Technology can empower employees, improve their efficiency, and increase profitability, but only if you choose the product that best meets your requirements.
Communication, collaboration, and project management solutions abound. Automation is the name of the game, and the asynchronous revolution is upon us.
While these developments can all improve business performance, most business owners are too busy running their company to keep abreast of technological changes that can underpin their profitability.
So, we asked our experts to explain the technology that they can’t live without.
“As a fast-growing tech company, we use a lot of different tech solutions to make sure we are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. The two questions we ask before implementing any piece of technology are: is it cloud-based, and what processes will it automate?
“These two questions are critical to understanding just how technology will work in your organisation and how it will improve the operations of the business.
“In this day and age, if a tech solution isn’t cloud-based it isn’t going to meet the needs of a business. Most organisations are operating with increased flexibility, so if employees can’t make full use of the technology from anywhere it isn’t going to work for the business. It’s also an important part of business continuity planning so organisations can continue to keep their processes up and running, even if the office or worksite can’t be accessed.
“A tech solution needs to be able to improve how a function, task or role is performed to add real value to an organisation. By understanding what processes can be automated, it enables you to better understand how you can take advantage of its benefits and improve business opportunities.”
“Over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has put a spotlight on collaboration and communication technology. The rapid acceleration from in-person to digital-only workplaces illuminated significant gaps in the way we work. Asynchronous video has become a fundamental part of how our team communicates, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and that we deliver the best output possible across a globally distributed team.
“Live videos are an important component of distributed work, but employee burnout is real. Sixty per cent of employees report a significant increase in meetings and 52 per cent report a sense of workplace loneliness. Asynchronous video can bridge the gap for worldwide teams to not only cut down on meetings, but also to express themselves and share their ideas — ensuring no midnight international calls, missing team member contributions, or endless email chains.
“Choosing the right tools for communication is critical for both productivity and human connection in this new digital-first world.”
Nigel Fellowes-Freeman, CEO and founder, Kanopi
“One tool that has greatly improved our business operations is the project management and task management platform ClickUp. It has evolved over time to become the central nervous system of our business. Given we have a global team, asynchronous work is key.
“We use ClickUp to plan goals, track progress and provide cross-team transparency. Our entire team uses ClickUp due to its ability to sync with countless other tools. This allows everyone across the company to be efficient and productive.”
Andrea Linehan, Chief Marketing Officer, CurrencyFair
“As a fintech, our proprietary technology services consumers, businesses and enterprises with financial services and enablement. However, our obligations go beyond providing an excellent customer experience. We must carefully balance that with our regulatory obligations, compliance requirements and anti-money laundering checks.
“Passwords and 2FA are no longer secure enough to tackle fraud prevention. Introducing biometric technology at CurrencyFair has been pivotal in providing the most reliable safety identity authentication which is far more resistant to counterfeiting and spoofing. Biometrics technology allows us to better manage risk and enhance operational efficiency while lessening the burden on customers to memorise complex passwords.”
Andy Mellor, Regional Vice President, ANZ, Kofax
‘This will come as no surprise to anyone I’m sure – and I don’t think I’ll be the first or last to say it – but Microsoft Teams really helped us to continue to collaborate relatively seamlessly. It kept us connected instantaneously not just with our colleagues, but with clients.
“However, when people could no longer go into the office, it soon becomes apparent how much many organisations still rely on manual and/or paper processes. So, I would say the unsung hero is intelligent automation. The ability to have information automatically extracted from a paper invoice instead of having to manually input it or being able to collect an eSignature that is as secure, (if not more so), than a wet ink one, shows how much digitisation and automation allows organisations to work from anywhere in a way that just wouldn’t be possible 5-10 years ago.”
“Pre-pandemic, ‘borrowing the company credit card’ often made it challenging to facilitate transparent, accountable and easily identifiable spending. When we shifted to WFH, there was the additional issue of access. Remote teams without access to company funds resulted in bottlenecks for projects and daily activities.
“We’re a business of innovators, so we built a solution for our customers – that was tested on employees first: a multi-currency virtual employee card. Entirely online, teams can create virtual cards with set limits, and staff can purchase what they need (for example for team building activities) faster, with real-time budget visibility.
“What was initially an internal tool to help our team became the latest addition to our product suite. No matter where they are based, customers are empowered to make their own purchasing decisions.
“The hybrid working model has placed higher importance on employee autonomy than ever before. Technologies that enable more employee flexibility are now critical to this new way of working.
Vicky Skipp, Head of Asia Pacific and Japan, Workplace from Facebook
“Employees today need the tools to access the people and information they need, however, and wherever they choose while also fuelling their sense of purpose and community as a workforce. Successful businesses of the future will use technology to fuel a sense of purpose and community as a workforce by investing in solutions that break down communication barriers by encouraging teamwork, collaboration and improved access to information.
“The right communication tool can improve the operation of a business by turning a company into a community, by giving everyone a voice and building better connections between employees. Team members work smarter and make better decisions when they embrace a more social way of working – an effective communication platform that integrates seamlessly with the rest of a businesses’ tools achieves this.”
