Where are you on the small business technology curve?
26 September 2016
Small businesses are known for leading the way when it comes to adapting change. Whether it’s a new employee incentive initiative or alternative management style, you’re more likely to see it first in a smaller business than in a large enterprise where corporate politics and timelines generally slow innovation. Many of us have experienced a “start-up mentality” that is common within newer small businesses, with open plan, colourful offices furnished with a foosball table and large motivational images adorning the walls. Organisations push forward with strategies such as the above in order to promote a healthy work life balance, boost staff motivation, and ultimately improve productivity (and as a result, profit).
The same concept can be applied to business technology. IT is an incredibly fast moving industry ripe with innovation. New technologies are released regularly, designed to improve concepts such as agility, business continuity and employee productivity, whilst driving down IT costs and enhancing the overall customer experience. Leading SMBs are utilising such technologies alongside the “functional” aspects of their network, and are enjoying the benefits as a result.
However, many SMBs are restricted by common challenges such as time, resources and budget. Small businesses looking to implement technologies that improve processes need to ensure they are focusing in the right areas – solving necessary problems, before implementing “nice to haves”.
There are many ways you can build upon and enhance your small business network in order to achieve objectives such as improved business processes, reduced costs, and employee motivation.
Here are three key areas you could start your small business’s technology journey:
1. Collaborate with Unified Communications
No matter the business size or sector, strong communications are the key to success. Although most small businesses already operate with the likes of telephony and email, these are commonly siloed, which can make internal collaboration and also customer communication more difficult, time consuming, and frustrating.
Unified Communications (UC) solutions such as ShoreTel Connect allow organisations to communicate to their individual preferences, and make business interactions as easy as personal ones. As an added bonus, UC makes internal and external collaboration simple and effective, and can also reduce overall communication costs.
2. Embrace the flexibility of the cloud
Most organisations are already utilising the cloud in one way or another, maybe through the form of application delivery, or hosted storage. However, the extent to which the cloud can be used to optimise business networks can reach a lot further.
Operating from the cloud increases flexibility, mobility and agility, and can also make costs more manageable by removing high capital hardware expenses.
3. Consolidate and virtualise your hardware
Virtualisation makes your current IT assets more cost effective by pooling hardware resources. This type of software allows small businesses to reduce the amount of hardware they are using by running “virtual” versions of them, improving inventory management and costs.
There are many types of technologies that you can virtualise, most commonly servers and storage. One particular virtualisation technology comes in the form of virtual desktops, in which your employee endpoints are consolidated and centralised on your network, rather than stored locally on individual machines. This allows users to access their network from anywhere, and also enhances overall security as data isn’t stored on the device.
Are you a small business looking to improve business processes through the use of innovative technology? Get in touch with Prodec Networks today to discover ways that you can empower your employees and reduce operational costs.