Technology advancement has never been more important than in 2020, with the pandemic revealing the true importance of digital transformation and efficiency.
Businesses with solid technology support in place were able to move to a WFH model much more seamlessly than those without, which of course, will have had not-so-great knock-on effects further down the line in terms of service disruption and customer satisfaction.
Investing in tech is – now – probably widely agreed to be one of the most important aspects for a thriving modern company, with most consumer groups expecting an easy and convenient digital experience from businesses.
This week, we asked different business leaders to tell us about their views on technology in business and how reliant they are on good tech.
Chris Rich, Head of Customer Success at Square Australia
Technology that streamlines operations and takes the admin burden away from business owners is now the backbone of every good business, big or small. For so long, the uptake of technology has been dominated by big businesses with the resources and expertise to seamlessly integrate it into their operations. However, today businesses of all sizes have easy access to more affordable technology than ever before. Whether it’s to facilitate remote work, activate an eCommerce store or offer takeaway and delivery options, technology in the post-COVID world is ubiquitous with daily life. During unprecedented times, every customer, every transaction, and every dollar matters, and businesses who implement the right technology are able to better maximise their time, business efficiencies and customer experience. From payments software and delivery, to inventory management and data analytics, technology can help you work smarter and cater to new and evolving consumer habits in a rapidly changing world.
Suzanne Mitchell, Australia Director of Marketing, GoDaddy
For businesses, irrespective of size or industry, the benefits of technology aren’t just short-term. Today, Australian consumers are increasingly digital savvy; searching for businesses, purchasing goods, being entertained and booking services online more than ever before. It’s a trend that is likely to continue, so business owners should consider how technology can help them be active where their customers are. Whether it’s adding an eCommerce store to their website or using email marketing, social media and SEO to engage with customers, the businesses that use technology to stay top of mind with customers and streamline their operations could be those best-placed to grow in the ‘new normal’.
Weh Yeoh, CEO and Co-Founder, Umbo
Umbo exists because of a very clear problem. There are not enough speech and occupational therapists in rural communities and children are waiting up to 18 months for these services.
As a practicing physiotherapist, I worked in Western NSW in the early 2000s, and I recall that wait times were similar to now. The biggest change has been technology and the rollout of faster internet.
At Umbo, we believe that if we give our clinicians the opportunities to work where and when they want to, and connect them to people in need, then this lack of supply is no longer an issue.
Hence, technology plays a central role to our social enterprise, not just the way in which it connects children to therapists, but also the organisation as a whole. We are an entirely remote workforce and hence, technology is an integral way of connecting the team, and the team to our clients.
Eric Holtsmark, General manager of strategy, transformation and technology, Konica Minolta
Having good technology helps small and medium businesses (SMBs) overcome new industry challenges and propel business growth, particularly as businesses emerge from the recent disruption and adapt to a changed and continually evolving landscape.
Technology, especially automation, unlocks a better way for SMBs to work by freeing employees from mundane, tedious and repetitive tasks while improving business operations. With the right systems, even the smallest business can improve agility, employee engagement, creativity and innovation, and market competitiveness. They can eliminate wasted time (and money), and dramatically reduce costly errors with technologies that take the human element out of these tasks. This lets employees focus on more valuable work.
Whether businesses are looking for simple process automation, robots for improved customer service and logistics, mobile collaboration technology for operational flexibility, or complex artificial intelligence-powered decision-making automation, it’s clear that having the right technology has never been more valuable or essential.
Steve Orenstein, CEO of Locate2U
Good technology is vital to most businesses as we’ve all had those experiences where your computer, internet or software is playing up. It dramatically reduces productivity and sometimes makes everything come to a grinding halt. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit, companies have been forced to adapt and pivot to online business models sooner than ever before. In that way, it really has been quite astounding in how it is driving innovation. Whether it’s remote working or changing services to go contactless, it will change the way we live and work with regards to technology.
We’ve had some great customer stories, such as the Husk Bakery, where our technology has enabled people to dramatically increase productivity, increase customers by around 30% and reduce unnecessary phone calls by 95%. This is because customers can track where the bakery is at any moment in time. Being cloud-based, our software enables whole companies to allow their staff to work remotely without needing to reconfigure anything. Therefore, our business is solely reliable on good technology.
