I started implementing cloud apps for businesses in 2010, when I left my job as an accountant at the humble age of 22. Back then there were only a handful of Xero integrated apps, and the term ‘cloud’ was only used to reference those fluffy white things in the sky. The landscape of Xero integrated apps has changed a lot over the past six years and I have had the opportunity to set up apps for over 300 businesses. Of these, approximately 100 were using WorkflowMax.
Over the years, my team and I have developed a system for implementing cloud applications that delivers consistently great results. I was invited to write an article about conducting a business analysis for a client looking to migrate to WorkflowMax. I hope you find it both educational and enjoyable.
How To Do A Good Business Analysis
I generally follow five key steps when doing a business analysis prior to a migration to WorkflowMax, or any other cloud application. Before we look at what these steps are, it is important to understand why we take the time to do an analysis of the business.
The primary reason is to determine whether or not WorkflowMax will be a good fit for the business. It is essential to take the time to understand their entire process from start to finish to ensure WorkflowMax will meet all of the business’s requirements. We often find WorkflowMax will do 95% of what they want perfectly. And for the other 5% we need to think of creative ways to adapt their process to the software to make it work.
To be a top cloud integrator you need to not only be proficient with the software, you also need to be an excellent problem solver. This is something that comes with experience.
Step One: Understand Your Client’s Background
The first thing I always do is look at the client's website before my meeting with them. It is a great way to get some background, and people are always appreciative when you take the time to look at their website.
When I first meet with the client, I ask them to tell me about their business. This is an open ended question that usually uncovers a number of follow up questions. When understanding the background of their business, you want to know what exactly the business does, what systems they are currently using, how many staff they have, what pain-points they have, and a myriad of other information.
Step Two: Get To Know Their Current Process
After we have done our pleasantries and I have got a general background on the business, I like to get right into the detail. I ask the client what their revenue streams are, or what type of jobs they have. For example, a security company may have install work, maintenance work and callout work. You need to understand these three types of jobs all the way from first contact to final invoice.
As the client is explaining their process to you for each type of job, you need to do two things: Take notes, and at the same time, visualise how the process would fit into WorkflowMax. You need to picture how the quoting will work, how the jobs flow through the stages, what custom fields will be needed and how they invoice. While you are doing this, you are trying to identify any part of their process that WorkflowMax may not support.
Step Three: Review Quotes and Invoices
Once you have run through the entire process of each job, you will need to review each document the client sends. The main ones are their quotes and invoices.
This is to determine whether they can quote out of WorkflowMax, whether they need to continue quoting using a Word document or whether they should consider an app such as Quotient. Only about 50% of my clients actually send the WorkflowMax quotes, but still load quotes to capture the job budget for reporting and billing purposes.
Reviewing their invoices is the most important part of the analysis. If you can’t invoice out of WorkflowMax, you won’t be able to use it. This is the one thing that is nearly impossible to create a workaround for. Fortunately WorkflowMax has very good invoicing capabilities. My recommendation is to review the invoice documents the client currently uses and make sure you can get all the fields to display using a WorkflowMax template.
Step Four: Understanding Reporting Requirements
Understanding the client's reporting requirements is extremely important, because if not done adequately, the project can go wrong. If the client is used to receiving reports from their previous software and you find out part way through the project that it can’t generate the same reports, you can expect the relationship to face some challenges. As far as they are concerned, you recommended the product!
If they have complex reporting requirements, it is a good idea to make sure you can in fact generate the reports they need from the Report Builder. If you can’t build one or two of them, you generally find the client is happy to go without after considering all the other benefits of WorkflowMax. Trust me, it is much easier to have the reports conversation before they proceed, rather than two months down the track.
Step Five: Demo & Summary
The last step is to provide the client with a walkthrough of the proposed process in a WorkflowMax demo. Encourage your client to ask questions, because at this stage we are now trying to finalise whether WorkflowMax will be a good fit for them, and if so, that they approve of the proposed process.
Once the demo is completed, I discuss the points that may not work so well and what my plan is for a workaround. If they are happy with the proposed solution, I talk them through our process for implementation and discuss our fees. The client generally needs a week or so to make a decision, so I book another appointment for a week later to make the final decision and get our quote signed off.
After we have completed the business analysis and our quote is accepted, we get the project underway. A project takes three months from start to finish. The first month is for the data collection and setup, the following two months are for support and additional training. We’ve found this is the best way to deliver a great result that is most cost effective for the client.
The whole Link Solutions team is very passionate about business and how technology can improve the lives of business owners and their staff. It is truly incredible once you tap into the true potential of working remotely using cloud technology.