Do business like efficiency? (of course you do)! Keen to get things working better? Then there are four technologies which you should consider, if you haven’t already, to get your business humming – and which could even give you the competitive edge. They are:
1. Cloud Computing
In its essence, cloud computing just means accessing computers and applications which are in someone else’s data centre. It is that simple, but the benefits are substantial. By accessing software as a service, infrastructure as a service, or anything else as a service, you don’t need to buy stuff outright. For SMBs, reducing the capital budget is always a big deal.
There’s more, too. Use as much or as little as you need, adjusting on the fly, to always accurately match IT to business requirements. Cloud services mean efficiency. Owing to the low up front costs, cloud also means your company can access the ‘latest and greatest’ without the big fancy price tag. Cloud computing is also considered a foundation for digital transformation.
2. Big data and analytics
We’ll just go ahead and admit it: big data is a lot more talk than it is action, particularly for the great majority of SMBs. But what isn’t (or shouldn’t be) is analytics. Even small organisations these days amass plenty of information, including data about customers, products and services. That’s one aspect of it, the raw material for analysis. The other is the tools to do something with it. These are becoming ever-more accessible to small businesses, with the likes of Microsoft’s PowerBI serving as a good example. It’s time to consider making more of your data and seeing what it can tell you. It could even lead you to get into that big data ahead of anyone else; here’s what you need to know to do that.
OK, information security isn’t a technology, per se, but rather a culture or strategy which should encompass everything your company does (as part of risk mitigation) and it should extend to every person in the business (and not just the IT guys). But information security is fundamental to any business which uses technology systems today – and let’s face it, that means every business. With a sound approach to information security, your business initiatives are ‘de-risked’, your company is appropriately safeguarded and you can trade without fear of interruption. For more on information security, click here. Remember, good security does cost money – the best security for your company comes at a reasonable cost and provides reasonable protection (nothing can be made completely secure – it would cost too much and restrict the ability to trade.
4. Go mobile
You’re mobile already, just take (another) look at the i-Device or Android in your pocket. Tablets, smartphones, tiny laptops – they are everywhere. But are you taking full advantage of mobile technology, or just letting it happen on an ad hoc basis? For many SMBs, the latter is a reality; the power of mobile devices and applications is readily recognised, but there is an absence of strategy or management over the use of those devices in the business. Look to boost the value you can gain from mobility by examining it closely, seeking out optimal apps and exploring the possibilities of, for example, mobile payments. And of course, make sure that mobile devices fall within your security provisions. Here's more information on mobility at work.