Adam Ioakim, Managing Director APAC at Emarsys
In almost every industry, good technology is increasingly the foundation for success. Technology can be the tool that enables seamless workflows, optimises operations or allows a business to reach an untapped audience.
This has never been more true than right now. In the last few months, the world of work has relied heavily on good technology to adapt, and quickly. For example, in the retail industry, having a digital platform was the difference for many retailers between shutting up shop and sales booming.
It’s no secret that technology is changing the relationships between brands and consumers, employer and employee. My advice to any business leader considering adding to their technology stack is to take the time to invest in a scalable platform that will adapt with your business because, as COVID-19 has demonstrated, agility is key.
Dave Tong, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder at Employment Hero
Very heavily [reliant on tech] – the choice is pretty simple when you weigh up the return on investment.
There are two options:
- Hire a full-time employee to do a repetitive task that requires another hire as you scale, and that task grows in volume.
- Alternatively, get some good tech. Dedicate two to four weeks implementing the technology, and allow it to automate those repetitive, manual tasks. With this option, you don’t have to worry about task sustainability when scaling, as automation has already taken care of it.
We find that a tool will cost us anywhere between $2,000 to $25,000 per annum, but that’s only a fraction of a full-time employee’s salary, who also won’t scale when you grow.
Phoebe Netto, founder of Pure Public Relations
Every business incorporates technology, but that doesn’t mean every business is efficient or achieving more than their size dictates. The technology needs to support and enable strong systems, processes and communication, and be easy to use. For example, we find technology like loom.com enhances our communication, Google Docs and Google Sheets make it easy to collaborate, Todoist.com supports productivity, voice memos enable updates to be recorded on the go and emailed to the team, and Zoom overcomes distance, while Dropbox allows us to work from any location.
SMEs should take advantage of the more level playing field that exists with so many businesses in the same boat – for example, businesses of all sizes and with all budgets, are working from home and broadcasting videos from their laptop or phone. And with many businesses pulling back or not communicating strategically with a long-term view right now, it leaves room for you to step in and take that position using the technology that is readily accessible to your business – whatever its size.
James Bergl, Regional VP, APAC at Datto
The arrival of COVID-19 saw many organisations scramble to update their technology infrastructure and IT solutions to meet the new norm of remote working. This experience will have highlighted our reliance on technology to enable and achieve business outcomes.
The business disruption caused by COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the value of having a robust business continuity plan. However, more importantly it has shown us that an investment in key technologies can increase workplace productivity enhancing and optimising the new workplace model of anytime, anywhere working.
Andrew White, ANZ Country Manager at Signavio
Good technology is the beating heart of many modern businesses, but it’s rarely a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
For companies to get the most out of their technology investments, they need to ensure they’re using them optimally. Business Process Management (BPM) is key to unlocking the true potential of tech – whether it’s emailing or e-commerce, every process can be optimised.
BPM is commonly misconstrued as a solution exclusive to large enterprise and data-heavy organisations. But in reality, BPM is accessible to all businesses that want to analyse, test, document, collaborate and potentially automate specific processes within their company to make them more efficient.
David Piggott, Managing Director ANZ, Jabra
Regardless of the industry, organisations are quickly realising that infrastructure and technology are essential to high business performance. With businesses now transforming at a rapid pace, tools that enable seamless collaboration and promote productivity – such as headsets and webcams – are becoming must-haves for day-to-day operations.
The modern workforce is no longer bound by geographic location, often working from coffee shops, home-offices or kitchen benches. In this new environment, collaborative technology helps ensure employees in different locations are happy and engaged, and as a result, can ensure a positive experience for the end-customer.
It’s no longer enough for organisations to use outdated solutions. Technology must allow employees to hear and be heard, be safe and secure, while also seamlessly integrating with other infrastructure already in place.
Samuel Sun, Chief Technology Officer, ELMO Cloud HR & Payroll
With so many workers around the world being required to do their jobs remotely during COVID-19, it’s become crystal clear for business leaders that investing in the right technology is a necessity.
ELMO has sought to rely on other cloud-based technology tools for its operations. This investment in technology meant that we were able to continue our operations uninterrupted as our workforce moved to remote working. By making cloud-based technology part of the way we operate location-based processes is a thing of the past.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to change daily, businesses that have had to battle with on-premise solutions are going to find it much harder to manage their operations remotely than those businesses that have sought out ways of streamlining through technology.