As a company owner, technology is last aspect of business that you want to ignore. The only traditional aspect of business of you should hold on to is the value of being a good boss; everything else should be managed with the intention of constant improvement and advancement. If your business is growing, you should strongly think about harnessing technology to improve the processes that will allow you to scale accordingly.
In the United States, the National Small Business estimates that company owners who neglect to update their office technology tend to fall far behind the competitive curve for reasons that they do not notice right away. For example, 50 percent of American business owners reported that their operations were compromised by cybercrime in 2014; in many cases, these were companies that failed to upgrade their information security systems. Here are four essential technology upgrades that you should strongly consider.
Mobile Internet Presence
No matter the type of industry you operate in or the size and scope of your business, your online presence should be as friendly as possible to users of mobile devices. All markets are going mobile, particularly those that offer goods and services on a retail basis. In 2017, four out of every five American shoppers used either tablets or smartphones to make purchases or payments.
A strong mobile presence starts with responsive web design and search engine optimization that follows the recommendations established by Google; this means either adopting the Accelerated Mobile Pages scheme or taking advantage of Google Plus and Google My Business, which are considered to be efficient mobile SEO practices.
Project Management Solutions
In the 20th century, small business owners realized that they could take advantage of some of the practices used by the civil engineering and real estate development industries. You don’t have to be an architect, engineer or developer to use project management solutions; as long as your employees are assigned tasks that result in the completion of certain goals, you can manage your business as a series of projects.
Modern project management software from companies like Workfront or similar businesses is very flexible in the sense that it adjusts to just about any industry. The solution you choose should ideally run on the cloud and work across many platforms such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Paperless Cloud Platforms
In the previous century, paperless office environments were not as efficient as initially intended due to the high cost of maintaining client/server architecture models. In the 21st century, cloud computing has made the paperless office a new paradigm in doing business.
If your company is still using paper forms and documents, you don’t have to handle the transition to paperless yourself. These days, cloud computing consultants can take on projects to digitize and archive existing paper archives and shifting entire data structures to the cloud.
Secure BYOD Policies
With the right “Bring Your Own Device” office policy and an adequate cloud computing solution, your hardware expenditures could be substantially lowered. BYOD assumes that today’s tech-savvy workforce may prefer to use their personal computing devices instead of what their offices may have to offer. For example, you may have employees whose Microsoft Surface tablets are probably nimbler than your office workstations; other employees might be comfortable accessing their cloud workspace on their mobile browsers.
Security is the most important concern in all BYOD policies, and it is not as easy to implement as you may initially think. The best course of action is to hire an in-house IT security expert who can configure staff devices and keep them safe. You should only choose BYOD if you are actually able to define a private space within your employee’s device without snooping into her personal data. In the end, the four tech upgrades listed herein are only the start of a long relationship that you must create and foster between your small business and technology.