Can technology improve business efficiency? The founders of local company Fractal SAAS think so. To prove the point the company recently solved a simple problem for the residents of Innisfil: lake access.
The town occupies the SouthEast shore of Lake Simcoe. It’s a beautiful place, especially in the summertime. The lake is always popular at that time of year. Tens of thousands of people visit the beaches and parks. But the real draw, of course, is the water. Especially during the summer of 2020.
Businesses and shops closed and most indoor events scaled back. So the demand for lake access was at all time high. To organize all that traffic the town asked for help designing a simple online platform that could schedule time for boat launches. One that was only accessible to residents of the town.
They created a simple app that did the job quickly and efficiently. It’s a small problem that needed to be fixed. But it’s not the only one they’ve solved. Jon and Andrew have built an entire company around solving little problems. Those annoying little problems created by outdated systems and processes. Every organization has them.
Jon and Andrew call their company Fractal SAAS and it’s based around a simple observation. That there are easy fixes technology offers for a huge number of annoying problems that most organizations just don’t bother to fix. Even though those problems are costing money and wasting time.
More about the Problem
The problem was deceptively simple: too much traffic. The town knew that a system that could bring all residents on a single page could help solve the problem. So, it asked for a program that could schedule times for boat launches. Seeing an opportunity, John Gilliam and Andrew Raines stepped up to the plate and together they designed a simple app that did the job quickly and efficiently.
More About the Team
While this event brought the duo local fame, this wasn’t the first time they stepped up to the occasion. They have built an entire company around solving little problems created by outdated systems or processes. Their business revolves around using technology to solve common, everyday problems that few people try to fix. It’s all about business efficiency.
“A lot of companies continue with what works,” explains the team. According to them, we never try to solve minor issues even if they result in a waste of scarce resources as we’re too busy concentrating on bigger issues without realizing the benefits of solving small problems.
Working from home during the pandemic has allowed the pair to concentrate on improving business efficiency. They agree that companies are now beginning to see the other side of the picture. However, it isn’t easy to convince them. After all, organizations still find it difficult to adapt to change.
Understanding Business Efficiency
According to the team, the problem lies in sticking to year-old traditions and procedures that were developed in a different era. Systems that are just not suitable for today’s technologically advanced world. While they agree that some of these practices are important and can’t be eradicated right away, they maintain that there’s a need to get rid of practices or problems that slow down growth. Andrew talked about his work experience and how he came to understand the issues companies face while working for an oil and gas company. He realizes why people are against the idea of change as such changes can have “significant consequences in terms of safety.” The same formula applies to governments.
“Local government, despite most people not paying much attention to it, is the government that affects their lives most intimately,” says the team.
This is why changing even a small system can improve business efficiency.
The Town Problem
The team attracted the interest of the local government last year. John and Andrew identified the problem, proposed a solution, and were fortunate enough to win. The town was struggling with the handling of “paper between multiple stakeholders, everyone from the operations team on the ground to the accounting departments that issued the paychecks.” The team pitched the idea to go digital and while the idea got approved, it wasn’t easy to accomplish.
“User adoption and user onboarding are always going to be our biggest challenges, especially where there’s a kind of a legacy process,” they admit.
It is never easy to convince people to do something else, especially when they’re used to doing things a certain way. But, they managed to pull it off, especially due to the positive experiences of launching the boat system that proved to be quite effective and efficient.
Doing It Together
The team only has good things to say about the government and the people they collaborated with.
“We had multiple touchpoints every day with them as the solution was being built,” they explained.
They say this successful collaboration was the main reason why they were able to launch the app in 10 days. They thanked the internal department for the support, especially “Nicole in the operations department in particular who was available to answer every question.”
A Partnership That Continues
The duo has worked on several projects together with a single aim – to make things better with the help of technology. In addition to the systems discussed above, they have also digitized other systems and were recently in the news for digitizing the system of issuing burn permits. They also introduced the concept of a Town Pass that promises to make towns more secure while saving time and money.
How It All Started
Andrew got into helping governments when he saw the potential and realized the opportunities. He wanted to “solve boring problems that other people overlooked.” Technology can reduce red tape and improve business efficiency.
It can be difficult for the team to work on projects as they revolve around introducing new systems that people don’t always take very kindly to. Not only are people scared of change, but they’re also worried about being replaced. However, the team promises that their aim is not to replace people but to bring the best out of them.
“Let the robots do the robotic stuff and let the people do the things that people are better at doing,” they said.
A New Experience
For John, it was quite a new experience to work in a rural region. He talks about the pros and cons of working in Innisfil and how things are different.
“If we’re looking to raise money here, like in the startup world, I think that can introduce some challenges,” he explains.
Jon also highlights the benefits of working in a small town.
A Town That Impresses
The team appears to be very happy with the town.
“The openness and the solutions focus that we’ve seen from the town of Innisfil is really impressive and unique.”
Listen to the full audio to know more about their experiences, future plans, and what they expect to change in the town of Innisfil.