is accountable. There are so many options available to help you, but you may not have the bandwidth to evaluate which help and which just cost.

When learning the basics of shipboard management as a young Ensign in the Navy, the mantra was to “touch the piece of paper once,” meaning just that. Forty years later, the concept remains fundamental—how many people need to see or touch information that moves through your company?

Some tools you might consider to get you started:  

  • Google Workspace (it has features you are not using)
  • CRM and email integration to include your work email, not just marketing emails
  • Zapier can automate, link, track, and follow actions
  • Make can automate across work flows
  • Microsoft Power Automate
  • Tableau and Google Analytics to track behaviors
  • If This, Then That (IFTT) applets that synchronize across platforms
  • Workato allows flow across cloud services and the Internet of Things
  • Integromat allows visual expressions of data drawn from multiple platforms
  • Tray.io allows trays of information to be moved via drag and drop across hundreds of platforms

The key to this list is not to dismiss the names out of hand. You might think you’re using appropriate tools. How would you really know? Artificial Intelligence is changing for the better with each passing day. Embrace this reality. AI is not a thing like in the movies; consider it a mindset. Are humans doing tasks a machine should do for you?

It’s not too late to implement a 2024 “integrations” line of effort that might save you big money. While revenue growth is always impressive to admire, don’t miss the small opportunities that can add up to actual savings.

For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring® Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.

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