Is your small business looking to modernize its workforce technology? Here are some steps to get you started.
Assess Your Current Technology Landscape
The first step in any technology modernization initiative is to conduct an assessment. You need to fully understand your current technological infrastructure. Identify existing strengths and weaknesses. As well as outdated systems and areas where technology could enhance business processes. Understanding your starting point is crucial. It helps in developing a targeted and effective modernization strategy.
Align Technology Goals with Business Objectives
Technology should not be an isolated component. But rather, a strategic enabler aligned with your business goals. Clearly define how technology can support and enhance your business objectives. Whether it’s improving customer engagement. Or streamlining internal processes and expanding market reach. Ensure that your technology modernization efforts align with your overarching business vision.
Focus on Cloud Adoption
The cloud has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Embracing cloud technologies can offer small businesses several benefits. These include scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Consider migrating key applications and data to cloud platforms. This can enhance accessibility, collaboration, and data security. Cloud solutions can also simplify software updates and maintenance. This frees up resources for other strategic initiatives.
Invest in Collaborative Tools
Effective communication and collaboration are essential for small businesses. Invest in collaborative tools and platforms. These ease seamless interaction among team members, regardless of their physical location. Examples are video conferencing, project management, and document-sharing tools. These tools can enhance teamwork and productivity. This fosters a cohesive work environment even in remote or hybrid setups.
Look at Cybersecurity Measures
There is an increasing prevalence of cyber threats. So, cybersecurity should be a top priority for small businesses undergoing technology modernization. Put in place robust cybersecurity measures. Focus on protecting sensitive data and customer information. As well as your critical business assets.
Cybersecurity measures include:
Regular security updates
Threat identification & response
Embrace Mobile-Friendly Solutions
In a world where mobility is paramount, adopting mobile-friendly solutions is key. Ensure that you’ve optimized business applications and platforms for mobile use. This allows employees to work efficiently from various devices. This enhances flexibility. It also accommodates the evolving expectations of the workforce. Employees value the ability to work on the go.
Look at Remote Work Options
The global shift towards remote work has accelerated. Small businesses should prepare to embrace flexible work arrangements. Modernize your technology infrastructure to support remote work options. These provide employees with the tools and connectivity they need. As well as helping them maintain productivity outside of the traditional office environment.
Consider Automation for Efficiency
Automation can significantly improve operational efficiency for small businesses. Identify repetitive, time-consuming tasks. These can often be automated to streamline workflows. Look at things like customer service chatbots and automated invoicing systems. Embracing automation can free up valuable human resources. As well as reduce the risk of errors in routine tasks.
Provide Ongoing Training and Support
Introducing new technologies requires commitment. A commitment to ongoing training and support for your workforce. Ensure that employees have the necessary skills to leverage the new tools effectively. This may involve providing training sessions. As well as creating user-friendly guides. And offering a support system to address any issues that may arise during the transition.
Watch and Adapt to Evolving Technologies
Technology is a dynamic field. Staying ahead requires a commitment to watching and adapting to emerging trends. Regularly assess the technology landscape. Work with your IT provider. We’ll help you identify new solutions that could benefit your business. A proactive approach to staying current ensures your small business remains competitive.
Need Help Upgrading Your Workforce Technology?
Workforce technology modernization is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It’s a strategic journey that requires careful planning. As well as alignment with business objectives. By embracing these practical strategies, small businesses can leverage technology. And use it to enhance their operational capabilities. They also position themselves for sustained success in the digital age.
Need help with workforce technology modernization? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.
In today’s world, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Businesses around the globe are increasingly embracing eco-friendly practices. This isn’t only for the positive impact on the environment. It’s also for the benefits they can bring to the bottom line.
Sustainable technology habits are not only about reducing your carbon footprint. They’re also about improving efficiency, cutting costs, and attracting environmentally conscious customers.
“Going green” can mean saving more dollars, besides helping the planet. Below, we’ll explore several sustainable tech habits you can adopt. These are not only good for the environment but also a win for your business’s bottom line.
