“… to automate the manual processes in my business”
This is the typical line my clients nowadays are starting their conversations with. More and more business owners and looking for ways to streamline their still-highly-manual business operations. They are looking for an in-house software to automate their manual processes in my business
How do I know?
I’ve been doing this since the early 2000s. It was understandable then. Internet was new to most folks. It’s not supposed to be common now. But it still is. As a tech guy who deals mostly with non-tech laymen, it was my duty to understand, and I still do. If not, I can’t be in this business, right?
You won’t believe the number of companies and businesses which are still employing old-school ways of running their businesses and operations.
I’ll use my latest prospect as an example. This is the requirement:
Client: “I’m not tech-savvy so I need your professional advice as to what can be done and how to do it most efficiently etc.”
I have to digress and say how excited I am to build such automation systems. Been doing it for many customers over many industries. It’s like delivering a baby. Into this world. There was none before. And now, there it is. The feeling is ecstasy. The action, of creation.
So, typically I’ll ask them to tell me the “story”. From my experience, the word “story” is the term that any layman can relate to. It actually can mean some of many things: the business process, the operational workflow, the various tasks of the various roles in the whole system, and such.
But whatever the corporate world wants to call it, the best and common word for ALL of these is “story”. So, I ask them to tell me their current “story”. And they will start telling their “story” just like a story: What the suppliers do. What the drivers do. What the customers do, and so on.
And I’ll be busy taking notes. In my initial years, it was quite difficult understanding the respective industries. I was newbie in the working field.
I didn’t know the airfield industry (while the client was explaining with a chart that looks like a cockpit). I didn’t know the first-aid industry. Neither did I know the bowling and swimming industry. My mind is more open now to how they function.
There was one time, I was carrying my notebook, and walking through various grocery sections in various cold rooms. I was busy taking notes, while the owner walked me through each of their current-procedures, like a story.
Yes, it caused me a headache at that time. But after I went back, and digested the story I had written, it all made sense. And I had a better understanding of how a grocery wholesaler business ticks, from step 1 to the final.
So, coming back to my original rant, I’m sure for many people, looking at the above image, it will cause them a headache. But not so for me. I just love it! It gives me the powder for the gunfire. It gives me the boost hormones, just looking at it. I can’t wait for the client to approve the project, so that I can roll up my sleeve and start planning how excitedly I’m gonna approach this whole project. And then start it.
I guess that’s what people call passion.
Give me a sheet of music notes, and I’ll be wondering if I’m even holding it right side up. Not so for the music enthusiast. I guess God gave each of us their own things to be passionate about. If any of you reading this have not found yours, do try to find it. It just gives you the purpose of life you must be (and should be) looking for.
Anyway, it is a Sunday morning. And that was a good Sunday morning rant for me. Thank you for taking it in. Cheers.
A related article:
A case study of yet another business process automation software that I built.
About the Author
Anees Khan is a software developer in Getcha Solutions, who consults businesses on taking their software projects forward.