Business technologyis a subject on which entrepreneurs and business owners often have widely differing views – but if one thing is for sure, it is that the topic of technology cannot be ignored.
In the world of business, simply sticking with whatever existing technology “seems to work fine” – the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach – is a recipe for competitive decay, and ultimate failure. It is akin to persisting with a horse and carriage, when more and more of your competitors are driving cars.
As a responsible business owner, then, you probably recognise that continually adapting to the latest business technology is important. But how, in a practical sense, can your business make sure it achieves that constant adaptation, so that it is keeping pace with – and even getting ahead of – industry rivals?
Below, we have set out some proven steps to take.
Keep yourself informed on the latest business technological developments
The fact that you are reading this article suggests you already understand one thing well: the importance of educating yourself on what is presently happening in the world of business technology.
If you are serious about being proactive in your business’s constant adaptation to the latest technology, you can’t depend on ‘just hearing about’ those technological developments through a friend or colleague.
Develop a close understanding of your business’s needs
Of course, simply knowing more about certain business technologies through sites like the above, does not mean all of those technologies will be relevant to your business.
The above step is about giving yourself a broad knowledge and awareness of the latest options, trends and practices in business technology, but that still leaves the next step: narrowing down your options. That way, you can minimise your risk of investing in technological solutions that do not help your business to survive and grow.
To help ensure you understand your firm’s needs, take the time to talk to your employees. What do they think of a particular piece of hardware or software that you have in mind? Would they actually use it? If they would use it, what improvements to business processes might the given solution enable them to achieve?
Take inventory of the business technology your workforce already uses
There might have been previous waves of technology adoption at your business that helped to bring worthwhile results – but as we referenced above, you can’t afford to stay still for too long when it comes to business technology. A solution that represented the “leading edge” in your industry just a few years ago, might be at risk of becoming out of date today.
So, make sure you are well-informed on the specific technologies your employees are presently using, and consider how you could streamline their use of tech in accordance with your firm’s needs right now.
You might, for instance, have invested in certain highly rated accounting and payroll software some years ago. But is the program that your team is presently using the most advanced available?
Sticking to the accounting example, recent years have seen the rise of cloud accounting software, which is accounting software that is accessible over the Internet. A major advantage of cloud accounting software is that it can be updated automatically over time by the provider of the software, which will save you from having to spend time manually updating it yourself.
But won’t switching to new accounting software necessitate you training your team all over again in this latest solution? Well, no, not necessarily. You could go as far as simply reaching out to trusted accountants in Suffolk, London, or wherever your business happens to be, who are already skilled in the use of such cloud software. Such outsourcing could free up your staffers who are currently handling your in-house accounting, so that they can spend more time on other tasks.
Train your staff in any new business technology they will be using
As we touched on above, it is a perfectly valid approach to outsource certain processes to capable people from outside your company who may already be proficient in the use of whatever new technology you wish to adopt.
Having said that, your in-house employees will still need to use certain technologies, too. So, you may need to arrange some degree of training to ensure they are well-versed in how to use the technology as required. This will help to keep productivity up among your workers who are getting accustomed to the new technology, as it will help ensure they don’t struggle to use important features of the given tech.
One strategy that you might use is training a relatively small group of staff members first, and then arranging for them to provide the same training to other employees. After all, you won’t want to spend too much time overseeing such training directly, when you have a core business that you will wish to focus on.
With the technologies that many businesses are set to take greater advantage of during 2023 including the likes of big data/analytics, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and much more, it is clear that the coming months will be exciting ones for business technology.
By applying the above practices, you can help ensure your firm stays competitive, which will play a big part in fuelling its growth.