Article by: Chelsea Lamb
For small and mid-sized businesses of any description, learning to embrace and utilize technology is imperative for survival. Reaching digital maturity can allow for faster expansion, greater adaptability, smarter decision-making, and improved efficiency – here are a few areas to focus on.
Astoundingly, a third of businesses still haven’t invested in online marketing. This makes even less sense when you consider the host of free software available to those in the startup and scaleup spaces. If you want to improve your return-on-investment and build on brand awareness, it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with the common tools. Make use of CRMs, and automation systems (like Marketo or Zoho).
Business Process Management
Business Process Management (or BPM) is a discipline that allows companies to refine their processes via data & analysis. If you’re able to accurately quantify your company’s internal operations, you can then work to streamline and improve them. This is an ongoing process, meaning that, after you’ve created your BPM framework, it’s important to regularly monitor its effectiveness and act on this information to sharpen any irregularities. There are a number of BPM solutions/technologies available to aid in these efforts – make sure to check online reviews and explore testimonials before opting for one.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of cloud computing when running a modern business. In a nutshell, Cloud Computing refers to the use of any hardware/software delivered via a network. By relying on the internet for your business’ infrastructure, you can run operations remotely, reduce costs, store data on cloud servers, secure your information, increase the efficiency of your day-to-day performance and lift the barriers preventing you from scaling up.
Digital innovation has many applications in the sales process, including but not limited to lead generation, need & deliberation, pitching methods, interactive sales tools and automation. Failure to introduce basic digital solutions into your sales process could result in a loss of revenue and mismanagement of your teams. Refine your operations by establishing a clear sales pipeline that makes use of digital tools (such as digital value calculators and interactive sales tool kits).
Poor financial management is often counted among the most common reasons for business failure in the startup/scaleup stages. If your or your accountant’s methods are outdated, this will be reflected in your bottom line. Beyond just computer spreadsheets, try to adopt intelligent accounting software that will automate the more menial tasks, allow you to budget more effectively, track timesheets, manage invoices and generate more accurate projections.
Given the growing ease of app development, many companies are now looking to build proprietary software that will give them an edge over the competition. This is just another reason why your business could benefit from having programmers on its staff – with the right coding expertise, you can improve the interface/user experience on your site, build brand-specific applications for external use or use machine learning to develop an internal-only program that could help you to generate leads, store data or simply communicate more easily between teams.
Digital learning or ‘eLearning’ refers to the methods of formalized teaching that rely upon electronic resources. These new methods are of major advantage to the student as you can pick up new skills and knowledge from anywhere with a working internet connection and benefit from intelligent UX, designed to improve the speed at which you learn. Once you’ve developed a single learning program, you can use this (and update it) to automate in-company learning processes (such as onboarding), saving time and resources.
It’s uncommon to find a business in the modern age that doesn’t rely on digital comms tools. This said many have been slow to innovate, relying on email or outdated IM programs to communicate between departments. If you want to increase the expediency of your team, it’s vital that you research and implement the latest software for the sake of file sharing, project management, and video conferencing.
For many companies, HR is not considered a top priority but recent years have seen increased interest in ‘people practices’ and this is partly due to advances in technology. Digital HR solutions use data and analytics to finetune the recruitment process, improve the employment experience of your team, automate tedious tasks and develop the environment that will help you to attract top-tier candidates.
Learning to embrace and implement digital innovation is crucial for any company that wants to survive in a competitive marketplace. With an open mind and an eye on the budget, you can complete your journey to digital maturity and push the limits of your business.
Image by Pexels