So much so that owners of small businesses, and managers of larger ones, now have plenty of options to choose from when deciding which applications will meet their particular needs.
Before diving into any one application, it could first be helpful to consider the potential upside of introducing new technology, in general, to the management side of your business. Below are four benefits that could make an investment worthwhile.
Eliminating steps from routine management processes helps you reallocate time to more value-generating activities, as well as reduce the potential for human error. Technology can help achieve this automation in many areas: CRM, project management, sales, inventory management, accounting, human resources, etc. Larger businesses with larger budgets can look towards enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. A good question to ask in evaluating any given application or system is: “Does it help me automate any manual tasks in a way that creates value for my business?”
Many businesses use locally-based management tools and systems that physically store important business data. Cloud-based technologies provide the ability to store contracts, government memos, customer and employee information, receipts, bank statements, and more on a virtual server. Not only would the right technology provide security from the hazards associated with storing files in a physical place - it would also give you easier and quicker access to important documents.
Another important benefit the right technology can bring is the ability to transmit and share information more readily with team members, customers, and clients. Applications now allow you to collaborate on a management project, organize and assign tasks, and see who is doing what in real time from remote locations. The obvious downside in implementing collaborative technologies is the increased difficulty to become unavailable.
Measuring business performance requires as much transparency and responsiveness as possible from each core area of your business. The cleaner the data, and the sooner you have it reported, the more advantageous it can be for strategic decision-making. Technology exists that, if used in the best way, can give you more insight and visibility into past performance and present opportunities.
Business management technology can be utilized at a low cost for small businesses, especially as more providers move to monthly subscription costs for access (instead of forcing you to purchase licenses). Incorporating different applications into your setup could allow you to quickly cover the initial and ongoing investment costs, and potentially give your bottom line a bump as you replace inefficient systems and save on labor costs. The benefits of technology are plenty, but finding their best use for your particular business will take diligence, as well as a little trial and error.