Companies of all types are looking for ways to be more efficient and productive. It’s no wonder, especially when some statistics show that employees are productive for less than 3 hours in an 8-hour workday.
Technology improves efficiency and productivity in organizations. As a small business, how can you leverage technology? You have to focus on the right technologies for your company and your workers.
That’s not always easy to do, and investing in technologies that don’t help your cause will drain resources, rather than boost your bottom line. Read on to find out how you can make smart technology investments that will improve efficiency and productivity.
What Do You Want Technology to Do?
You can invest in just about any type of technology and systems for your business. The big question is what do you want that technology to do for your business?
In other words, when you invest in technology, what do you expect the end result to be? You might want to make your manufacturing processes faster. If you’re a software company, you’ll want to be able to release new products on time. An ecommerce company may need to focus on customer service and order fulfillment.
These are just some of the ways that technology can make your business more efficient. The best way to determine what your specific needs are is to audit your business processes.
Look throughout your organization to determine where there are errors or slow progress. You’ll need to interview employees to discover what tools and resources are missing from their work. You may discover that employees aren’t engaged in their work.
The next step would be to ask if there are tools that can increase engagement and find out what those tools are.
You’ll need to view the audit through the lens of improving efficiency. You’re answering how well the inputs (employee work) converts into outputs (tangible results). You’ll examine the processes and tools used to find out where the opportunities lie.
Once you have your list of opportunities, you’ll need to decide where to prioritize your spending.
Technology Options to Improve Efficiency
When you have your list, you’re going to need to determine what tools you need to improve efficiency. Technology improves efficiency only if you get the right tools for the job. Here are some of the common technology solutions used to make teams more productive and efficient.
A customer relationship management system is used to keep track of leads and contacts. CRM is important for many types of businesses that rely on sales and customer service to survive. Some CRM tools even bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams, which isn’t an easy feat.
For example, you can use a CRM system to launch a content marketing campaign that generates leads. You can then automate an email sequence that can encourage leads to take the next step towards making a purchase.
You can use the tools to gauge the level of interest that a lead has by analyzing their interactions. The more email opens and clicks, the more likely they are to be interested in your product or service. That turns into a warm lead for the sales team to convert into a sale.
A CRM can also be used to follow up with leads and keep them in the pipeline. You can maintain those relationships without having a lead fall through the cracks.
It’s critical to have a way to manage your business finances. All too often, errors are made in calculating cash flow, payroll, and profit margins. You have to have a system that will track these and deliver sound reporting.
Keeping things in a spreadsheet is no longer an option and it could cost more in the long run. Payroll errors can result in fines by the IRS or Department of Labor. The IRS assessed fines averaging $845 to small businesses that made mistakes that resulted in the underpayment of payroll taxes.
Not only that but most businesses that close do so because they don’t effectively manage cash flow. You don’t want to be in that position because you didn’t have the tools in place to track your finances.
One way small businesses are becoming more agile is by moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. This is internet-based computing, where programs are accessed through the internet, instead of a local network.
That allows employees to access their important information no matter where they are.
Did you find that there are problems in your processes, rather than the technology you use? If that’s the case, then you’ll need to examine ways to improve your processes.
There are frameworks and methodologies that are designed to make teams more efficient. For example, IT teams frequently depend on the SAFe DevOps method to create a collaborative environment and automate as much as possible.
You can read more about SAFe DevOps here.
Evaluating Technology Solutions
When you look at all of the possible ways that technology can improve efficiency in your workplace, you can easily get overwhelmed. You’ll find that for each area, there are dozens of technology solutions to choose from.
How can you effectively evaluate what’s out there and find out what’s right for your business? Stick to your needs. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the features that some tools offer.
You want to make sure that you’re clear on the problem that needs to be solved and the tool can solve it.
Your budget is also another factor. Thanks to cloud computing, most solutions will be affordable with monthly payments based on the number of users.
Technology Improves Efficiency, With the Right Tools
There’s no doubt that technology improves efficiency. You have to be mindful of what tools you choose and make sure that you understand the challenges at hand.
That’s the only way you’ll invest in technologies that truly improve efficiency and performance. Visit the home page of this site for more business resources.