Goals. We all have them. Whether officially defined or not, there is something we are striving to achieve. The problem is that we often just don’t have time to spend on the activities that can lead us to achieve those goals. In my decade of working with tribal governments and tribal enterprises, I hear story after story where great goals (goals like improved tribal member service delivery, better operational and financial insight, etc.) have been on the table for years without much progress being made. The reasons are always the same: we get caught in the whirlwind of everyday tasks and there just there isn’t enough time or budget. Ask anyone why their business goals were not achieved and you can pretty much guarantee that time and budget, or the lack there of, will be one the main reasons. This is especially true in the world of technology and the goals we have around automation and process improvements.
Evaluating the cost (both time and money) of any technology project will always be important, but what is often forgotten is evaluating the cost of doing nothing. How long can you afford to continuing making decisions on month old financial data rather than real-time and forecasted financials? How much staff and space costs will you continue to waste storing and sifting through decades of paper records? How will you ever be able to spend focused time addressing key tribal member concerns when you spend two hours a day manually approving paper purchase requests, budget amendments, and employee time cards?
Cloud based technologies like Office 365, Intacct, and Dynamics 365 are making huge strides in reducing the time and cost for technology implementations. By eliminating the need for capital outlays of server hardware, traditional software licensing, increased staffing, and all the time required to set that up, cloud based technologies become operational subscriptions that can be implemented in much less time. This allows you to get more done with those time and budget constraints that we can never escape.
Too often the time and budget we don’t have to spend on technology goals can only be freed up by putting in the technology we don’t think we can afford. The question becomes, can you continue to afford to do nothing?