The Focal Point Blog // Business Strategy // Dave Annis // June 9, 2022

Pretty Results and Ugly Processes: Are Home-grown Tools Holding you Back?

Digital services companies are typically born because a small group of people have a point of view on their craft and an ambition to solve challenges for their customers.

Founders believe they have the winning approach and can be effective at meeting the needs of the market – usually through heroic efforts. Success begets success and growth is the reward. But as these companies begin to scale, the need for tighter operations and solid processes are paramount for a happy, healthy, growth-minded business. 

In the beginning, small and tight-knit teams can easily share information about the business and its clients. Whether sitting around one figurative or literal table, they don’t need a lot of tools or processes to deliver great work or to know where the business is headed. But that shared knowledge and ability to act efficiently gets far more difficult with more people, more work, and the need for more tools to run your business. 

So what do you do? A common approach as businesses grow is to tap the same creative talent tasked with delivering solutions for clients to build an internal tool or process. In-house teams are tasked to build apps for timekeeping or project accounting, for example. Or they create a fragile array of spreadsheets to track business performance. YOU become the client because there’s an efficiency in the DIY approach. “We solve these problems for clients everyday. Let’s just carve out the team’s time to create something in-house.”

I get it, I’ve been there. But it’s a trap!

Diverting billable resources to internal projects not only has the immediate and obvious financial impact of lost revenue, but the internal work NEVER gets the priority, bandwidth, or attention it needs. It’ll be approached in the cracks of time between billable work and the rigor around delivering an innovative solution just isn’t the same internally. You’re left with either a fragile array of spreadsheets, a wonky process, or a skimmed-down version of a technology that will only create loads of technical debt as you have to maintain it down the road. Not to mention more non-billable staff to maintain these tools. Plus, you’re typically looking at a less-than-ideal solution that can actually hinder the employee experience as more people join your team. Trust me, it’s a brutal reality check when top-talent assesses the tools and platforms you use just as much as any other part of a potential job offer. And I’ve seen people walk if the tools aren’t there…

Focus on what matters and what sets you apart

The ability to succeed in today’s environment requires tight processes and operational rigor. But no one is hiring you because you run a great sales forecasting or resourcing meeting. Clients come for great work and creative solutions that you deliver. But the conundrum is this: operational and procedural best practices ARE what enables this great work at scale. 

Ask yourself: are your homegrown tools and disconnected spreadsheets enabling a healthy operational process? Or are they pulling your focus from delivering great work? 

A better approach

Parallax exists to help digital services companies establish, embrace, and support a high-impact operational cadence and maturity model built for scale. It was born out of decades of experience growing our own agencies and development shops (and also struggling with home-grown tools and broken processes) and a leading product advisory council of industry experts who use our solution every day to drive business growth. And Parallax is much more than a great tool to free you from a fragile array of home-grown tools and ad-hoc spreadsheets. It creates a shared perspective and an actionable outlook on the supply and demand of your business. We do this by seamlessly integrating with the leading tools you already use across CRM, time keeping, and resource management, but also by helping you develop and maintain that cadence for long-term success. 

In other words, Parallax is built to help you run a better sales and forecasting meeting – or a more actionable resourcing meeting – and to deliver better operations and business insights for strategic growth. The combination of that operational rigor our tool is built for, and our expert team who champion for those healthy habits, can unlock the potential of your people and your business. 

Want proof? Check out how these digital services companies grew revenue, saved time, or forecasted with confidence because of Parallax. And then let’s start a conversation on how small but significant changes – with the right tools and processes – can help your operations mature and drive business growth.