Most people I meet like the idea of doing exciting innovative projects.
But most of the time these very same people are simply bogged down just doing the work.
Just one example of a big piece of work can be budgeting for labor.
It involves answering questions such as how many people will be needed next year, what jobs will they need to be in, and given the payroll budget, how to spread it through the organization.
Not that leaders will often know this. Many leaders are often blissfully unaware of how much work is involved when, for example, it’s a retail chain with stores across the country each with its own staffing needs. People just manage to get the work done thanks to their skill in accessing data from different systems, manipulating data in spreadsheets, and managing a stream of emails to different stakeholders.
But…something’s changed. We are now seeing specialized labor budgeting and analytics technology that is designed to make the whole process faster and more reliable.
Instead of spreadsheets, relevant data can be pulled into a common database that serves as a single source of truth for the budgeting process.
This technology becomes particularly useful when you are running multiple scenarios. If after doing your labor budgeting, the leadership says they are now expecting sales to be 4% higher in the eastern region, you can re-run the analysis quickly, not redo half the work.
Tools that can help with various aspects of labor budgeting and analytics include Axsium’s Planara, Opus, and Quorbit.
I admit it: I’d never heard of this before
I admit it. I’d never heard of labor budgeting and analytics software until recently.
I imagine many leaders haven’t either and may not even be aware of the problem, that is, aware of how time-consuming the labor budgeting process can be.
Meanwhile, the person doing the work may also be unaware of the available software and may not feel it’s within their mandate to find out.
We must all be alert to what’s new in our area
Given how important tech is to all aspects of the business, there needs to be a process within each department, whereby employees with an interest in technology keep an eye on new solutions in their area.
Tech is just too fast-moving not to have a few people who are keeping up to date.
Ask yourself how your department keeps track of new technologies that can have a positive impact on the work. If there are no mechanisms, then that’s something you ought to address.
If you are relying on consultants to provide guidance, be careful which consultants you choose. Consultants are often biased by their love of new tech and the financial rewards of being involved in implementation.
My own feeling is that you have to have reasonably strong tech-savvy in-house so that you can make the best decisions on whether a new tech is just what you need or whether the current spreadsheet-based solution is still the best option.