While all the discussions around Collaboration, Online Databases, Spreadsheets and Google Docs are a great trigger for an initial thought process, they are far away from the realities and challenges that professionals and small to medium business owners face on a daily basis.
Since my last blog post, my interactions with friends and prospects have brought to the forefront some harsh realities of working with regular data and web applications. Let me tell you the story of Jane to start with…
“Jane runs a successful gift store that caters to customers both small and large. As a part of her daily routine, Jane receives orders from clients for gifts (via phone, email, website…) and then assigns the delivery of these gifts to delivery personnel/agencies across different cities. Normally, Jane maintains a mix of paper lists and spreadsheets to track her work and deliveries for a certain week and emails or calls the delivery organization for assigning work to them.
However, lately with a growing town population and an increasing client base, Jane is finding it increasingly inefficient to maintain/update the list & assign/track her work using current methods. Jane needs to maintain multiple spreadsheets for different locations and needs to sort these based on delivery personnel, date, priority, etc.
She then emails these spreadsheets to her personnel every morning and painstakingly consolidates personnel work updates at the end of the day. Consequently, Jane has no access to real-time data and repeatedly calls her personnel through the day to assign new consignments and track deliveries.
In addition, any delivery agency can currently view her complete order and delivery details, may forget to email updates and may even enter erroneous data. Even a trivial glitch such as absenteeism or an overdue or wrong delivery equates to a large amount of rework in all her spreadsheets and throws a wrench in her works.
Jane is dismayed as several deliveries have been missed or delayed and loyal clients are now looking at alternatives.”
What are Jane’s key problems?
- Keeping the order list updated always. Can she update these lists from anywhere/anytime? Get status updates on delivery lists?
- Share updated lists with specific delivery personnel while the team is out on the field making deliveries.
- She wishes to receive automatic mobile or email notifications / get status updates on delivery lists? Is it a BIG ask?
Help !!! How should Jane maintain/track her data lists?
She wonders that even though it’s been decades since the development of Lotus, Excel and Google Docs – why isn’t there a better way to sort the basic need for “Collation”…?
We are working on it...