Technology is essential to business success
Technology fuels business, and trying to save money by holding onto old technology and systems will actually cost you money.
Last year, the Government received the final report from its “Small Business Digital Taskforce”. The Taskforce was established to look at ways to accelerate the rate of small business digital adoption; in part in response to research indicating that using digital tools saves small businesses 10 hours per week and boosts revenue by 27 per cent.
According to the Report, the benefits of investing in digital technologies within your business include:
- Time savings, through process automation and improved productivity
- Better market access and client engagement
- Access to a wider pool of talent
- Flexibility and mobility
- Enhanced and safeguarded business value.
In order to achieve optimal return on investment, you need to focus on both your technology infrastructure, and your use of cloud technologies.
It can be a false economy trying to save money by keeping old technology going past its use-by date.
A clapped-out network with old machines and inefficient network infrastructure can be infuriatingly slow. The hallmarks of such a system are frustration, stress, lost productivity, inefficiency, and maybe even lost business.
Part of keeping your business going, and growing, is having an up-to-date business plan so you know where you’re heading. You also need to ensure that your team has the tools they need to succeed; and that means investing in technology and systems that support their day-to-day activities. This is equally important no matter whether they are office-based, on the road, or working from home remotely.
Investing in the right technologies can make the world of difference to time management and profits. Some examples include:
- Australian retailer Country Road now gets its staff to serve customers with iPads, instead of standing at a service desk. This enables the salesperson to connect more directly with the consumer, and increases the likelihood of a sale.
- Trish Chapallaz from Solar 4RVs points to process automation as a major factor in opening up time for business development.
- Bohmer’s Tree Care saves over an hour and a half every day by using a digital risk assessment system on-site in place of paper.
There are numerous ways that SMEs can harness cloud technologies to make tangible improvements to business operations, including:
- Understanding customers and competitors better through online research, digital tracking and social media engagement.
- Saving time, lowering costs and improving business intelligence by using cloud-based, integrated applications for all areas of business administration; from accounting and inventory management to client relations and marketing.
- Improving workflow and collaboration by facilitating shared online workspaces and instant communication (between employees, or with customers).
- Going paperless – which of itself saves time and money, enhances productivity, saves space and can enhance data and information security.
In fact, research undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that SMEs that have high-levels of digital engagement have better business outcomes compared to those with lower engagement. Some of the studies they reviewed suggested a 20 per cent increase in annual revenue.
Having a successful business is not easy and it doesn’t happen by chance. A critical part of success in business is having access to trusted experts across all areas – that includes technology.
You should plan on getting regular, strategic, IT advice. It’s the only sure-fire way to minimise downtime and increase the ROI on your technology spend.
It’s easy to be bamboozled by technology, or to suspect you’re being sold a solution that suits the supplier rather than your business. Your IT infrastructure is a significant part of your business – both operationally and in terms of investment. You need to feel like the service and advice you’re getting is above reproach.