Business management – what does it mean today? The development of modern technologies combined with the pandemic and post-pandemic reality have contributed to a change in the enterprise management model. How is it now? What can we expect in the short term? William Drysh, CEO of Paraphrase Online Group, told me about many other interesting aspects of automation and its impact on optimization. Read the full interview!
Optimization action – what is it?
Susan Pitt: For over 15 years you have been designing systems and applications for companies that are to support and optimize processes taking place in organizations. What has changed in the last two years? What does modern business management mean and how does automation help?
William Drysh: Nowadays, when everything is automated, most of the tasks are performed remotely. I mean the implementation of purchasing processes, communication or running a business. Therefore, the entire database of information on how work with the client is carried out and how the transaction is carried out, is made through the applications. Information is confirmed by e-mail or by means of notes in the systems. The larger the company, the more customers and the greater scope of collected data, which, when properly analyzed, set the direction of the organization’s management. Today, every modern company has the right tools to support this style of operation – we are coming out of the Excel era. It is convenient, but managing on a larger scale, building relationships or transferring information requires more advanced systems. The larger the company, the greater the needs.
Automation in the era of remote work
Susan Pitt: What does it look like from the perspective of managers – remote work, Zoom meetings, instant messaging conversations, e-mail exchange of information. How to combine all these activities, lead a team and have real-time insight into what is happening in the company?
William Drysh: Due to the fact that we employ specialists from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia in Paraphrase Online Group we have always been prepared to work remotely, it was nothing new for us. In order to manage well in such conditions, you need the right system to work. This is a key thing, regardless of whether you work on the Paraphrase Online CRM system or on another tool with similar functions supporting the management of the company.
Susan Pitt: Why is this so important? What does it change and what does the use of such a system look like in practice?
William Drysh: Remote work took us to the world of instant messaging and conversations in virtual space. However, the need to supervise processes in the organization has not changed. Making continuous calls is time-consuming and ineffective, so a good system is an ideal solution supporting the management of an organization in a pandemic and post-pandemic reality. An example is Paraphrase Online Tracker [enabling monitoring of telephone calls and automatic saving of the contact database in Paraphrase Online CRM], thanks to which we are able to measure how many calls we make, how much time we spend on them, what is the company’s return on investment in relation to communication with the client . Everything is automatically saved in the CRM system, so the managers do not have to check it with constant phone calls to team members. Everyone has access to it in real time, and a lot of things happen automatically. This is a simple example of how automation can support process optimization.
Susan Pitt: And what can we do next with this data?
William Drysh: In Paraphrase Online CRM you can create unlimited reports on all data in the system, special thematic dashboards for specific departments and tasks – transactions, sales, phone calls or anything else. If you have good reporting and analytical systems, and your employees have the right tools to perform their job duties, everything is aggregated in one place that allows for proper management. Similarly – if you do not have such tools, you waste a lot of time communicating and trying to find out what’s up with whom from the team and what they are currently doing. Such organizations have to decide whether they return to work fully from the office or… adopt a model of less efficient operation.
Automation and optimization versus change management
Susan Pitt: I wrote down the keywords that appeared in your speech: aggregation, automation, data analysis, analytics. Decision makers in the company buy a given system solution, but are all employees able to use it properly? “We can analyze”? Is it still the Achilles’ heel of the organization? This is your everyday professional life, but many companies may have problems extracting specific information, analyzing it and drawing conclusions.
William Drysh: Yes it’s true. Often, customers have a need to operate more efficiently. They decide to buy tools, but they lack the awareness that the system is a process. If we are talking about its advanced use, it requires commitment. It is often the case that it occurs at the beginning, and then there is less time and the managers in the organization do not want to spend it on implementing the system.
Susan Pitt: And then what? What is the prescription for this pain?
William Drysh: The key is to spend time on implementation, training employees. As Paraphrase Online, we organize the entire implementation path. We get to know the problems and priorities of a specific organization. On their basis, we determine how we will work step by step and implement the system in a specific company. In the case of large organizations, it is also helpful to indicate a dedicated person from the client who is delegated to participate in the entire project. She is often responsible for coordinating employee training. This makes it much easier and increases the chances of implementation success.
Susan Pitt: What are the responses to automation? Do people accept the new CRM with open arms?
