What Technology Should I Use To Support My Growing Business?
If your business has grown to more than a few employees, now might be the right time to upgrade your core technologies.
But what technology offers the most support to SMEs? Where do you start?
- Cloud Computing
Bulky servers and on-site software are becoming a thing of the past.
Small companies have flocked towards the Cloud Computing model, which reduces upfront running costs, offers greater flexibility and scalability, and provides an improved customer experience. It enables staff and customers to access resources from anywhere, at any time, from multiple devices.
It’s estimated that three quarters of small businesses and entrepreneurs are planning to adopt Cloud solutions to increase their business efficiency. Could this be the technology to drive your SME to the next level?
Recommended Cloud Computing services:
- Microsoft Office365. A subscription service for Office applications included in Office 2016 (the latest desktop version).
- Google G Suite. Includes popular cloud applications such as Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Google+ for communication, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Drive for storage, and Sites for collaboration.
- Amazon WorkSpaces. A set of applications and deployment services that help organisations scale and lower IT costs. It enables IT administrators to easily manage networks by granting end users access to cloud applications.
- Specialist Software
Specialist software helps SMEs maintain their competitive edge as administrative tasks continue to mount up.
Consider the day-to-day tasks that slow you down, and have a detrimental impact on the growth or efficiency of your small business. For example:
- Accounting and payroll
- Scheduling tasks, meeting or events
- Managing client/supplier relationships
- Advertising and social media campaigns
With the right software, entrepreneurs can reduce the time and effort it takes to complete mundane, repetitive, tasks. This frees up more time to manage business critical activities; the high-value creative work.
Software that’ll make your business leaner:
- Xero (Cloud Accounting). Assists in completing various accounting and bookkeeping tasks. It’s hosted on remote servers, unlike traditional accounting software.
- Trello (Web-based Project Management). Helps to organise your projects into boards. It tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and what’s in progress.
- Zoho CRM (Full CRM and more). A customer relationship management (CRM) software solution designed to help streamline sales & marketing, customer support, contacts, inventory management and other business functions.
- Collaborative Tools
The majority of companies are embracing the virtual workforce. So there’s a need to bring remote employees together with collaborative tools. However, the new flexible, remote workforce often lacks sufficient technology to support it.
Staff require the right equipment for their job, with all security precautions accounted for. They also need to be able to collaborate with their peers, and maintain complete transparency with their employer.
There are of course many familiar free applications at your disposal. Skype, Dropbox, Google Docs and Google Hangouts are actively used — or at least known of — by most SMEs. But there’s also other, more ‘integrated’ project management solutions which help to reduce costs and risks, share documents, and connect disparate work groups in real time, without restraint.
Importantly, small companies need to use technology to promote productivity, and meet objectives on time, within strict budgets. Here’s some of our recommendations:
- Slack (Cloud-based Team Collaboration). A cloud-based service providing tools for messaging, managing files, and helping teams save time in collaborative projects.
- Microsoft Teams (Team Hub). Part of the Office 365 suite of applications. It brings conversations, content, apps — and teams — together in one place.
- The Latest Hardware
Physical hardware is a key component for upgrading your SME and enhancing it’s core competitiveness.
But the world of technology and IT doesn’t sit still for long. Consider the last decade, where the focus has somewhat shifted away from desktop PC’s and applications onto portable devices — such as smartphones, and tablet computers. This is all accompanied by an array of modern Cloud Computing solutions.
SMEs need to carefully consider the costs, maintenance, security vulnerabilities, and sustainability that each new component of hardware brings to their business. It’s complex — but failure to remain current puts the business at a disadvantage.
Managing hardware takes research and a bespoke setup catered to your specific requirements. A Managed IT Service can assist you in selecting the most suitable equipment, at an optimal price.
- Cyber Security
As a small business grows, so does its reliance on technology. It’s imperative that you protect and secure sensitive information.
Whilst the threat of cyber crime can never be entirely eliminated, SME’s can take every reasonable precaution to ensure that it doesn’t hinder productivity or growth, or cause any long-term damage to the company.
To learn more on how you can detect threats and respond to security breaches, read through our SMEs Guide to Cyber Security.
Is now the time to improve your core technologies?
We can help. Our job is to assess your requirements and utilise our breadth of knowledge to hand-pick software & hardware that’s right for your growing SME.
We understand that business owners can afford little time into keeping their technology up-to-date, well-maintained — and competitive within their industry. So leave it to us.