One of the many challenges you face when running a business is deciding when to invest in technology that helps you grow to the next level. In the beginning your needs are simple, so you may even be able to manage your business with a spreadsheet on your laptop. But at a certain point the lack of automation and minimal functionality starts to hold you back.
According to Microsoft research, 63% of growing SMBs believe that technology plays a vital role in their future success. The idea that competitors are making better use of technology is of concern to about one in three.
You need the tools to move forward, but you can’t afford to over-invest on functionality you simply don’t need. Nobody wants to discover they’ve essentially bought a jet ski for a swimming pool. You want systems that suit your current needs and budget but will evolve as your business does.
Cloud: the hero small business needs
For many small businesses, accessing technology resources and services via the cloud is now the preferred option. Chances are you already use some mobile or internet-based applications. Intuit’s Appification of Small Business Report found that 74% of Australian small businesses use at least one, a slightly higher rate than other countries surveyed including Canada, the US and the UK.
But there’s a difference between using and embracing,with research from Deloitte finding that small businesses using a higher than average number of cloud services grow 26% faster. They were also 21% more profitable than those not using the cloud.
By taking all the installation and patching off the table, it’s much easier to manage. It also offers the features you need to support an increasingly mobile workforce without compromising on what they can do. Applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and internet telephony provide enterprise-level features without the hefty price tag and upfront investment.
This means you can offer your customers the sort of service normally associated with larger operations. With a predictable monthly fee that includes everything your business needs, you can fully understand where you are before making other financial decisions.
Small businesses rarely have the luxury of an IT department that can assess need and find the best available deals. Chances are your management of IT approaches lackadaisical, given that half of small businesses surveyed by Wasp Barcode Technologies revealed they don’t track their assets, not even manually.
Purchasing what you need is more difficult when you waste time figuring out what you have and, more importantly, where it might be. With a bundle of office technology that includes phones and computers as well as your productivity applications, it’s easy to track technology spend per employee. Now you know exactly what it costs to increase your headcount.
Up and running
An hour here or there might seem like a small matter in the scheme of things but installing new technology takes time. Whether it’s onboarding a new employee or opening a new location, time and money spent on getting going could have been invested elsewhere.
With an office technology bundle, adding an employee is as simple as filling in details of their requirements. Everything else is handled for you. Your newest recruit has a single login, so they’re ready to go straight away with access to the tools and resources they need. Similarly, if you move or expand your business, it’s much quicker to access your cloud-based services than it is to wait for a parade of technicians to install equipment.
When you want to grow your business, you need the support of technology that will drive you forward, not get in the way. By bundling your requirements into a package, you can get the room to grow as you need, at a cost you can afford and without the technology headache.
About the author
Tasso Mangos is the CTO & Technology Strategist at CSG Limited. With more than 20 years in the IT industry, Mangos is an expert in business strategy, solution architecture, and information technology service management. He is passionate about the benefits cloud-based technologies can bring both the private and public sector