Start by making a list of the tasks that you perform. Examples include: accounting, payroll, billing, customer relationship management, event management (e.g. sporting fixtures, theatre bookings, class and tutoring schedules) and sales (e.g. sports uniforms, art works and training courses).
Then, using this module, other modules in the course and the video case studies, decide the applications and features that you need. Be sure not to rush into this; take your time and evaluate your options thoroughly.
As you examine each application, think about:
- Aligning features closely to your business. Just because particular technologies are popular does not mean they will necessarily improve your organisation. For example, cloud computing may or may not be a good fit your organisation; you will be in a better position to decide this after studying that course. Choose only technologies that will make your organisation more efficient, attract more members/customers, offer more value, etc.
- Migrating your data to new software. Will the software you choose meet your current and future data processing volumes and can it grow with your business? How much work is required to migrate existing data to your new systems?
- Training for you and your team. Find out the differences between previous systems (automated or manual) and the new system. What needs to be learnt, what training is available and what the likely time and cost is.
- Potential challenges and how they can be addressed. These can include issues that your employees or customers may face – e.g. new fads and fashions that may impact on your business model – leading to a change of strategic direction.
Case Study: Recreation Sector – parkrun Australia
Small businesses like parkrun Australia have grown enormously using a balance of offline and online tools to engage their members and implement their business strategy. As Tim Oberg explains in this video, "parkrun Australia started in 2011 with just a single event on the Gold Coast and 100 runners. Now, less than three years later, we have 61 events around the country and almost 100 000 registered members of parkrun Australia". They achieved this by implementing "a really good online experience... from a newsletter to social media and everything in between".
Case Study: Arts Sector – Helen Perris
Helen Perris, singer, song writer and music teacher, identifies the individual needs of her business by engaging and interacting with her fans on a number of different levels, including social media, web presence, email and YouTube. As Helen explains in this video, "the only way I figured out how to differentiate my channels was by using them, so don't be afraid just to get out there and give it a go. I took a long time to settle in to each channel".