Deciding which technology to apply to your company can be difficult. There is new hardware, software, and apps coming out every day that may or may not be useful for your business. That’s why we’ve provided some advice along with a short list on picking the right tech for your company.
Adopting New Technology
It is not only important to many of your customers that you have the latest tech gadget – it actually may save you time and money to adopt new technology. However, how does one go about deciding which new piece of technology to choose? Here is a quick primer to help you discover the best tech tool for your company:
Survey your customers and employees to find out what they need. While new technology may seem attractive, there is no point in going through the conversion process and the training necessary to make it useful if your clients or employees don’t need it.
Find out the challenges into which your customers and staff are running. It’s possible – and even probable – that some of your existing technology is not being used to its fullest. Find out from your customers and employees whether they are running into challenges and get your IT team to discover if this is the fault of existing tech or just user error.
For example, if your customers are having a hard time connecting to customer service online – get your IT team to test the system. You may have something as simple as a broken link on your website, or it could be that you have no one assigned to addressing Facebook questions.
Discover if you have employee training in place. A lot of inter-office technology does not get used to its fullest. This may be resolved with simple employee training on existing or new systems.
Weigh the viability of adopting a new piece of tech vs. how efficient your existing systems are. It’s possible that spending a little money on adopting and training employees on new technology will speed up processes and save you money in the long run. However, it’s important to be sure your new technology will resolve the missing pieces and gaps caused by existing systems.
Finally, make sure your new purchase will pay for itself. There is no point in taking the measures needed to train staff on new technology and implement a new system if the acquisition does not pay for itself. So, be sure that the technology will pay for itself through employee time saved, customer accessibility, increased sales, etc.
Ten Tech Upgrades Your Business May Need
You probably have a particular need like getting faster computers, automating everyday tasks, or upgrading your marketing. Although we certainly can’t cover every need in this article, we can provide you with a list of great apps and gadgets you can consider as you mull over what systems need to be upgraded – and which can remain.
- Team chat
Apps like Slack, Azendoo, and HipChat are great options for assisting a far-flung team in coordination while also keeping conversations, documents, and other shared information searchable. Many of these apps are free or come at a very low cost, yet provide teams with the ability to coordinate without multiple meetings.
If your business has employees that work from home or is a national or international concern, chat apps are a great way for teams to organize rapidly.
- Video conferencing
Teleconferencing with clients or absent team members can be expensive or incredibly annoying. Skype and Google Hangouts can drop calls or have frustrating delays. Try connecting with a more professional option like Intel Unite. If you have many teleconferences or if this is the main way you contact your clients, you need to have a system that works reliably and well.
- Commercial anti-virus software
Protecting your company with the right anti-virus software is critical. The hacks that happened around the world in May of this year made this need even more clear. While many small businesses decide against buying the full commercial packages, medical professionals or other businesses with additional security requirements should go for the high-end, more expensive commercial solutions. Symantec, Avira, Kaspersky, and Avast all have powerful enterprise products that may work for your needs.
- Hardware upgrades
Slow computers can cost you over time. The average slow computer will cost you about 63 hours of downtime, per employee, per year. You’re paying for that downtime, so hardware upgrades can be vital. While many businesses have these updates on a schedule, desktop computers aren’t your only hardware. You likely have servers, routers, and more. Make sure your IT team is examining and upgrading all of the components that make for speedy systems on a regular basis.
- Automated billing/banking
Automation isn’t always popular with employees, as they often worry that they will be automated out of a job. However, these systems usually work to make employee tasks easier and to cut down on mind-numbing daily tasks that are vital but utilize no creativity. One such task is billing and banking. Data entry for these tasks is rarely needed with software like Quickbooks, Intacct, Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management, and more. Great accounting software that automatically updates invoicing, banking, and more can help your accounting department stay accurate and concentrate on the many other duties they have on their plates.
- “Live Chat” on websites
Many customers like having the option to chat “live” with a customer service agent online. However, no blanket statement can be made on every client’s needs or wants, so it’s important to find out if your customers would use live chat and to have customer service agents trained on chat before you set up this service. Great options to consider for adding Live Chat to your customer service arsenal include Comm100, BoldChat, and LivePerson.
- Secure storage solutions
So many businesses are throwing out the filing cabinets and storing their data in the cloud. This makes a lot of information readily available to employees who need it – which can mean faster turnaround times and better client interactions. Encrypted online storage solutions include IDrive, Comodo Online Storage, CloudSafe, and Wuala.
- Newsletter and auto-follow-up solutions
One of the top reasons salespeople miss out on sales is a lack of follow up with their potential clients. This can be resolved by creating automated follow-up solutions like drip email campaigns and email newsletters. With MailChimp’s recent step into marketing automation, quality and pricing for these services vary widely. Options beyond MailChimp include Infusionsoft, Lead Liaison, ActiveCampaign, Salesforce, Autopilot, and more.
9. Social media management systems
While each social site touts the benefits of working directly on their platform, businesses need social media management systems. Many such systems will only work with specific social sites, and some provide more metrics than others. Sound management systems to explore are Hootsuite, Hubspot, SMhack, and eClincher.
- Data backup systems
Data loss is awful for any business. That’s why so many of us have in-house servers to which we backup our data. However, with so many backup solutions going onto the cloud, it may be time for your business to do off-site backups. These would protect your data against any disaster – which give you more peace of mind or may help if you have specific industry standards to which you must comply. Great enterprise cloud-based backup solutions include CrashPlan, eVault, DataBarracks, and Zetta.
Here at Business Success Consulting Group, we know that every aspect of your business is vital to its overall function. If you aren’t sure if upgrading your technology is the right move financially or organizationally, we can help! Contact us today to find out more about our Financial and Organizational Consulting services.