1. Energy-Efficient Hardware and Appliances
Investing in energy-efficient hardware and appliances can lead to significant cost savings. Especially in the long run. Energy-efficient devices consume less electricity, resulting in lower utility bills.
Consider upgrading to Energy Star-rated equipment. And using LED lighting to reduce your energy consumption. It may surprise you how fast your electric bill goes down after replacing lightbulbs.
2. Virtualization and Cloud Computing
Virtualization and cloud computing solutions can help you optimize your IT infrastructure. By consolidating servers and resources, you can reduce the number of physical devices. This leads to lower energy consumption and reduced hardware maintenance costs.
3. Remote Work and Telecommuting
Embrace remote work and telecommuting. This reduces the need for office space. It also cuts down on commuting-related emissions. Employees who work remotely also report increased job satisfaction and productivity. Both of which can positively impact your bottom line.
4. Renewable Energy Sources
Consider transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. The initial investment may be significant. But renewable energy can lead to big savings on electricity costs. Additionally, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainability, which can attract eco-conscious customers.
5. E-Waste Recycling Programs
Put in place e-waste recycling programs. These help you properly dispose of outdated or non-functioning electronic equipment. Many electronics can be refurbished, resold, or recycled. This reduces waste and potentially generates revenue through resale.
6. Optimize Data Centers
Data centers are notorious for their high energy consumption. Optimize your data center by doing things like:
Using energy-efficient servers
Implementing efficient cooling systems
Consolidating data storage to reduce power usage
7. Green Web Hosting
Choose a web hosting provider that uses renewable energy for their data centers. This reduces your website’s carbon footprint. It can also lead to improved website performance and uptime.
8. Paperless Office
Transitioning to a paperless office can save money on paper, ink, and storage costs. Use digital documents, electronic signatures, and cloud storage solutions to reduce paper usage.
Office workers spend about 6 hours a week searching for paper documents. Digitizing files allows for keyword searching. This reduces those wasted hours and improves productivity.
9. Eco-Friendly Office Supplies
Buy eco-friendly office supplies. This includes recycled paper, biodegradable pens, and reusable office products. These sustainable choices can reduce your office expenses. They also show your commitment to environmental responsibility.
10. Software Optimization
Regularly update and optimize your software to reduce system resource usage. Unnecessary background processes and inefficient code can strain your hardware. As well as increase energy consumption.
11. Remote Monitoring and Control
Install remote monitoring and control systems to manage your facility’s energy usage. This technology allows you to adjust heating, cooling, and lighting remotely. This reduces energy waste. Smart thermostats are very affordable now. That makes this an easy energy energy-efficient win.
12. Green Transportation Policies
Promote green transportation policies for employees. These might include:
Using public transportation
Incentives like subsidies for eco-friendly commuting options can help. They promote the reduction of transportation costs for your team.
13. Sustainable Data Practices
Adopt sustainable data practices by cleaning and organizing your databases. The goal is to remove redundant or outdated information. Efficient data management reduces storage requirements and enhances data processing speed.
14. Green IT Certification
Consider pursuing green IT certifications. Such as the ISO 14001 or the Green Business Bureau certification. These certifications can improve your environmental standing and boost your company’s reputation.
15. Employee Education and Engagement
Educate your employees about sustainable tech habits. Encourage their participation in eco-friendly initiatives. Engaged employees can help identify more cost-saving opportunities.
16. Supply Chain Sustainability
Collaborate with suppliers and partners committed to sustainability. Sustainable sourcing and procurement practices can lead to cost reductions. As well as a more resilient supply chain.
17. Lifecycle Assessments
Conduct lifecycle assessments of your products and services. This helps you identify areas where you can make environmental and cost improvements. This process can help you optimize your offerings and reduce waste.
18. Green Marketing
Leverage your sustainability efforts as a selling point in your marketing campaigns. Customers are increasingly seeking out eco-conscious businesses. Promoting your sustainability can help you stand out from the competition. It can lead to increased brand loyalty and sales.
