5 Ways Technology Can Help Make SMBs More Productive
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are constantly looking to new technology to create a workforce that is more productive, more efficient and more innovative. In recent years, new technologies like cloud computing and open source software have made even the most historically complex and costly systems once reserved for large enterprises more affordable for SMBs. Identifying technology solutions that enable true productivity, all while staying under budget, is a goal of all SMBs.
According to Cora Cloud, marketing specialist, Digium, here are some ways today’s technologies help increase the productivity of their business.
- Connect dispersed workforces. As in-house staff levels contract and the mobile workforce expands, businesses are making due with a smaller physical office spaces. More and more companies are giving their employees the option to work offsite, allowing them to save money on the overhead required to maintain large workspaces. This option also allows hiring managers to cast a wider net into the talent pool, increasing the odds of finding a well-qualified candidate. Productive employees need instant access to business information, data, and their team; mobile-friendly technologies are a sure-fire way to provide that.
- Enable collaboration tools. Collaboration is essential to business, but employees don’t have to be in adjoining cubicles to achieve it. With the abundance of free applications like Google’s cloud-based suite of products, staff members working from remote locations can collaborate and share documents easily. Custom cloud solutions offer more robust solutions with greater security for sensitive data. Unified Communications (UC) systems allow for various types of communication letting employees choose which would be the most effective: a phone call, an instant message, a conference session or video chat. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems like Salesforce, Zoho or Insightly allow sales teams to save time by keeping track of the status of a prospect in one shared location. These solutions increase consistency in customer relations, which, in turn, increase productivity and profitability.
- Get organized. Countless hours can be wasted searching through spreadsheets for information stored in large data sets, some of which are only accessible via desktop. Investing in a database system that allows staff to easily add and access data pays for itself in efficiencies. For example, a cloud-based time tracking software such as ClickTime allows on-the-road employees to keep track of their hours, mileage and expenses, all in one place. Tracking solutions such as these keep the mundane yet critical information accurate and in one place, which helps managers, employees and clients remain compliant, well-informed and productive.
- Be reachable. Make sure remote employees are armed with updated mobile devices and the support solutions to keep them connected. A missed call can mean a missed business opportunity. Invest in a business phone system with UC to take advantage of the features that keep employees connected. Voicemail to email, find-me-follow-me, softphones and work caller ID are all features that ensure employees never miss an opportunity, all while maintaining a consistent level of professionalism.
- Know the pain-points. Companies should make a careful assessment of their greatest productivity challenges. For example, dealing with slow or obsolete technology or throttled Internet bandwidth can slow down even the most productive employees. Develop a plan to proactively upgrade hardware and software on a regular basis before it slows the business down and breaks the budget.