The world of business today is almost unrecognizable to that of even just twenty years ago. With our increased reliance upon tech, computers, and the internet, firms have entered a new age of immediate communication, online sales, increased efficiency, and automation.
Indeed, it’s now very difficult to picture a single aspect of our work or personal lives that hasn’t changed in some way changed since the advent of computers and modern tech. In particular, software and apps have had a transformative effect on most things we do – everything from how we communicate to how we shop and search for information.
Software is everywhere in business and changing all aspects of work
From a purely work perspective, software now plays a pivotal role in most companies, from the production line right up to the board room, with companies increasingly integrating computers, robots, and tech into their operations to drive greater efficiency. However, if your firm has yet to make the transition – or is struggling to find ways to run more effectively - below are just a few ways you could use tech to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals.
Step one – move your entire digital operations and software to the cloud
Before looking at how software can be used to drive your firm’s efficiency, it would perhaps be safe to consider where to run those apps. In today’s increasingly mobile world, where the majority of us rely on our devices for everything from social media updates to staying in touch with clients and colleagues, moving a firm’s digital assets and operations to the cloud makes perfect sense for the majority of companies.
Cloud tech can make your workforce truly mobile, allowing access to important documents and software from any location in the world where they can find an internet connection. Also, as cloud tech relies on remote computers, it can empower even the most basic of devices to perform processor-hungry tasks, relaying completed files over the internet.
Moreover, cloud platforms offer increased security to your firm by handing your cybersecurity considerations to a professional provider. With the huge amount of software now used by most companies on a day-to-day basis, a cloud service provider can also perform a full Software Composition Analysis to check for potential loopholes or similar vulnerabilities (even if the original development company failed to do so).
Automate repetitive, time-consuming, or manual tasks
Software has come a long way in a very short time – particularly recently – and with Artificial Intelligence (AI) finally now starting to deliver on its promise, there are likely huge chunks of your company’s operations you could move to be performed by applications.
Computers aren’t just cheaper and quicker than humans – they’re also considerably more accurate and reliable. If you take a step back from how your firm currently operates, you’ll no doubt be able to identify multiple areas and processes that would be better performed by a machine – everything from your payroll to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Any area of your current work practices that requires manual, time-consuming, or (especially) repetitive tasks would likely benefit from being automated.
Install project management applications
Keeping team members in the loop has long been a headache for firms of all sizes – big or small. However, modern project management apps allow instant updates, reminders, video/voice/email/messaging capabilities, and collaborative working on shared files meaning staying on top of jobs and their deliverables has never been easier.
The best project management apps run in the cloud, accessible by staff from anywhere in the world they can find an internet connection. Also, the cloud-based nature of these apps makes them far more capable by drawing on the power, storage, and RAM of remote machines.
Look at using time-tracking apps
Most bosses are aware that the time spent on a task does not necessarily translate into time spent productively. We can all suffer from the age-old problem of becoming distracted or simply dropping our output levels but using time-tracking apps will allow you to identify possible problem areas in your processes to find a remedy.
Time trackers can also help you see which staff are performing best compared to their peers – allowing you to offer high-performers promotion while also seeing if slower members might be lacking training or could benefit from a sideways move to a role that suits them better.
How reporting software can also identify problem areas
If you’ve been running your business any length of time, you likely already have expectations as to how long each project you take on should last. If you install reporting software, you can start using this data as a benchmark to track individual projects on a one-by-one basis to see where delays or problems arose. It’s not uncommon for companies using reporting software to discover the same issues that happened time and time again – areas that, in many cases, are relatively easy to fix. However, only through studying the data will you begin to realize these flashpoints and begin addressing them.