Get Help Going Green to Save Money & Help the Planet
Sustainable tech habits are not just about being environmentally responsible. They can also help your bottom line. The world has become increasingly aware of the importance of environmental responsibility. Embracing these sustainable tech habits can be a win-win for your business and the planet.
We can help you put together a sustainable tech roadmap that makes sense. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.
In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses have more opportunities than ever. Many of these call for leveraging technology to their advantage. Embracing the right tech trends can help businesses compete. It enables them to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and fuel growth.
But it can be confusing knowing which routes to take. Most small businesses need to choose the route that is going to bring the biggest return.
Below, we’ll explore five small business tech trends. These trends have the potential to drive success. As well as propel your business forward in an increasingly competitive market.
1. Cloud Computing: Expanding Possibilities
Cloud computing has emerged as a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. And some believe small businesses are among the most benefitted. 82% of small to medium businesses report reduced costs after adopting cloud tools.
The cloud offers many benefits. It’s a cost-effective and scalable solution for data storage, software access, and collaboration. By migrating to the cloud, small businesses can save. They cut the need for on-premises infrastructure. This reduces maintenance costs and gives enhanced flexibility.
Also, cloud-based tools and platforms enable teams to work remotely. This can promote collaboration and improve productivity. Working in the cloud offers access to real-time data and apps from any location. This enables small businesses to make informed decisions faster. They can also respond to market changes with agility.
2. Artificial Intelligence: Automating Efficiency
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized the way businesses operate. This year alone, ChatGPT has completely transformed many business apps. We cannot overstate AI’s potential benefits for small businesses.
AI-powered tools and algorithms can automate routine tasks. Such as data entry, customer service, and inventory management. This frees up valuable time for employees to focus on higher-value activities.
Chatbots, for instance, enable small businesses to provide 24/7 customer support. All without the need for more staff or paying overtime hours.
AI also empowers businesses to gain actionable insights from vast amounts of data. This helps them optimize processes, personalize marketing strategies, and enhance customer experiences.
Embracing AI technologies can give small businesses a competitive edge. It does this by boosting efficiency, reducing costs, and improving decision-making.
3. E-commerce and Mobile Commerce: Expanding Reach
The rise of e-commerce and mobile commerce has opened up new avenues for small businesses. They can now easily reach a global audience. Using websites and apps, companies can sell anywhere at any time.
It’s easier than ever to put up a secure payment gateway and take payments online. These “plug-and-play” e-commerce sites and apps can create a seamless user experience. This allows small businesses to build trust and encourage repeat purchases.
Businesses can easily understand customer preferences by leveraging data analytics. They can also optimize inventory management and personalize marketing campaigns.
By embracing e-commerce and mobile commerce, small businesses can grow quickly. They can extend their reach beyond geographical boundaries. As well as tap into new markets, thereby fueling growth opportunities.
4. Data Security: Safeguarding Trust
As businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies, data security becomes paramount. Small businesses are just as vulnerable to cyber threats as larger enterprises. This makes it essential to prioritize data security measures.
46% of all data breaches impact businesses with less than 1,000 employees.
It’s important to put robust cybersecurity practices in place. This includes things like:
Regular data backups
Identity and access management
Advanced threat protection
Additionally, two more tactics to proactively manage risks include:
Staying informed about emerging threats
Investing in employee training
Customers value businesses that focus on their data security. A strong security posture can instill trust and confidence. This leads to long-term customer loyalty and positive brand reputation.
5. Automation and Workflow Integration: Streamlining Operations
Automating business processes can significantly streamline operations. When small businesses integrate workflows they save time and money. Workflow automation eliminates repetitive manual tasks. It also reduces human error and enhances efficiency.
Think about integrating various systems and applications. Such as customer relationship management (CRM), project management, and accounting software. Integration can end silos and ensure seamless information flow across different departments.
Other benefits include:
Enabling better coordination
Optimizing resource allocation
Enhancing customer satisfaction
Small businesses that leverage automation and workflow integration gain a competitive advantage. They operate more efficiently and deliver superior experiences to their customers.
