The dramatic increase in the digital age has seen all businesses need to adapt and change their processes to accommodate a new online audience. This is particularly true for cemeteries and crematoriums with an increasing expectation they are online, available and meeting the needs of a new generation of millenniums wanting to do business differently. Your customers and markets are changing; if you aren't feeling it yet, you will soon enough.
A recent CIO article 'The 12 Biggest Issues IT faces today' identifies the technology challenges facing today's business and for the most part, these are facing cemeteries and crematoriums. Many cemeteries and crematoriums are still using manual processes be they disparate documents or old hard copy files – these businesses have a long way to go to join the digital age, but they have a unique opportunity to jump ahead of their competition by installing new solutions now knowing the inherent issues some existing solutions face.
Everyone is touched by technology today – here are five issues are particularly relevant to the death care industry:
Finding new revenue streams
Cremation rates are soaring, burials plummeting and
Some cemeteries have embraced an online presence including deceased search capabilities, genealogy information and photos and mapping of graves. Others are offering more 'anniversary' style events and functions to involve their community; from Mother's and Father's Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving – allowing their space to be used to encourage the community to celebrate and remember. Some are even hosting weddings. Others are offering tours to show off their historically significant sites and some even ghost tours. To capture the new generations, you need to be where they are – online and in the digital age.
With revenue falling for many cemeteries budgets are also decreasing so businesses need to diversify.
Digital transformation and innovation
Cemeteries and crematoriums are in a state of needing to change; the expectation is growing that they are available and not just for a phone call regarding a deceased person but online with a wealth of information. Deceased records are most commonly expected, along with photos and digital mapping of graves and sites of interest. Some cemeteries are now offering virtual tours to 'visit' the cemetery. Others allow deceased search results to be texted or emailed directly, linking to maps and providing a self-guided tour to the grave site.
Data Overload / Business Intelligence
The pieces to a complete cemetery and crematorium management solution are varied, and include customer care, compliance, financials, marketing, operations, sales, social / advertising and a website. A fully integrated solution can give you this but then you can also face data overload. There is so much information available within your business are you reporting on it and making better business decisions?
You need a business intelligence solution to review and compare how all components are tracking to budget and targets. Allowing you to make smart decisions, improve efficiency and do better business.
Upgrading Legacy Systems
The CIO report found that nearly a quarter of Chief Information Officers were most concerned with upgrading legacy systems to improve efficiency. These systems may no longer be supported or may be customized outdated solutions – with any new system implementation data migration plays a vital role in ensuring record accuracy and allowing continuity of the business.
With older manual systems data migration might mean having someone transcribe hundreds or thousands of records so they can be imported into the system. Many businesses put off making any change until there is a disaster or impetus to change, the risk in these events is that your system may already be corrupted, and your historically important data lost.
Moving to 'The Cloud'
There remains a lot of confusion and fear around what moving your data to 'the cloud' means; does this mean you are open to attack? Is it secure? Where is your data being held? There are many
There are a lot of issues in IT for cemeteries and crematoriums – but there is also much efficiency and productivity that could help create a sustainable future for your business. The budget may never quite be there, but demand is growing,
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