We’ve got some great short stories to share with you all! Want to learn what FMYI is and how we’re helping teams track what matters most? Here are nine ways we’re making a difference with our customers.
It’s a big milestone for us today - we’re celebrating our 12th birthday! FMYI was founded on January 28, 2004. From day one, FMYI has focused on collaboration powered by human energy. Our platform was created as a more friendly way for teams to manage projects, track contacts, and share resources. I’m proud to say our team has stayed to true to this commitment, working hard to delight our customers, and is taking our products to new heights this year. Thank you everyone for helping us to reach this big milestone, and for leading us into our teenage years =) Looking forward to celebrating with you!
So you’re tracking your day to day operations by using a spreadsheet. But you have the nagging feeling there’s a better way that’ll save you time and take things to the next level with achieving goals. We’ve got your back. Here’s the top ten reasons how moving from a spreadsheet to a system will help improve your tracking:
1. Retain information over time
- Spreadsheet: When tracking notes over time, you either overwrite history or make the spreadsheet wide and unmanageable to capture the details.
- System: Keep a history of all interactions, easily scaling as you add information over time, and still be able to generate a spreadsheet on demand.
2. Provide accountability
- Spreadsheet: Once details are added, you don’t know who did what and when.
- System: Create great documentation with time and date stamped notes show who did what.
3. Send communication
- Spreadsheet: No emails are sent from a spreadsheet and the only way to communicate is send the whole document.
- System: Alert the right people instantly and to take action as needed for specific items.
4. Control access
- Spreadsheet: Everyone can see everything in a spreadsheet and it’s critical for each person to update the most recent version.
- System: Control who sees what, automatically assigned during import of accounts and updated individually or in bulk.
5. Keep data safe
- Spreadsheet: The sort function can also destroy the data, which can be impossible to repair. The file can also become corrupt or lost.
- System: Only select people can change the structure of the site and safeguards protect and prevent deletion of data.
6. Include all data types
- Spreadsheet: Only simple data containing words and numbers are stored, requiring a separate task calendar, file sharing site, etc.
- System: Organize all notes, data, files, tasks and appointments for each record in one online place
7. Transfer easily
- Spreadsheet: The limited amount of information in a spreadsheet makes is hard to hand off a record from one person to another.
- System: A details trail in a system make transferring a simple, seamless process.
8. Set reminders
- Spreadsheet: Spreadsheets won’t remind people to take actions, nor push appointments to a calendar.
- System: Set one time or repeating tasks to follow-up, and have appointments appear in Google, iPhone or Outlook calendars.
9. Create deliverables
- Spreadsheet: The spreadsheet is your only asset.
- System: You can see on-screen dynamic reporting or create spreadsheets for different purposes, from high level to detailed results.
10. Scale your tracking
- Spreadsheet: Built for data analysis and calculations at a specific time, managed by very few people.
- System: Designed for managing initiatives with many people with powerful searching and generate various spreadsheets as needed.
Did you know about how the education sector is using FMYI? From Michele Snyder, Science Curriculum and Instruction Advisor at the Arkansas Department of Education:
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to use FMYI to conduct a successful collaboration with Arkansas science teachers to create the Arkansas K-12 Science Standards for Grades K-8. The platform you provided allowed for the teachers to work in small teams to review drafts of the standards. This was a confidential place that allowed them to read, study the 4 versions, and make comments on changes for improvements. It also kept the control of the content to me which is important when working with 35 different individuals. This digital collaboration also allowed the teachers to stay in their classrooms. Thank you again and I look forward to continue working with you on FMYI.”
I’ve been consulting with clients to optimize how they “track” their work beyond spreadsheets, to increase efficiency. After work I helped my boys build their trains and I couldn’t help but notice a few similarities:
Select the right pieces to make progress.
Trains are made with straights and curves and the boys pick what they want. Similarly workplaces and initiatives choose what they will use to organize and collect information from their dispersed teams (whether tracking contact details, projects milestones, progress updates, and other essential pieces of data).
Most organizations use massive spreadsheets to track their work for obvious reason. However, can you relate to the challenges of a spreadsheet becoming overgrown, getting wider and wider as your team tries to document over time what happens. And, there’s no way to attach emails, files or tasks that remind people to follow-up. Might there be another “piece” (of software that is) to help you through these obstacles? Many clients select an internal forms in a shared workspace system because adding updates is easier, new information alerts the right people and reminders ensure follow-up. Of course they still need the button to generate a dynamic spreadsheet for reporting purposes, but not the day to day tracking. And, just as the train will circle back to the start of the track, work groups with a system keep searchable, historical records of what happened. Don’t be derailed by the confines of a spreadsheet “box”.
Communicate to ensure everyone knows where they are going.
