Technology is so deeply embedded into the world of business that it can sometimes be difficult to spot what your own firm is missing. You’re constantly online, and you feel that you and your staff are constantly onboarding onto a new product that you’ve been told by procurement is set to save you time and cash. Still, there may well be a number of tech products, solutions, and partners with which you are yet to partner and who may help improve the performance of your business. Here are the top ten for you to consider engaging with this year.
1. Instant Communication
Instant chat is something that most people associate with their private lives. That’s all changed with the rise of Slack and the parallel rise of remote working, which is coming to dominate many mature economies in the professional services sector. Partner with an app that helps your workers communicate across time and space to make remote, flexible work easy and to help teams get along throughout the year. There are a handful of apps to select here, so do take your time researching which best suits your needs.
It’s worth finding a partner for teleconferencing and sticking to it – rather than hopping between different providers and different calendar invitations in order to get people on a call with you and your team. The two market leaders in this space, after the relative fall of Skype, are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. These are excellent products that let you run meetings smoothly and with minimum hassle. Just pick one, send out a company email about which you’ve chosen, and make sure you stick to it for the future.
Larger firms will have a financial specialist, a CFO, or even a whole accounting team to run their numbers. Smaller firms, though, might just give the job of totting up sales and overheads to different workers on an ad hoc basis, which can lead to errors, miscalculations, and wasted time. Instead, it’s far better to rely on automated accounting software, which often reveals your financial habits, your spending, and your profitability in real-time. That’s a huge boon for firms that were previously starved of their financial data.
There’s no doubt that the world of cybersecurity software is now something all businesses must be involved in. Even the smallest businesses are at risk of attacks that may not be specifically directed at them but which might, nonetheless, impact their operations and their bottom lines. Sonrai Dig has an excellent explainer on why this security must now spread to the cloud, which we’re all using to perform our work duties and which is particularly exposed to the hackers of the future. Purchase cybersecurity software to protect from disruption and the negative PR that emerges when your firm is hacked.
If you’re a medium-sized business, you’ll be spending upwards of $10,000 per year on hardware. You need to provide workers with smartphones and laptops in order to help them work, and you may well add to that monitors and tablets. Taken together, that’s a huge part of your outgoings, so it’s well worth attempting to establish a partnership with a hardware firm that will provide you with slightly cheaper deals, or upgraded models, for your staff. Reach out to hardware firms to enquire about these relationships and to see what you may be able to negotiate.
Automation is a broad tent and a wide field. It covers everything from HR processes to customer services to the number-crunching in your finance department. Fundamentally, though, automation technology has one very simple claim for itself: it’ll help you get tasks completed faster and with far less human input. Often, automation targets mundane and repetitive jobs that your staff hate performing. Onboarding with automation technology can therefore save you time, make your staff happier, and remove human error from the processes that you’re targeting with this cutting-edge software. Research the field to select options you feel will work for your firm.
If your company is a customer or consumer-facing one, you should certainly partner with firms that have developed chatbots. These helpful and friendly digital assistants are there to respond to the first inquiries made by web users. They might get in touch with you over email, over social media, or on your website directly. The brilliant thing about chatbots is that they save your customer services personnel a huge amount of time – the bot directs them to relevant resources without your having to pick up the phone.
As broad as automation, analytics is all about the gathering and the processing of business data in order to present insights and forecasts that’ll inform your decision-making down the line. It’s such an important part of the modern business landscape that this form of software is diversifying to cover many niches. Marketing analytics is a well-developed field, as is financial analytics. Consider using this technology to boost your understanding of your business activity to date.
9. Social Media
It would be foolish for any business to discount the value of social media in the information age. Some firms may have dragged their heels about setting up a Facebook profile a handful of years ago but will now have accepted that it’s a world that they must dip their feet into. For forward-facing businesses, Instagram, TikTok, Roblox, and the metaverse are the finest advertising, marketing and engagement opportunities in 2022.
10. IT Support
To help you implement all of the above, some IT support is absolutely necessary for every business. Some will be large enough to hire full-time, in-house staff. Smaller firms, meanwhile, may have to get by with an IT specialist on call or on retainer who’s able to turn up to fix bugs, respond to patches, or help employees onboard with a new program. IT experts are a must for modern businesses – they help facilitate the positive changes introduced above.
These ten technological products or platforms should be the focus of your digital modernization efforts in 2022 and beyond.