We’ve talked about a lot of incredible technology on this blog, but the reality is that not every business can afford the time and expenditure that often go hand-in-hand with implementing cutting-edge technologies.
So for the average business, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to keeping up with the latest technologies, especially when you don’t necessarily have the budget for a turn-key enterprise software solution.
But innovation has to start somewhere, and there are a lot of ready-made software products that are easily available, as well as bespoke, custom software, that can be used to streamline processes without having to recreate your entire business.
To take just some small steps to get the digitisation process started, here are four ways to keep up with technology and evolve your business using widely available software applications:
1. Simplify Communication with Automation
How many times have you filled in a website contact form and never heard back from anyone? It’s because on the other end of that form is an email inbox manned by someone who is too busy to act on your request, or who doesn’t have enough information to prioritise getting back to you.
Automated processes can save you so much time when it comes to online communications, and can also open you up to conversations with new clients. Start by getting more valuable information from potential clients by using a more interactive contact form on your website. You could also install a simple chatbot to make answering simple customer queries a lot easier, without having to spend time sending emails or talking on the phone.
2. Consolidate Your Processes and Improve Productivity
There are a number of enterprise applications that can bring all of your work processes into one convenient location, thanks to distributed storage (otherwise known as “the cloud”). With a central dashboard that can be accessed by everyone, it’s easier to see what everyone is doing, and get a birds eye view of what’s going on in the business (provided that the software is intuitive and user-friendly, of course).
If you’re a small business, programmes like Asana, Trello and Basecamp works well for getting teams of people to communicate about tasks in a more accessible way. Programmes like these also offer a variety of packages, depending on how many people use them. If you’re a larger business with a more considerable budget, you could look at project management options like Zoho Projects, Liquid Planner, Wrike and Teamwork.
For client-focused businesses, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is also very helpful in keeping track of sales leads. Enterprise giants like Salesforce dominate in this area, but there are also a variety of other programmes that offer similar functionality, like PipeDrive, Zendesk and Intercom.
3. Make Big Data Less of a Big Problem
There is a lot of talk about Big Data, but it’s really just volumes of business data that is too vast to process manually. This is mind boggling to think about when you consider how much data is created every second.
It’s overwhelming, but instead of seeing Big Data as a burden, see it as an opportunity to give your business a competitive advantage by using a variety of Business intelligence (BI) tools that can make sense of all this data more efficiently, and give you insights into new opportunities and potential improvements.
One of the most popular “self-service” BI programmes is Tableau, which also provides functionality to present data analytics in a visually engaging way. Other examples of accessible data analytics software are Looker, Qlik Sense, Sisense, Domo and Board, which are helpful for businesses who don’t necessarily want to implement a large-scale Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
4. Embrace Technological Change
New technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that it’s difficult to keep up, and it’s scary, especially for those who have built a career on processes that are now being replaced with software. But it doesn’t all need to be intimidating- think about how great it is that new technology allows both small and large businesses to compete in the same space? It’s incredible.
Taking the First Step in Adopting New Technology
As a business that is focused on day-to-day operations, it can be challenging to justify implementing additional technology that takes time and effort to onboard into your organisation. But if you want to move forward, digitising your business now will leave you well placed to take advantage of even more technological advancements in the future.
SovTech builds innovative, custom software for businesses in a variety of industries. We’d love to help you digitise your work processes in an efficient, accessible and non-intimidating way.