As my sons operate in parallel, laying down their selected pieces, it’s not long before the choices they made in silo create conflict on the best path forward. The same is true with any initiative — It’s not efficient to copy every person on every email but if email is the only source of truth, critical decision-making assets have to be constantly emailed.
Having all assets in one place, rather than scattered about, can save countless hours of searching. A client boasted in our last meeting that changing how they track and communicate significantly increased their accuracy to get things right the first time, and transparency with select team members was the key to avoiding costly mistakes. Seeing the high level activity in a system (something you can’t do in an email inbox) can reveal bottlenecks and opportunities. While email may be the delivery method of choice, the centralized home for the information should not be the email “box.”
Grow quickly: the need for speed.
My kids lay down their track quickly, as the part they like best is driving the trains. Work teams also desire efficiency. One reason a number of clients were previously deterred from making adjustments in their processes was the seemingly unproductive time it takes to create a new track, or time for “on-boarding.” One of our clients said, “The system I was looking to implement was like building an ice skating rink that would take months to build before we could use it…thank you for providing one that we could skate on while we build and grow.”
A manager should avoid throwing a team off-track when adjusting their “workflow.” If you go, for example, from simply using email to a hard-core CRM, you will likely hit a user-adoption wall. Or, if your team doesn’t see “what’s in it for me” you may face a long, uphill implementation battle. A custom software construction project can be a financial risk, so instead consider a scalable option that allows you to get the team onboard quickly, along with the flexibility to adjust the system on the fly. A more simple solution that actually gets used is a better investment than a large-scale custom build that turns into a nightmare Pandora’s “box.”
Getting outside the box
Finally, unlike what’s found "inside the box” of trains, I suggest thinking "outside the box” (as in outside the email inbox and spreadsheet box) when selecting how your internal workplace or external initiative is tracking and communicating. Our company helps managers at the core stay connected with their dispersed teams. Whether a start-up or a focused team at Fortune 100 corporation, government agency, or NGO, the work is far more fun and stress-free when you stay on track.
“I am often asked how much I get paid for the work I do with our local non-profit humane society. We are all volunteer organization. I do receive the opportunity to work with professionals dedicated to helping animals and educating our community who inspire me on a daily basis.
When I began the work with Habersham Humane Society I asked that they use the FMYI software to help build a strong supportive team using collaboration and interaction that would create an environment for these workhorses that would be much more efficient and help build the platforms for their ideas to manifest into great projects with ease of access to information without the ritual of digging through buried data. Bits and pieces of emails or files that had been stored somewhere for safe keeping later. Grant work for non-profits is very data driven and all that hard data needs to be reserved for future use.
FMYI builds those data storage areas with ease and offers those working with you to fast access at any moment. The ability to create within the software work projects and sharing information to others or separating teams by project for any business style is an outstanding part of the FMYI software.
While our work is about animals, managing people is key to the outcome of our impact. Time is important to all us and helping our organization by getting the most of their time and energy is what I needed. We just love FMYI!”
Keep all of your information together.
Keep all relevant information and history about your contacts in one place.
Post messages, files, links, and schedule meetings with the contacts all on the same page so conversations never get dropped.
When you post new information, you can send out an email so that your team is alerted with what’s new. If the information isn’t critical and is just for future reference, you can opt out of sending an alert and then, the next time your team members sign into the site and access that contact’s page, all of the information is readily available and securely stored.
Check out the video on the right from the Lions Eye Institute to learn more about how FMYI has successfully impacted their operation.
Track the status of your contacts.
Customize search labels to correctly identify a process that your contacts move through. As you continue to build a relationship, simply use the drop down menu to move your contact through the process.
Each time you update a contact’s status, you will time stamp a message onto that contacts page to keep a record of when the action was taken. Take things one step further and run a report based on site data and the status of your contacts.
Don’t let your memory fail you.
Use the “remind me” feature to quickly set a task for yourself and a reminder will be sent to you on whatever day you specify.
If you want a little more detail to go into it, use the general task option for yourself, a member of your team, or a group of users on your site to complete. Set a due date and choose to have a reminder email so that nothing slips through the cracks. Once completed, just check it off and it will time and date stamp it for you. Accountability has never been easier (or fail proof).
Email clients automatically.
Keep all contact information for your contacts together in one place. You may have multiple people you work with at one office, or you deal with multiple locations but ultimately they are all under one umbrella. Add new information has you acquire it.
In addition to keeping your address book up to date, your contacts can also receive personal emails monthly or on a schedule that works for you. When they reply, the email will be sent directly to the email account you have affiliated with your FMYI account.
Import your contacts.
Import an Excel file with all of your contacts to quickly get your contacts into your FMYI site.
By importing your contacts, a page will be created for each contact to easily manage and track your interactions. When importing, you get to decide permission and access levels you would like other users in your site to have as well as how you would like to organize your contacts.