System performance is one of those problems that exists in just about every company I have ever consulted with. It might be your ERP, it might be general networking, it might be an integration to that home-grown system that you built like a million years ago—but you absolutely cannot get rid of. I like to think of the system performance issue as that “and for everything else there is Master Card” commercial. It is really difficult to put a true ROI or determine what it costs you.
System performance can have a much greater impact than just the time and money it costs your business. It can have a serious impact on employee moral. When employees view your systems as having performance issues they are often times less motivated to complete work, they may complain and create a negative team moral, they may use it as an excuse to cover up their lack of personal performance, just to name a few.
Additionally, systems performance issues may be a sign of security issues among your systems. This can lead to even bigger problems long term if they are not dealt with accordingly.
So this leaves the questions of "What do you do about your performance issues?" Where do you start? There are some things you can do on your own to help identify the issues.
1. A survey is a good way to gather feedback—but be warned that this can be a slippery slope as well. If you don’t plan to address the issues that employees bring up, employee moral can drop even further.
2. Another option is to consider using key stakeholders as the communication point for performance issues and gather and document issues through them.
3. A third option is to use a “friendly” resource to shadow and observe employees throughout the company to observe and document the performance issues. This is a great option to consider because you can often times find “silly” business processes that cause processes to be more difficult or training issues where people are not trained to complete a task as the business process is designed. You can almost think of this as a self-business process audit.
Once you have gathered the information about the performance issues you can begin categorizing the issues and addressing them. If you don’t have the expertise, time, or resources to make the required changes, consider outsourcing this to your partner.
One of my colleagues has written a detailed blog article about the importance of IT Health Checks. You can read the article here.