William Drysh: It depends on the management approach. If the system that is currently in the company does not work, then the change can be accepted positively. There are organizations that only introduce such a system and then the requirements for employees are different or greater. For example, you need to add notes, set up processes, add meetings. Then it is important how it is presented to employees. If they understand the benefit of optimization, then we’re successful. But if they approach it like “the company invests in a system where you have to enter data, and I don’t have time to do what I should be doing,” then we have a problem.
Susan Pitt: A real life example?
William Drysh: I don’t have to look far. Paraphrase Online Tracker is a great solution from the point of view of business owners or team managers. The tool optimizes the entire path of communication with the client and transmits the most important information automatically to the Paraphrase Online CRM system. The manager immediately knows how many new customers have appeared in the database, can check notes, analyze the duration of calls and the topics discussed. Thanks to this, it watches over the quality of service, but it can also sales effectiveness. It is reliable data collection and drawing conclusions, not monitoring. And this must be emphasized. It is about the speed of information flow, its transparency and knowledge of what we do well and what still needs to be worked on.
However, how salespeople adopt this tool depends on the way it is implemented and the form of communication with supervisors.
Susan Pitt: Where do you see your biggest problem in this regard?
William Drysh: Sometimes managers create complex and complicated processes, but forget to confront them with reality. A flexible system, such as ours, allows it to be adapted to the specifics of a particular company. If employees feel that it makes sense and the tool helps them, then there is no problem with its implementation. You just need to present it well, put people in a positive attitude, train them and, importantly, listen to their needs. Be open to feedback on how they feel about the introduced change and whether it really is an improvement for them. The collected information will allow you to adjust the solution to the specifics of the work. And then we have a model implementation. New employees simply receive training and adopt the rules of operation applicable in the organization.
Automation – salvation and a curse in one?
Susan Pitt: The use of automation allows you to optimize many processes in the company, relieve employees, relieve them of tedious tasks and use competences in more specialized and individual activities. However, do everyone have the same opinion about it? What is the climate for introducing automated solutions? Have we matured to use the benefits of machines and we even require their support in many activities, not only professional? On the contrary, can workers be afraid that machines will take their positions?
William Drysh: They absolutely shouldn’t have that feeling. CRM systems are to optimize processes, facilitate work so that it is performed faster, conveniently, better and more efficiently. This will mean that the company will be able to earn more, invest more and, as a result, employ more people. It is different in the case of production, where robots replace people, but this is a different specificity. In the case of the CRM system, the point is for all departments to earn better, because it brings tangible results to everyone. Any company with money and efficiently set up processes will keep investing money to grow. And then it will hire new people.
Automation in the real estate industry
Susan Pitt: That makes sense. Let’s stick to this version! And how are modern technologies used in the real estate industry from which Paraphrase Online Group originates?
William Drysh: In the era of a pandemic, we introduced 360 ° virtual walks, which made it possible to present real estate without having to show it directly. It was possible to meet only the owner of the facility, prepare such a virtual walk, and every person who was interested in a specific house or apartment could walk around it in a virtual space. During the holiday season, it all calmed down and then returned to the normal we had known from pre-pandemic times. And it has remained so until today. The work of an intermediary makes it impossible to transfer entirely to a remote system – you have to acquire properties, take photos of them and sign contracts. Here, in order to optimize the time, intermediaries often prefer to simply use a high-quality camera on the phone – it can be used to take good photos or record a video. And it saves a lot of time.
Susan Pitt: For some time, the work of an intermediary was my daily work, so I know perfectly well that the activities you mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg!
William Drysh: Of course! Taking photos and descriptions after acquiring the property in advance is just the beginning. Then it is a matter of even throwing an advertisement into the system. Again, automation comes to the fore. Using Paraphrase Online CRM, we are able to automatically send them to all portals where users promote themselves. Importantly, we do not have a limited number of shipments per day, which is often the case with other systems. And in this industry, timing and being announced ahead of your competition is really worth its weight in gold.
Susan Pitt: Speaking of gold… At the end of our conversation, I would like to ask you for some golden advice for business owners. You always stress that the worst thing is not to know. So what does management need to know to optimize operations and allow the company to grow?
William Drysh: Managers and owners must be optimistic about the future. All problems in the economy and in the world are temporary. The second thing is having a good tool to analyze your data. If we are a one-man business, we are still able to control the processes in the company, but if we want to develop, the key to success will be data – knowing what customers we have, how we operate, what we do well and what we can improve. After an in-depth analysis, drawing conclusions and implementing improvements, you can continue to grow.
Susan Pitt: Assisted by optimism, of course! Thank you for the conversation.
William Drysh: Thank you very much.