The internet was supposed to increase productivity and reduce costs for a business. That is what justifies the expense of having it and the capital investment of the computers and technology to use it. Many businesses have not fully embraced the capabilities it provides however, so the return in terms of actual increased productivity is greatly diminished. Making the most of the capabilities it provides is an easy first step to increased profits and sustainability as a business.
Real Business Applications for the Internet
If you ask many business owners how they utilize the internet for their business you will get a list of generic responses like email and customer support, online orders and sales, and perhaps a mention of marketing. While these are all very sound business applications, the fact is they are just the tip of the iceberg and if that is all that is being accomplished then many businesses would be better served by outsourcing the web sales and customer support than paying labor costs and IT costs for what amounts to a small percentage of actual revenue. That is why many franchised businesses do not maintain their own website or even have internet access on a local level.
The real cost savings and productivity increases found by using the internet are in labor, travel, market research, and accountability. If you maximize these areas then the cost of IT and the internet will become a positive savings effort rather than an expense. The key to these applications is having the infrastructure available to use them. MCL Data Solutions or similar places can provide the fiber optics and connections to make your internet capable of these applications to realize the full potential of the internet in your business.
Where to Look for Biggest Savings
The single largest cost savings of the internet currently available is in savings of travel expenses. The ability to conduct video face to face meetings with clients and conduct meetings from remote locations not only eliminates non-productive travel time, but the need for company cars or airfare reimbursement, hotel costs, and all the associated expenses can be slashed if not eliminated. While many appreciate the gesture of a face to face meeting, most business decisions ultimately come down to cost so if you are able to offer a quality product or service at a significantly reduced cost the loss of a handshake after dinner will have less value than a 20% reduction in cost to the client.
Labour costs can be significantly reduced by utilization of telecommute contract employees. Rather than the expense of full benefits and liability for unemployment and disability, use of contract labor allows for highly skilled work force that can be increased or decreased on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of any particular business cycle. By allowing telecommuting you will greatly increase the area you can hire from as well as the expertise level of the employee.