17/03/2014 08:52 GMT | Updated 17/05/2014 06:59 BST

Fit for Business: Is Your Organisation Hydrated?

It is clear that the changeover to a digital age is not only altering the way we communicate as people, but also the way businesses function. As part of this change, there is one challenge that remains for businesses looking to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity. A great deal of companies continue to rely on out of date processes that stifle potential, the equivalent of an underperforming dehydrated athlete versus an over achieving hydrated athlete.

The electrons in a dehydrated sportsman fail to communicate, producing below average results. Whereas if the same athlete was correctly hydrated the communications within the body would react with optimum results. This is a clear differentiator between winners and losers and isn't too dissimilar to a business, successful or otherwise. Without the correct software, the business is 'dehydrated' and fails to produce optimal results. Businesses are coming to terms with this and understanding the importance and benefits of 'hydration' with the implementation of integrated business management solutions to streamline the flow within the body of the business.

So, what do I mean by 'business hydration'? It means hydrating every process possible for maximum productivity. For example, Lanson Communications, a multi award winning public relations and strategic communications agency, was previously relying on out dated processes that drained energy and resources that could be better spent on developing the organisation as a whole. In reality they relied heavily on manual processes, meaning systems weren't communicating correctly and this was down to poor integration and automation.

Lanson's found the weak link in two of their systems - their financials and time recording, the veins of any organisation. These processes were taking far too much time to produce the correct results, having to be manipulated further, before accurate results were produced.

They were using paper-based expenses, which created extra work for its staff. Someone would have to approve each expense and then have to input it into the accounts system. By bringing that process online with integrated business software, information is sent directly to accounts and then to the bank for payment. In my view, a more streamlined process was required as they were previously printing reports and manipulating data in Excel.

Staff would then be faced with inaccurate sub totals in different columns. Integrated business software can pump the data straight out in the format that best suits the company, thereby simplifying their work.

But just like the chemistry in each person, businesses share a similar formula because no one business is the same. In turn, this means that each organisation needs a slightly different recipe for maximum results.

Lanson Communications hydrated the organisation with integrated business solutions. The combination of new finance functions and an online project portal created a seamless flow of information between finance and the wider business. Online project portals allow casual users, such as Lansons' creative staff to easily enter timesheets and expenses.

Customisable forms give the flexibility they need to capture the data while reducing the administrative burden. Once information is entered into a projects system, workflow forms can route the information through to the next stage in the approval process - with as many levels as necessary. Management can then get instant information on project profitability.

Within three months the organisation noticed the benefits of upgrading and automating their business processes. The teams were fit for business, and were able to get information to their client teams much faster, and the accounts team spent less time running reports.

It was clear that the company would benefit from software that could hydrate processes and feed the data into the organisation's nervous system, with automated results.