Take an Important Step Toward Digital Growth
In today’s digital era, small businesses have a ton of tech tools and trends at their disposal. But it takes guidance to know what to do and how to do it.
While embracing cloud computing, AI, e-commerce, data security, and automation can help. To stay competitive small businesses need a clear and affordable path. One that makes sense for their business goals.
We can be your digital transformation guide.
Give us a call today to schedule a chat about tech solutions to fuel your growth.
Whether you sell shoes or run an accounting firm, you need some type of technology to operate. Today’s companies aren’t just in the business of selling their own goods and services anymore. They also must master various types of digital tools.
These include software, payment systems, computers, Wi-Fi networks, mobile devices, and more. Companies also need to protect their devices and network.. If that technology isn’t working, it can impact a business significantly.
98% of surveyed organizations say that just one hour of IT downtime costs more than $100,000. The reliance on technology means that every company is now a technology company.
This is the case no matter what products you sell or services you provide. Let’s discuss exactly why this is the case in today’s world.
What Makes Technology a Backbone of Any Business?
1. Technology Is a Critical Part of Business
Even farmers use tech to check commodity prices, sell livestock, and keep their books. Most companies couldn’t operate without their software. Or without databases filled with important information.
IT downtime is so devastating for this very reason. Remember the breaches impacting global meat producer JBS and Colonial pipeline? Those companies had to halt operations because of ransomware attacks.
They both paid the ransom to their attackers so they could begin operating again. Without the technology that’s become a normal part of our day, a lot of companies would close.
2. Customers Expect an Excellent Digital Experience
Customer experience came in first in a survey of top business priorities for the next 5 years. Nearly 46% of respondents said it was at the top of their list.
If a customer has just one bad experience with your company, they will likely go elsewhere. In a digital world, those experiences are often:
Navigating your website
Appointment scheduling ease
Helpfulness of online chat
Response time from customer support
Ability to contact your company via social media
To keep up with consumer expectations in 2023 and beyond, means you need to use technology. From your website to your payment experience, people expect a smooth digital flow.
3. Employees Need Devices to Drive Productivity
How do employees work productivity without the use of a computer, tablet, or mobile device? These devices keep staff connected to each other and your customer data. Devices enable communication and are how much of the work in offices gets done. If they don’t run well, business productivity suffers.
4. AI & Automation Help Companies Stay Competitive
AI and automation help organizations move faster. AI can personalize a consumer shopping experience. Automation can help sales teams close 30% more deals and improve conversions by over 200%.
To stay competitive, companies must integrate technology tools with AI and automation capabilities. This means they need to know the best ways to use these tools. Plus, integrate them well with existing solutions.
5. Information Is Being Generated at a Rapid Pace
Companies generate information digitally at a dizzying pace. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to go back to all the paper files? You’d need a separate building just for all the filing cabinets.
Files, documents, and customer records are largely digital now. Keeping track of all that information and making it searchable requires technology skills.
6. Vendors/Suppliers Are Leaving Legacy Systems Behind
Think of the vendors you use to run your business. Could you interact with any of them offline only? No email, no digital documents? In most cases, the answer is, “No.”
The companies that you rely on for your business are also “technology companies” in the same way. Most will be leaving behind legacy systems like fax machines and paper documents. Thus, you need to use digital means to interact with them.
7. It’s Difficult to Grow Without Tech Innovation
People are limited by what they can mentally and physically do in a day. Computers and technology have exponentially increased that. They do a lot of the processing and manual work.
The cloud is often touted as leveling the playing field for small businesses. It allows smaller companies to leverage technology to do more affordably.
It’s hard to continue growing your business without the smart use of digital tools. This includes reviewing your technology infrastructure and looking at innovations on the horizon.
8. Business Continuity Needs
Business continuity is about keeping your company running despite any crisis events. One natural disaster could severely impact a building and everything in it. But, if you are storing your data in the cloud and using cloud software, your business can still operate.
