The next six weeks are a critical time of year for my best clients.

While lesser companies simply move to auto-pilot during the summer, the leaders use the slower summer months as time to build a critical advantage.

It’s true, the office is a tad quieter as many of your key people are out on vacation at some time during July and early August.  The folks that are there are either rushing to wrap things up before leaving for a week or two, the recent returnees are digging out of piles of backed-up whatever it is they deal with. Your customers are facing a similar situation – all over the country, meeting rooms and conference tables can’t move big initiatives forward because the easiest decision is to decide not to decide til (fill in the blank) comes back.

In the technology world, we’re going to have several consultants – usually about 20-25% of the crew – wrap up a project that they’ve been on for some months. And as it’s tough to get our client companies to decide to start something over the next few weeks, we’re going to end up with a few software consultants with time on their hands.

Rather than let these guys sit on the bench, we turn them loose on assessment work – they’re incredibly smart, by definition, they spend their time with the latest technology in the most aggressive corporate environments on earth implementing the top solutions – and they see exactly what works, and what turns into a huge mess of marketing spin gone digitally wrong (when we have to go in and clean up someone else’s mess).

So while it’s a tough time to get something big done – summer is a great opportunity to assess where things are in your company, and start a bit of planning.

Specifically, summer is when our best clients bring in a software consultant for a week or so to review current systems and recommend future improvements.

  • We do a full-transactional review, department by department. Who’s doing what work with which systems, how many are being done and how long does each take?
  • Of the software being used, what’s the future for the software vendor of that technology?  Is the software vendor actively developing new functions and improving the product? Or are you the last one using an unsupported system that’s in it’s final stages of useful life?
  • What’s the growth plan of your company?  Will the current system support that growth?
  • What are the alternatives?  Where are the hot technologies really catching on? Cloud, Mobile, Apps, – if you were starting the business today, which would you pick to give you the best advantage?
  • Will your current IT infrastructure support the next generation of technology? It’s a lot easier to start building capacity step by step than find yourself suddenly in a dead-end spot requiring a hastily planned and highly disruptive complete IT replacement and rollout.
  • ROI – is there a financial reason to make a change or stay in place? Where are the costs, what’s the payback?

As you can see, it’s external expertise that you’re looking for. Your IT Manager can tell you if your current systems are running effectively from a packets and load balancing aspect. That’s not what you’re looking for – you need to know if what you’re doing today is competitive with other leading companies, or if there’s another emerging software technology that’s truly a better mousetrap.

Summer evaluations also give you the recommendations and reports in hand, when your management team comes back in full force from some time off. That gives you several weeks to strategize and prioritize prior to starting the fall budget cycle for 2014 capital improvements.

What? You said don’t mention budgeting because that process is an absolute nightmare?  We’ve found this new budgeting software that you might be interested in…..

Seriously – if you’re interested in taking your company on a summer vacation to Strategic Advantage (it’s right next to The Wonderful World of Disney-sized Profits) you may want to make a reservation with your software consultant in the next week or so.

You can reach gh@genehammons.com even when he takes a couple of weeks with the family in Newport Beach this year…