Every smart business leader is looking for ways to do more with less. Efficiency is the Holy Grail of corporate objectives. Every business — even the largest and most established companies — faces resource constraints. Human capital, equipment, and other assets cost money. If they aren’t contributing to revenue growth, you’ll have a hard time staying ahead of your competition. Here are three areas of your business that need tech now.
Not surprisingly, modern business leaders are increasingly turning to technology to give them an advantage. That might mean replacing traditional accounting processes with QuickBooks or relying on a CRM like Salesforce to streamline business development. Businesses around the world will have spent roughly $4 trillion on IT by the time this year is over, as more companies migrate to the cloud and strengthen their network security.
If you’re a leader wondering how technology can make you more efficient and improve your business processes, look to these areas:
Modern technology virtually eliminates the need for paper recordkeeping. Digital storage solutions make records more accessible; encryption simultaneously keeps them more secure. The time employees would otherwise spend searching for documents and processing paperwork can be put to use in more impactful ways. Moreover, digital transformation can help you significantly cut down on the inevitable errors of human beings handling the paperwork.
Integrating technology into your workflows will be easier in the future if you digitize your existing records system now. A digital document management system can serve as a central electronic filing cabinet. It can then be integrated with new tools to streamline other processes and eliminate bottlenecks down the road. Depending on your company’s size, digitizing could be a significant investment. However, the payoff will be worth it.
2. Internal Communication.
Effective communication is crucial to any collaborative effort. Unless you’re a company of one, you’ll want to ensure your teams have the tools needed for managing projects and communicating seamlessly. “While most people will tell you to go with the latest, most cutting-edge tools available, it’s important to evaluate your audience and consider what will be most convenient and acceptable to them,” explains Twain Taylor, a technology analyst. “Banks, for example, have quite specific mandates in terms of compliance and regulations and would not want their employees discussing accounts on WeChat or sharing information on Slack.”
There’s a plethora of (similar) workplace messaging apps and communication tools available. Don’t overwhelm your employees with too many options; this will create the same inefficiencies and bottlenecks you’re trying to eliminate. Instead, find one platform that meets your needs. Work with your team members to ensure they’re comfortable using it.
3. Quality Assurance.
Human beings are fallible. After a long day on the job or a sleepless night, mistakes are almost inevitable. In fields like healthcare, reducing errors is vital. In fact, one study revealed that preventable medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., underscoring just how pervasive workplace mistakes really are. Fortunately, technology can help you minimize opportunities for human error in your processes.
Automation is one way to reduce opportunities for error while speeding up processes. “An automated work order system makes it easy to stick to work order management best practices and maximizes employee productivity by eliminating the flow of paper documents or the need to manually update spreadsheets,” explains Jeff Emrich, CEO, and co-founder of BlueFolder Software, a field service, and work order software solutions company. Automation can expedite approval, billing, invoicing, communication, and much more. In addition, AI can reduce the frequency of product defects. For instance, auto manufacturers can use the Industrial Internet of Things sensors to gather data from cars coming off the assembly line and use AI to pinpoint potential issues. This allows them to find defects before cars are on the road.
It’s probably fair to say that we’re in the midst of a technological arms race — and it doesn’t look to be slowing anytime soon. If your business is seeking to improve operations and make processes more efficient, integrate technologies in these areas. The long-term payoff will justify any short-term pain.