Businesses That Invest in Tech Do Better
By Carlos Soto - January 22, 2019
Are you thinking about using the extra money you're getting back from Uncle Sam this year to invest in new technology for your business? There are lots of good reasons why you should, including a 2018 U.S. Chamber of Commerce report that says small businesses that lead in technology are more likely to report growth. Here are some reasons why:
Eighty-nine percent of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. When customers connect with you, they expect fast, friendly, and easy to use service in the channel that's most convenient to them - whether that's social media, your websites and apps, over the phone, or in person. The right technologies can help you radically improve your communications, point of sale options, digital marketing, and social media presence.
Large companies once had the advantage in exploiting new technology, but now small businesses can get software, apps, and other development products that are better and cheaper than the ones once used exclusively by the big guys. Tools like artificial intelligence and customer data analysis - which once seemed out of reach - are now available and affordable. Small businesses with the agility to adopt new tech will race ahead of competitors.
Better technology also equals faster. It's that simple. Automation reduces the time spent on repetitive work. Some apps reduce tasks which once took humans days to just minutes. Time is money.
Better technology boosts productivity in myriad ways. Automation lets workers devote more of their time to higher-level tasks. When tech works, there's less downtime, which obviously has a profound effect on productivity.
As the workplace becomes ever more centered around mobile devices, competition in experience not only applies to your customers, it's important for attracting and retaining great employees too. Workers want the same cutting-edge technology they have in their personal lives on the job. And, they want to be able to connect whenever and wherever they want. That includes access to email, files, and communicating with coworkers in real time - even if they're not in the office. Ways to facilitate this include allowing workers to use their own devices, cloud storage, enhanced mobile security, and team management apps. As if having happy employees isn't incentive enough, there's real evidence workers who can contribute remotely are more productive. A recent Stanford University study found people who can work from home are 13 percent more efficient due to fewer distractions. A Gallup poll shows employees who work remotely are not only more productive, they're more engaged with the company too.
As large corporations have improved security, hackers are targeting smaller organizations with weaker defenses. Putting your network behind a firewall and buying some antivirus software isn't enough. To avoid the financial cost and potential damage to reputation and business processes from a cyber attack, businesses must invest in state-of-the-art proactive and robust defense measures.
Avoid Being the Victim of Disruption
And of course, a good reason to invest in technology is to keep from being left behind. You don't want to be a Blockbuster® when Netflix® comes to town. Businesses that stay informed about the latest technological advances in their industry, and have the flexibility to adopt and take advantage of them, stand a far lower threat of being disrupted by newcomers.
Before You Leap, You Need to Evaluate
All that said, not all new technology is good technology, so you shouldn't throw money at unproven opportunities without careful thought and evaluation. Some things to consider are the intended business outcome, reliability and scalability, cost, and strength of support.
Get an Adviser
As technology gets more and more complicated, few small businesses have the technical expertise to properly evaluate or implement cutting-edge digital solutions. Just like you have a financial adviser or accountant to help you navigate the difficulties of staying on the good side of the IRS, you need a trusted tech adviser to counsel you on the potential benefits of new tech, the possible pitfalls, and to help you evaluate the current state of your tech and possible weak points. Partnering with a managed IT services provider is a cost-effective way to get the advice you need to keep you ahead.