Marco Zande, Marketing & Digital Comms Executive, WLTH
“As our audience starts to spend more time on mobiles, tablets, and laptops, it has become more critical than ever to use technology to our advantage. Many businesses face the challenge of connecting with customers through all devices and developing effective campaigns across a growing number of platforms.
“At WLTH, technology has allowed us to create a unified and seamless client experience across advertising, social media, direct marketing, public relations, and sales promotion. Technology has helped us to use a mix of tactics to ensure communication is consistent across all platforms, centred entirely on the client and seamless usability.
“Technology has also allowed us to replace everyday tasks with automated ones, switching our energies to focus on value-added tasks. Automation tools have seen a boost in productivity, along with reduced errors and increased quality and speed.
“Not only has this allowed us to improve our client experience and workplace productivity, but the switch has seen our business easily transition into a hybrid workplace in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, without any distributions to workflow.
“Still, with the benefits of technology, there is a trend of anxiety for workplaces, as many fear it can eliminate jobs. In my opinion, the need for businesses to prioritise human interaction is still there.
“In marketing terms, placing value on personal connection allows us to understand how our work appeals to the most fundamental instincts of buyers. Through this interaction, businesses can build and maintain credibility and trust with clients and experience growth in the digital world.”
Eric Yilmaz, Chief Technology Officer, Sorted Services
“Technology increases the efficiency of business. Developments in technology have helped businesses stay connected at any given time, increasing their efficiency, productivity and the abilities to react when difficulties arise. Tools such as Slack, Atlassian, Jira, Confluence and Asana, have helped to enhance our operations and allowed for connected work collaboration.
“With the pressures placed on us as a business to work remotely, we require tools which can connect people for communication, work management and development lifecycle management. This has to come in a cost-effective way with minimal setup time. It has allowed us to maintain a high velocity with our teams which are onshore and offshore.”
Andrew Phillips, Managing Director & Vice President, Australia & New Zealand, UiPath
“Automation is now one of the most important technologies available for small businesses or large enterprises alike. Never before has it taken centre stage as a transformational technology, offering never-ending opportunities. Contrary to popular belief, today everyone from a one-person business, owners of small or medium-sized businesses to large organisations are strategically automating areas of their operations to improve their overall productivity and execution speed.
“Business owners often spend hours doing menial, time-intensive tasks leading to significant opportunity costs and loss of productivity. Automation can help manage those repetitive, data-intensive, and mundane tasks, leaving them to focus on more meaningful, creative, or higher-level tasks. Importantly, automation creates opportunities for increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved job satisfaction, making your business more competitive and agile to suit the market and customers.
“With automation businesses now have a choice to make – do the same with less, more with the same, or even more with more.”
Thomas Paule, Chief Digital, Technology & Marketing Officer, Findex
“At Findex, we have more than 100 offices spread across Australia and New Zealand. Providing clients access to local advisers that understand their needs, while having the insight from a national Findex network, is core to our business model. Having technological capabilities that allow us to link these offices together means we can be cohesive in our approach and provide the best solutions for our clients.
“These same technologies, such as software for video meetings, sharing files or electronically signing documents, have also supported our transition to a hybrid model – blending remote teams with in-office ones. By harnessing a more flexible model, we strive for the best of both worlds.
“Throughout COVID-19, businesses have proved that flexible working set-ups are not only possible but beneficial and it’s become clear: remote working is here to stay. So now is the time for businesses to invest in tech solutions that provide both the sought-after flexibility for employees and expertise that help clients flourish.”
Mads Frederiksen, Managing Director APAC, Templafy
“Without question, COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation for businesses worldwide. However, organisations trying to expedite their digital transformation efforts can end up overcompensating for this by purchasing more technology than they actually need.
“To ensure employees are not facing an app overload, it is important to set up a foundation for success with a connected tech stack, starting with content enablement. By deploying a content enablement solution that streamlines technology implementation and aligns the entire workforce with technology, we set up our employees for success.
“For our business, having the right technology stack in place has played a large role in bridging the gap between our local APAC team and the global organisation, guaranteeing content is always on-brand, compliant and optimised to drive strong business outcomes. Our technology stack comprises a variety of enterprise applications such as Slack and Salesforce, seamlessly integrating these applications into our employee workflow, allowing our staff to achieve success and enjoy how they work.”
Lindsay Brown, VP of LogMeIn, APJ
“Being transparent is key to strengthening relationships within your teams as well as avoiding any risk of misalignment. Since March 2020, LogMeIn has been operating around a completely remote-centric organisation, so it’s been critical for us to increase our real-time and asynchronous collaboration efforts to stay aligned with everyone in the era of hybrid and flexible work.
“PwC recently reported that issues around flexibility represent the fourth-most cited reasons for employees leaving their jobs. Having a unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solution such as GoToConnect gives people options on how and where they work. Additionally, by having a platform that combines voice, text, and video conferencing, it has helped simplify the technological infrastructure and makes it seamless for everyone to connect with one another both live and asynchronously.”
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