If you are reading this, like many others, you’ve maybe been running your business using Outlook without much thought as to what benefits the alternatives might bring. The status quo is either free or has a minimal monthly cost and, OK there might be a few wobbles, but most of the time it’s working well. There are always a few challenges, for example, as the number of emails increase Outlook might not be as fast as it used to be, but so what if it’s cheap or even free? After all…
…why try to fix something if it’s not broken?
Rather than just considering the downside to a change, the chances are you will be surprised at the scale of the upside, the value that can be released. It is certainly worthwhile and costs nothing to take a closer look. Although a move to industry specific software is not for every organisation, for some it can make the difference between a good and a great year.
Definition: industry specific software is any digital solution created for a particular market or industry. It is designed to meet the needs of companies within the same industry, often having fairly unique operational needs and allowing access to often unique features whilst avoiding the expense of customised software.
For example, CompassAir develops messaging and business software for the global maritime sector. In addition to clients moving to us from other specialist providers, we have a very significant number who made the move away from Outlook. Since doing so they have seen substantial improvements, primarily from a significant reduction in time spent reading, replying to and filing emails. The informal feedback we have indicates the weekly time saved runs into hours, not surprising given McKinsey’s observations that up to 28% of our working week is spent using email.
However, probably the most important benefit has been in the way that teams have been able to collaborate. This has the obvious knock-on effect on profitability but, just as important, there are the less tangible benefits arising from more efficient, team based working, including reducing stress levels in the workplace.
Having the right tools to do one’s job clearly contributes to less stress in the workplace.
By way of a very simple example, a small shipbroking company with 10 users who joined us had always experienced tension around the time of the Summer vacations. With each user working within their own Outlook “silo”, a major push was always required to ensure the incoming emails of absent employees were covered in some way. This needed the foresight to forward emails, letting colleagues review them, arrangements which take time and effort to organise.
There was also the added danger that a potentially lucrative deal, where speed of response is critical, was missed. In the past, many users felt this risk was too high and considered it essential to regularly check emails whilst on holiday. This Summer, with shared mailboxes and improved collaboration, we gather the holidays were a bit more relaxed than before! Not only that, this particular client is convinced one especially valuable deal would have been missed had it not been for NotifyMe and ShipLink – software from CompassAir that is able to read emails, storing information contained in them and then it updates your vessel database.
|Outlook Pros||Outlook Cons|
|inexpensive, familiar and easy to use||harder to update and manage|
|suitable for small amounts of data||search speeds deteriorate significantly|
|readily available help and guidance||possibility of “application pauses”|
|software integration widely available||sharing documents can be demanding|
|Industry Specific Pros||Industry Specific Cons|
|sector related features available||potential hidden soft costs|
|easy to find email delivery delay function||training likely to be required|
|time and effort saved using automation||time and effort needed to get to know|
|currrent and historic data easily available|
|your competitors are probably using it|