Over the past years, the impact of technology on small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs)
has been powerful and transformative. In fact, according to a study by the US Chamber of Commerce, 84% of small enterprises are using at least one major digital platform to provide information to customers and 79% are using digital tools to communicate with customers and suppliers.
This means you need to invest in technology now. Here are some of the benefits:
- Operations efficiency – A successful business needs to keep a close eye on its financial transactions, and technology makes it easier to track income and expenses faster and more accurately. For example, inventory software plays a critical role in helping warehouse companies manage costs and product storage. In the long run, technology saves SMBs precious resources like time and physical space.
- Security – Every business is required to protect its resources, financial data, and confidential information. With proper cybersecurity tools like cloud-based security and data encryption, your business will be less exposed to cybercrime and other threats. Additionally, when you invest in the security of your organization, it shows your clients and customers that you care about them as well.
- Effective customer communication – SMBs’ growth capability is dependent on how employees can effectively interact with clients. With tools like customer relationship management (CRM) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), you can improve business relationships, sales management, productivity, and more. Good client communication translates to faster growth.
As SMBs’ business capabilities rapidly increase, they also become employers of choice. Also, with the ease and availability of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), it’s no wonder that SMBs are embracing technology in a big way. So what tech investments are worth getting into? Here are some of the most essential:
Customer relationship management software
Your customers should always come first. A proper CRM solution will assist your business in acquiring and managing new customers by providing more visibility into your client base. For example, if your CRM reveals that 70% of your customers are in the pharmaceutical sector, you can recruit sales people with a medical or pharmaceutical background. In a scenario like this, you can recalibrate business strategies for long-term profitability.
Business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools
In this era of big data, it is very difficult to make sense of the deluge of information. To gain actionable insights from it, you need BI and analytics tools. Data collected from sales and marketing, workflows and productivity, and HR could be isolated and may require a dedicated IT platform to connect the dots.
With the help of BI and analytics software, you can tie in information to allow real-time insights and predictions. This will eliminate waste and guesswork, promote efficient inventory management, improve sales intelligence, and allow you to establish benchmarks. Many software packages come with their own reporting data and cloud analytics.
SMBs are usually wary when they hear about the cloud because they think they can’t afford it. In reality, moving to the cloud is a big cost and space saver. Rather than housing and maintaining an expensive server room on-site, you can move your storage to the cloud. By going for the cloud, you reduce hardware purchases, maintenance costs, and IT staff dedicated to managing data. Moreover, storage limits and pricing can be adjusted monthly according to the company’s needs.
Another important benefit of using cloud storage is cybersecurity. Many managed security services providers provide enterprise-level security and backups. Consider features like server redundancy, encryption, and disaster recovery.
Team collaboration tools
Collaboration tools are a great way for teams to stay in touch anywhere, anytime. Technology enables better communication and increases productivity, but only if you have the right tools. Whether your team is dealing with deadlines, task management, or support, your employees should be able to access the right person within an acceptable workflow.
Make sure to choose collaboration tools that have features like real-time messaging, dedicated channels and streams, searchable chat records, and integrations with other frequently used business apps.
SMBs have the opportunity to utilize technology in order to thrive and stay competitive. Make it your next move to look for the right technology for your business. Call Athens Micro today for an assessment.
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