As part of OWL’s core mission to help businesses become more profitable with technology we find that software often falls squarely on the cost savings side of profitability. Although our software development experience is far and wide reaching it is commonly the removal or automation of manual processes that we look to achieve with software. Since labor is often one of the highest costs businesses face there is always clear opportunity to increase profitability by removing unnecessary labor. Does this mean that we are in the business of killing jobs? Not necessarily! While it is possible that we can automate someone right out of a job it is unlikely. What more likely happens is that a good employee is repositioned into a position that provides more value and involves more thought than their previous role that was repetitive enough that it could be automated.
Build vs Buy
One step we always take is to determine whether it makes more sense for a custom to look at a system available on the market that may already do what they need done. Although we take a wide variety of factors into consideration the largest deciding factors end up being related to the number of users of the system and whether or not the available feature set meets up with their existing needs. While many cloud hosted systems do scale to 10’s or 100’s of users without issue they often have pricing structures that are based on the number of users and costs can escalate very quickly.
Why Choose OWL
Although OWL has and continues to do many things in the world of technology Software has and always will be a core component of our business and it often informs how we do business in many other areas of the company. Our founder spent his early professional years as a software developer and has almost 20 years of industry experience in building and developing software systems of all kinds. We believe that well built and placed software creates efficiencies that you would never see in a non digital world and that these powerful systems are helping propel the world forward one bit at a time.
Types of Systems
At the root of every business is a series of processes that is done repeatedly. Well managed businesses use software to keep track of and enhance the performance of these systems. This often entails tracking orders, inventory, fulfillment, shipping, etc. to be sure that things are done when and how they were designed to be done. When correctly executed these processes can make or break the profitability and future success of a business.
Important in all business but more specifically the MOST important thing in service based businesses. If you are a service business that Time is #1 metric by which you operate. You are agreeing to provide a service for a customer either at a fixed cost or an hourly rate and in either case keeping track of the hours that you put into that work and being able to tie it back to the sales revenue associated with it gives you a clear picture about the viability of the client, project, or employee that you are looking at. Properly tracked time data can help make for easy push button invoicing and payroll and with our custom time tracking solutions you don’t have to pay an astronomical amount every month as your team grows.
In many cases our client engagements start with building system integrations between disconnected systems that share some elements of the same data. It could be a payroll system that doesn’t push data into your accounting system. A POS or E-commerce system that isn’t directly feeding sales into your accounting system. Time tracking systems that involve manual reporting of time entered each week to then be re-entered into a payroll system, sometimes involving math or calculations and sometimes just a direct transposition.
Good data makes for good decisions and custom developed dashboards are the perfect tool for making sure that you and your team have the right data to make the decisions that need to be made on time. A well thought through and designed dashboard simplifies a series of various points of data for one or more systems into a visual tool allowing you to see the picture you need with little or no interaction.
Scheduling problems involve a combination of understanding the human problem and applying math and/or testing potential solution scenarios to derive the most efficient schedules. The same technology can be used schedule physical goods, human resources, and data processes. Scheduling with custom business rules tend to be some of the most difficult and highest ROI projects that we accomplish with custom development.
As a business grows and collects data about past performance and current trends it becomes much easier to make increasingly more intelligent decisions in regards to purchasing and scheduling. These decisions can save a business serious money in making sure not to over or underbuy physical goods or labor. Through the use of various statistical analysis models our industrial engineer friends have developed formulas that provide a view into the proposed future. A mix of historical data and current trends could be the difference between a black or red year.
Employee & Customer Portals
Self service portals are helpful in eliminating repetitive tasks that HR and Accounting departments often loath. With a security first mindset we build custom portals that allow for Employees and/or Customers to log in and access the data that is relevant and available to them without interrupting the workflow of anyone else. This results in less room for human error and an overall cost savings in labor.
Surveys & Forms
Sometimes data collection and analysis ends up being a lot more complicated than a simple google docs form can handle. Many of the complex surveys and forms that we develop not only take in a variety of inputs (some of which are conditionally shown based on previous answers) but then the systems analyze the inputs and provide an immediate output to the user or the recipient of the data being collected. These systems typically save significant time and provide cleaner data when compared to manual data entry of collected data.