How does the consumerization of IT impact your business and how you choose to run it?
If the Consumerization of IT and my cup of coffee post didn’t answer this question for you, continue to read on.
When I started Northwest Cadence in 2007, our few consultants kept track of their consulting time in ways that worked for them. They would each report the consulting hours back at the end of the week, and we would compile that data and invoice accordingly. It didn’t take many months of this before we shifted from do-it-any-way-you-want to a simple Excel tracking document whereby consultants could update the spreadsheet with their hours and details of their work on respective days. Although this was somewhat tedious for the consultants and the bookkeeping, Excel seemed to do the trick over the next several months.
We gradually grew out of the Excel document process and moved into using QuickBooks Time Tracker, which could be done from most anywhere (as long as you had an internet connection) and from many devices (as long as you weren’t using an Apple, Android, or 64-bit machine). QuickBooks Time Tracker synched with QuickBooks, so it was an improvement for bookkeeping.
Many of the limitations of QuickBooks Time Tracker were addressed when the much awaited new time tracking product, QuickBooks Time and Billing Manager, was released. We happily shifted again, using QuickBooks Time and Billing Manager to track and manage our growing number of billable hours from various consultants each month. Given that QuickBooks had a dominant presence in the bookkeeping marketplace, their time tracking applications were obvious choices for our business.
However, while we waited for QuickBooks to release updates to their Time and Billing Manager product so it would be more accessible and convenient, smaller companies were spinning up new products that were much better. Not only were the products better; the products were being updated regularly based on customer feedback. Northwest Cadence happily moved from QuickBooks Time and Billing Manager to Harvest, an online time tracking tool that is simple and lightning fast. It’s compatible with just about any device, and is loved by the consultants and the bookkeeper.
The purpose of sharing this story is to illustrate a practical example of how the little guys, like Harvest, can gain a market hold from the established corporations, like Intuit QuickBooks. Harvest and the like can do this through embracing the Consumerization of IT and having faster cycle time than their industry peers.
Companies that can reduce cycle time and appreciate their consumers (employees and/or customers) new, higher expectations will gain a competitive advantage in the industry they serve.