6 digital tools that keep my company in business during the Corona crisis
For many companies, the Corona crisis leads to massive breakdowns in critical work processes. These are my recommendations for 6 digital tools to help you keep your business running.
The day the Danish Prime Minister announced that society went into lockdown to fight the spread of the Coronavirus, it was a radical change for my company.
It probably was for yours too.
As CEO of a medium-sized Danish company, I must admit that I could feel the cold sweats as I had to tell my employees they had to pick up their gear at the office and prepare themselves to work from home.
A thousand questions popped into my head every time I had a moment to myself.
Would we be able to keep our momentum? How will this impact our customers? What about the sales processes? What about our development of TimeLog? How will the employees react to this?
Everything was one giant "oh sh…t" experience.
Digital maturity prevented a catastrophe
Fortunately, most of my worries were put to shame.
My employees have held the fort across all teams. On all metrics available to me, I can't see a negative change in productivity and momentum anywhere in the organisation.
Even though I am proud of my employees and want to praise them for their high performance, their engagement alone doesn't account for the whole explanation.
We were also saved by our digital setup, which has enabled us to continue to run our business at the same speed.
Focus on increasing digital maturity
Throughout the past two years, we have decided to increase our digital maturity as part of becoming a more mature and well-tuned organisation.
Through close cooperation with American SPI Research, we have solid documentation that proves how higher maturity levels - including digital maturity - directly affects performance in every aspect of business.
I highly recommend you to download the SPI report and our Executive Summary and take a deep dive on the numbers.
Today, TimeLog is directly inspired by the results in the report and considerable research work by the leadership team.
A few reservations for my recommendations
TimeLog is a SaaS company, and our digital setup will not cover the needs of any company.
But I have tried to focus on the systems I believe most knowledge companies (consultants, advisors and others selling their knowledge) can benefit from.
So let’s get started with one of the most important things first; Communication.
1: Internal communication: If you only send e-mails, you’re in trouble
One of the best digital investments we have made in TimeLog is introducing a digital tool dedicated to internal communication.
This investment saves us right now.
Not only does the team do online video aerobic on the platform (watch the video below, if you do not believe me), the communication also takes place in the proper forum, is extremely easy to manage and allows video conferences + simple file sharing.
We use Microsoft Teams. Slack is also a good solution. And there are many other good alternatives on the market.
No matter which system you look into, you and your team must be able to:
- Chat 1-1 or do group chats
- Organise channels for specific communication
- Make video calls and conferences
- Share files EFFICIENTLY
I still encounter companies that are all into e-mails for internal communication. And only e-mails.
I haven't followed up on all of them since the crisis started. But I can only assume that a lot of tasks is falling between chairs, because important information and handovers get lost in endless mail threads in numerous inboxes.
In our current reality, this simply doesn’t work.
Recommended system: Microsoft Teams (See reviews on Capterra).
2: Business process management: How to slice the cake
What do your employees do, when they don't know or cannot remember the correct way to do something? And they cannot tab on their colleague’s shoulder and ask for advice?
The answer could be, that that they don't perform their task or make up their own solution.
If they do the latter too much, you can't develop common best practice processes, because your work processes will point on too many directions.
This takes us back to the maturity argument and the conclusion in the SPI report. Well-developed processes secure better performance across teams.
Again, do yourself a favour and download it here.
To meet the challenge related to home-made solutions and missing knowledge about how the work processes are, we have entered all our business-critical processes in the Gluu platform.
In this way, the employees have access to an internal process library at all times. The can always consult the library if they are in doubt about how to do a specific task, and we can maintain the quality in our processes. Also when working home-based.
Recommended system: Gluu (See reviews on Capterra).
3+4: Time tracking and invoicing: No yellow post-it notes for our bookkeeper
All bookkeepers recognise the situation when a colleague sticks a post-it note on the screen with a message about somebody needs to receive an invoice for some amount.
Or they receive a 2-month-old forwarded e-mail, where the customer requests an invoice.
We haven't had situations like these for several years in TimeLog. And in these times where liquidity is something we should protect more than ever, you don’t want them to take place at your company either.
Especially when you can't use yellow post-it notes online.
A three-day process cut down to only a few hours, and we make sure to invoice everything.
Recommended system: TimeLog (See reviews on Capterra).
5: Customer management and sales: CRM is a must-have right now
In TimeLog, we use HubSpot for both marketing and sales purposes, even though our system has a simple built-in CRM module.
Especially in the Sales team, the system helps us through the Corona crisis.
If we could not follow the progress in customer dialogues, automatically manage incoming leads and distribute them to the sales consultants or track the value-creation on new leads and sales processes, we would be in deep trouble today.
With HubSpot CRM, sales operations today has not changed much.
The sales consultants can see their follow up tasks in potential customers, and I have a complete overview of our pipeline.
Recommended system: HubSpot CRM (See reviews on Capterra).
6: Project management: Everybody is up to date on the plan
With an organisation working home-based, you risks that project tasks are not completed and deadlines are not kept have increased drastically.
This makes it crucial to control projects in a good project management tool.
We use a combination of TimeLog and Microsoft Planner for our project management.
TimeLog helps us control the project progress, resources and project finances. From the general outline to the small sub-tasks, we can plan and manage the projects. And we can follow the created value continuously.
At the same time, the project workers (and key operators) also need a tool for the more detailed task descriptions, checklists and communication to make good handovers.
Here Microsoft Planner has proven brilliant for us and a perfect supplement to TimeLog.
Recommended system: TimeLog + Microsoft Planner.
TimeLog helps you for free through the next 30 days
I have tried to list the systems I imagine can make the biggest difference for your company during the Corona crisis.
Of course, we use many other systems, and we also use TimeLog in a lot of different ways to keep our business running throughout the crisis.
For instance, we have structured all our work in 3 weeks sprints (Scrum), where the team leaders can easily follow up on the exact time consumption compared to what we planned. It helps us to ensure coherence between what we plan in our teams and what is actually completed.