Companies that aren’t employing backup systems are at significant risk. Tech solutions create the ability to continue operating from anywhere, increasing business resiliency.
What Does Your Innovation Roadmap Look Like?
Using technology securely and to its fullest can be a full-time job. Give us a call today, we can help take that burden off your shoulders.
The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that actually mean for businesses? Is it just something that social media companies need to be concerned about?
According to people like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the metaverse is coming. He stated that “Life without AR will soon be unthinkable.” Whether that’s a short-term or long-off prediction, companies need to be ready.
First comes the understanding of what the metaverse is. Metaverse is a general term – hence why it’s not capitalized like a proper name. The metaverse refers to a collective upgrade of the internet to a 3D virtual environment. This would be a world interconnected between various sites. These sites would reflect the immersive games that you see today.
Did Facebook/Meta invent the metaverse? No.
The idea of connected 3D immersive worlds has been around for decades. Several online gaming companies have staked a territory in the metaverse. But their applications are less interconnected.
What’s one of the best representations of the early metaverse? It’s a short-lived software called Adobe Atmosphere. This 3D immersive experience included interconnected online worlds. It also gave people the ability to chat with others. It was a bit before its time but shows how the concept of the metaverse has been around for a while.
The metaverse is getting attention now because technology has advanced. It has begun to catch up to the needs of such a world. This includes fast internet connections and immense processing power. It also includes a delivery method for 3D that works on most PCs.
Are we there yet? Not quite. But the metaverse is picking up steam. Recently, Microsoft announced a partnership with Meta. This partnership is to bring Microsoft 365 apps into the metaverse. This means collaboration in an entirely new way. Microsoft notes that 50% of Gen Z and millennials expect to do some of their work in the metaverse in the next two years.
How Does the Metaverse Impact Your Company?
With companies like Microsoft looking at the future of AR/VR, it could be a reality soon. You can expect the metaverse to touch your own company in some way in the next few years. Here’s a preview of what it may impact.
Where to Advertise
When the internet was first introduced, companies didn’t immediately realize its potential. Now, most companies wouldn’t consider operating without a website. It’s a necessity for driving leads and converting sales.
If the metaverse takes off as a new 3D iteration of the internet, it could be just as important. This means exploring metaverse-type advertising in virtual worlds. Also, potentially creating your own VR site or showroom.
How to Service Customers
As the popularity of social media took off, companies realized customers used it to reach out. Seventy-nine percent of consumers expect companies to respond to a social media message. And they expect that response within a day.
To address that need, many businesses have a social media presence. They use this for marketing and to answer questions and inquiries from customers.
The metaverse may be the next step. If people begin hanging out there, they will expect to interact with businesses in that space. Just like they do now with social networks.
This means companies need to be aware of how customers may be using the metaverse as it grows. Adding a question about metaverse use to a year-end customer survey could be a way to be proactive on this topic.
One of the touted benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable more immersive training. This could greatly increase training capabilities for everyone from doctors to forklift operators.
Imagine being able to replicate a task more closely in a virtual world. A person could safely make mistakes there. Then they could grow proficient before doing that thing in real life.
Start thinking about the types of training that your employees need. Then, look at ways that a VR world may make the training safer or more efficient. The metaverse may not have what you’re looking for now. But with the pace of technological advancement, it could in a year or two.
More Immersive Remote Team Collaboration
Virtual meetings skyrocketed out of necessity during the pandemic. Now, meeting by Teams or Zoom is commonplace. The next generation of online team meetings may end up being in a virtual world.
As we noted earlier, Microsoft is already working on bringing its apps into a virtual space. Add a few avatars and an immersive setting. Suddenly, you have a completely different meeting experience.
What’s one more way to enhance remote team collaboration in the metaverse? It has to do with building design and maintenance. Imagine being able to walk through a 3D recreation of a space before it’s built. Then fine-tuning the construction while inside that space.
Is Your Business Ready for the Next Digital Transformation?
What are your digital transformation plans for the next 12 months? The next three years? If you’re not sure where to begin, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a technology brainstorming session.
