The number of technology products available to businesses has grown exponentially over the past few years. Technology provides an opportunity to reduce costs, control expenses, and meet customer service levels. As markets become increasingly competitive, introducing the right technology is critical to organisations looking to expand or retain a competitive edge.
With so many options to choose from, determining which technology will benefit your organisation and save you money can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ve identified five ways you can leverage technology to your advantage.
1. Remote working
Remote working is set to become a standard part of working life. Setting up your business so your staff can work from home reduces office overheads and expenditure. You can grow your workforce without expanding premises, and introducing flexitime can increase productivity and morale.
Technologies such as the cloud allow you to store the systems and data your staff need to do their jobs remotely. They can then access it from any location, rather than being tied to a physical workplace. Superfast broadband connections will give you greater capacity to send and receive data – and it means your employees can download the information they need as quickly as they would if they were in the office.
Using a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephony system can significantly reduce your phone bills and travel costs. VoIP systems allow users to manage call routing and voicemail, reducing the chance of someone getting through to the wrong person. And staff can use video services such as Skype and Zoom for meetings instead of travelling to see customers or clients.
Collaboration tools such as Basecamp and Microsoft Teams make project management simple and improve communication. They provide a central hub for the tools your team needs to work together, for example, messaging and file-sharing facilities.
2. Advanced MI
Even the smallest of businesses will have several data sources, which will provide them with information they can use to inform their decision-making. This is known as management information (MI) and can help increase the value and profits of a business.
Implementing a MI system can transform your business. Using the information they provide, you can respond quickly to changing customer demand, keep optimal stock levels and improve the efficiency of your business.
Advanced MI can identify your ideal customer so that you can tailor your marketing activities. It can help you create new business models and products. Internally, by providing information about business performance, MI lets you see which areas are
growing so can allocate additional resources to support growth. Conversely, it will also identify areas that are underperforming so you can implement measures for improvement.
3. Automation of processes and procedures
Automation is perhaps the most beneficial element to businesses of any technology they are thinking about introducing. Reducing overall operating costs can have a significant impact on your organisation’s profits. Automation can help you do this by eliminating routine and mundane tasks and streamlining your processes.
Technologies such as AI and robotic process automation (RPI) can carry out repetitive, labour-intensive tasks. Your staff can then deal with more complex and challenging issues. As well as positively impacting productivity, it significantly reduces the risk of errors being made.
The possible uses for automation within your business are endless. You can back up your computers, schedule social media posts, pay bills and proofread documents, freeing up time and saving you money.
4. Social media and email marketing
Instead of investing large sums of money in advertising campaigns, there are plenty of free or low-cost tools available to help you develop and manage your marketing.
If you use social media to promote your business, you can create, publish and monitor the performance of your posts using platforms such as Hootsuite. Managing all your social media channels from a central dashboard reduces the time spent on social media management. These kinds of platforms usually provide free training and resources, decreasing your staff training costs.
There are also several platforms you can use to manage your email and newsletter communications. MailChimp is popular with SMEs, keeping you connected with your customers and automating some of your marketing activities for a relatively low cost.
5. Accounting software
Running your own business usually means wearing several different hats, one of which involves managing your money. Investing in accounting software can help you maintain accurate records. It can also give you insight into how your business is performing and speed up the processing of your financial data. It also provides your accountant with the information they need to complete your annual accounts, tax returns and carry out your future tax planning.
If you’d like to talk about which financial software would benefit your business, or want support with your accounting or tax matters, contact us today. Our team of specialist accountants and tax advisors will be happy to help.