4 Ways Small Businesses Are Using Technology to Optimize Their Operations
No matter what industry you work in, you have almost certainly witnessed a seismic shift in the way that your industry operates thanks to technology. From augmenting our communications to enabling us to harness the power of data, technology can enable even small businesses to optimize their operations.
When we think of automation, many of us think of robots on factory lines assisting in the manufacture of automobiles and similar products. But while this might be one of the more familiar implementations of automation, it is far from the only one. Automation today can mean a number of different things. Many automation solutions that appeal to small businesses are software-based and don't involve any actual machinery beyond a computer.
For example, by automating end of day processes, a small retail store can significantly reduce the amount of admin that they need to complete themselves. There are also numerous situations where automating tasks means that they are completed more reliably. Automated accounts receivable software is a good example of this. A computer can much more reliably process this kind of information, assuming that you are able to feed it accurate data, compared to a human being.
Gathering And Analyzing Data
Data is an incredibly powerful resource for those that can harness it correctly. However, simply gathering data is not going to achieve anything. Before data can be useful, it needs to be mined and analyzed.
Both aspects of this process, beginning with the gathering of data and ending with its eventual analysis and the drawing of conclusions, are of equal importance. If you do not gather your data in the right way, no amount of analysis is going to make it useful. Similarly, it doesn't matter how good the data that you have acquired is; until it is analyzed correctly, you will not be able to draw any conclusions from it.
Often, the best way for a business to gather the data is to simply ask for it. For example, if small businesses want to better understand their customers and the way that they interact with the business, then an online questionnaire is an easy way of gathering the relevant data. Use a service that offers a customizable and easy to use form for customers to fill in.
No matter how big or small a business is, communications are absolutely essential to its efficiency. Technology has dramatically changed the way that we communicate with one another on a personal level, so it is hardly surprising that it has had a similarly dramatic effect on the way that businesses communicate.
A unified communications system means that workers can communicate with a business and with one another through multiple communication channels. All of these channels will flow through the same system, enabling communications across devices and mediums. For example, a unified communications system means that an employee using their smartphone phone can communicate with someone sat at their computer via either text or a voice call.
The right CRM software package can enable a small business to manage their customer relations just as efficiently as a large corporation can. Without CRM software in place, handling clients and seem to their needs and wants can take up an awful lot of time. This might not be such an issue for a large business with manpower to spare, but for small businesses, even small time savings can make a big difference to productivity.
Attaining optimal efficiency in your business isn’t easy, but it is a goal that is well-worth pursuing. These are just a small sample of the many different ways that technology has been changing the world of work for most of us and enabling small businesses to achieve that goal.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.