Just five or six years ago, VoIP was still considered a “different” type of business phone system. One that wasn’t the norm. But the pandemic changed that way of thinking. Now internet-based phone systems aren’t simply the norm. They’re mandatory for business continuity.
During the pandemic, VoIP and video conferencing have skyrocketed by over 210%. This is largely due to the move to remote work and hybrid offices. Sixty-seven percent of surveyed companies say switching to VoIP helps improve call handling.
So, no longer is the business phone system tied to a physical location. This enables fluid management of a business with staff spread out over many locations.
Additionally, VoIP significantly reduces costs for businesses. The technology is much cheaper to use than a traditional landline-based system. Calling plans are also often less expensive, and a company can add new numbers for very little cost.
VoIP has several helpful features for small businesses. But owners are busy and may not have time to have all of them enabled.
What are the best features to drive efficiency, productivity, and positive caller experience?
Here are some of the best features of cloud-based business phone systems to leverage.
In many small companies, the person answering the phone also has a lot of other duties. You can free up that person’s time and give the caller a better experience with an automated attendant.
An auto-attendant acts as a company directory. It will forward calls to the correct department or staff member for you. Record a pleasant greeting and ask the caller a few questions. Such as, “Press or say 1 for sales, 2 for technical support,” etc.
The caller gets the person they need without having to explain why they’re calling twice. Once to the person that answers the phone and once to the person they’re transferred to.
Find Me/Follow Me
What’s the most favorite user feature for VoIP? According to 77% of surveyed employees, it’s the Find Me/Follow Me feature. This includes the ability to use a virtual phone number that is accessible from all devices. Staff can also transfer calls from one device to another with ease.
Whether you are on a PC, in a conference room, or on your smartphone, you can get your calls. This feature reduces friction and allows people to give out a single phone number. Callers can then use that number to reach the person via mobile, home office, or onsite office.
Playing pleasant music while your callers are on hold might seem like a small thing. But it can have a big impact on customer satisfaction and lead generation activities.
We found some eye-opening statistics from a study on hold music versus silence. In the study, researchers kept people on hold for 1 minute. Results showed:
On hold in silence: Over 50% of the callers hung up
On hold with music: Only 13% of the callers hung up
Additionally, 45% of the silent group that did not hang up thought they were on hold for 3-5 minutes. They were on hold for just one minute. While on the music side, 56% of people thought they were on hold for less than one minute.
So, you can see the power of activating that one simple feature of your VoIP system. You may notice happier customers and fewer leads hanging up before they reach anyone.
Voicemail Transcription to Email
When you’re coming out of a meeting, going through a string of voicemails can be frustrating. You have to listen to each one to figure out the people to call back first.
Voicemail to email in VoIP services, provides recorded voicemails emailed to you. This also comes with a transcription of the message. You can quickly glance through the emails and scan the text to rank callbacks. No need to listen to every message first.
Ring groups are an especially helpful feature if you have a small team. It allows a group of numbers to ring simultaneously until one person in the group picks up.
This means that another staff member may be able to assist a caller, rather than them needing to leave a message. Ring groups are great to set up for sales teams, accounting teams, and customer support teams.
Another bonus of VoIP phone systems over analog is that you get real-time call reporting. What are your busiest times when you need more staff? Do you have a problem with calls not getting answered fast enough?
Your call reporting can give you insight into those things and more. Make sure you check out these reports and then automate the ones you like so you’ll see them regularly.
This isn’t a system feature, but it’s important to have. If you sign up for VoIP from a company halfway around the world, you don’t have any local support when you need it.
Having someone that can come to your office is important. They can set up VoIP desk phones and help you optimize ring groups, mobile apps, and more. Your business phone system is one of the most important pieces of technology you have. Make sure you have the local support you need to keep it operating reliably.
Looking for Local VoIP Solutions?
Get expert VoIP services and local support. We’ll integrate your cloud-based phone system with your entire technology environment. Contact us today for a free consultation.