It's no secret that at Growthwise we are advocates of Cloud Computing. We have transferred well over 150 clients to the likes of Xero, Workflow Max, Paycycle, Vend, Unleashed, Capsule & GeoOp to name a few as well as educated our clients on the use of things like Yammer, Box & Dropbox. So I thought it best to give you a little insight into WHY we started looking at some of these systems.

Growthwise is still a fairly new business. We will celebrate our 3rd birthday in July this year. We started out all guns blazing and setup a system that we had previously used. The system was picked mainly for its Document Management capabilities. It meant that we had to purchase a server with more grunt than we would normally have needed (which obviously equated in more cost) not to mention the $20,000 setup fee for the actual software and training. Despite this cost the system was very stand alone meaning we were forever double handling data. We had to transfer names from one system to the other. We have to transfer client's data from one system to the other. We had to continue to download software updates and patches and ensure these were updated on our systems after hours. We also couldn't access any of our data on mobile devices like our iPads or iPhones. We were dealing with an archaic system that certainly didn't help with our productivity.

So off we went searching.

In the last three years we have trialled countless systems. We have pushed these systems to the limit, asked the support teams hundreds of questions and constantly asked ourselves internally how we could use these to improve our own systems. The 1st system we implemented internally was Xero (and paycycle). We were old MYOB users and were used to having to enter all of the data in. Implementing Xero saved us just over 40% of our Internal Accounting time and we now had our weekly payroll down to a record 1 minute 37 seconds! We also had access to our data from anywhere which meant we were naturally looking at our results more. When you see such improvements to your own internal process it's only logical that you start telling EVERYONE you know.

But it was really more than that for us. Utilising the wonderful Xero ecosystem we started testing other add-on systems and partners. We started using Capsule CRM to record all of our external partners such as Bankers, Insurance brokers, IT technicians, Lawyers etc. We could add correspondence we had by adding an email address to the emails we were sending and had a central place for information. We could also add tasks for follow ups and any other detail we had.

That led us to look at Workflow Max. We were obviously fed up with our internal Workflow Management system and needed to look at something that integrated with Xero. We started a trial and basically fell in love. But it wasn't just the fact the software is cloud based and integrated to Xero that we loved. It was the fact that we were looking at our own internal processes in an entirely different way. Accounting software (like many other Industry specific software) tends to be rigid. It tends to only allow you to operate in a certain way. You are basically dictated how your business should run. When you start looking outside the square to different software solutions you realise your own business is not being run in the optimal way. Workflow Max allowed us to review everything we did and make improvements. It also cut down on data entry time, gave us access anywhere anytime and allows us to give suggestions that actually end up in the product.

The next step was to start looking at other systems our clients could use. We have implemented Workflow Max for our clients in a range of Industries including Architecture, Media and design. We have implemented Unleashed for clients with inventory systems, Vend for clients who need POS systems, GeoOP for clients in mobile workforce situations. All of these systems allow you to be more efficient, give you real time data to make accurate decisions and in all of the cases so far add profit to your business. And best of all.....they are all integrated, meaning no double data entry.

Our own journey to Cloud Computing started over two years ago and has completely transformed the way we do things. We can now jump into our clients Xero, Vend, Unleashed, GeoOp files as an example and give them REAL TIME feedback. When we have discussions about how the business is travelling both internally and with our clients it's with up to date and accurate data. It's giving small business better software than larger competitors.

With the new Financial Year looming it's a perfect time to start looking at ways to improve your internal business processes. We've tried and tested AND implemented many systems for our clients. And we want to keep spreading the word to other small businesses that can benefit as well. If you know a small business that would benefit....or are interested for your business let us know. Over the coming weeks we will post a little more on the other internal systems we are using and how they are of benefit to us.

We have also shared our love for Workflow Max via video :)