Back in 1994 Microsoft ran an advertising campaign with the strapline "Where do you want to go today?" full of cheerful kids, stirring music and screenshots of Microsoft Excel v5.0.
"Listen. This stuff that we make… it's powerful. It makes you powerful. Take it. Gather up your ideas, run with them, make trouble and good things will happen. Make some mistakes. It doesn't matter. Just do something amazing."
The Internet wasn't really much of a thing back then. I was busying myself at the time running an online number plate search system for the DVLA and creating a few small websites for local businesses and schools. But with only 0.25% of the world's population using the Internet, it was more of a backwater than the 'everything everywhere' we're used to today.
In 2016, around 40% of the world population had an Internet connection, and it has become a way of life for almost everyone I know.
From static pages to portals to chat rooms to Content Management Systems (CMS) to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, we have seen it all grow and grow. People are now using the Internet to release themselves from the tyranny of old business software. And it's all as exciting as it ever has been...
Where once we would be approached by people with a single idea ("I've got an idea for a website…") these days we more often work with people that see real opportunities for innovation in their businesses and want to use the Internet and 'the cloud' as a means of unlocking their organisations' potential.
But where to start?
There are systems out there that offer us the world at varying costs - open source, small players, big players and planet-sized players. You can view a demo, sign up for a trial and take follow-up calls from slick sales representatives keen to sell you the moon on a stick... even if you need neither a moon nor a stick.
A prospect approached us a few months ago with a clear idea of what he needed from a CRM system to transform his company in a single stroke. He wanted the system to be 'right first time' and believed (still believes, maybe) that once the system had been created, he wouldn't need anything else, ever. At our first meeting it became evident that the clarity that he thought he had was only a starting point, and he has gone away to do some more thinking.
But back to 'Where do you want to go today?'
Without resorting to clichés ('How do you eat an elephant?', 'Even the longest journeys begin with one small step', etc), I believe that one of the most effective things you can for your business is to do something today.
Without doubt, the technology is out there but you might need some help from people that understand both the needs of growing companies and the tools/systems that are most useful for your current and future needs. Thirdrock has been building web-enabled business systems for more than 20 years. Our consultancy and development processes allow us to create customised, scalable, secure cloud business systems that will unify your data, team, processes, workflow and reporting.
Start small, but start today. With a conversation, not another online demo.
If your business is growing, you may already recognise the need to put a CRM/cloud business system or other custom software in-place. If you are finding it increasingly difficult to work from your existing systems and need to find a better way to manage your organisation, please contact us to find out how we might be able to work together.
Footnote: 'Moon on a Stick' bathbomb available from Lush Cosmetics, if that's your bag.