Sure, some of the technology and ideas that appear at CES may be a long ways away from making an impact on businesses today, but there are many technologies readily available now that allow you to help your company stay competitive in 2016. How you embrace and prepare your office to leverage technology will determine your business’s level of success. No pressure.
Business agility is key
In 2016, adoption of cloud-based technologies will accelerate more rapidly than ever before, particularly for small businesses. While that may not sound like a bold prediction – let’s be honest, the term “cloud computing” has become part of business vernacular – you may think you’re already taking full advantage of what cloud-based services have to offer, be they public, private or a hybrid of the two. Chances are you’re not.
Many small businesses are still hesitant to adopt cloud computing services. For instance, the most recent Sage Accountancy Index survey found that just 5 per cent of Canadian accountants are leveraging online or cloud solutions and only 37 per cent of Canadian firms have adopted online technology, compared to 55 per cent of their U.S. counterparts. This is interesting to note as historically Canadians have adopted technology faster than the U.S. (for example online banking or chip & pin), so why is this different? Some business owners may be hesitant to transition to the cloud as there are concerns about data ownership and a lack of control and desktop storage may feel safer and more permanent. However, hybrid cloud provides businesses with the best of both worlds and allows organizations to maintain that same level of ownership that desktop storage brings but with the benefits and flexibility associated with cloud.
To make the most out of technology that is available, investigate what applications and services you can leverage to take as many inventory management, accounting, sales and other back office tasks off the plates of your fellow colleagues. Technology that eliminates redundant admin work or grants you flexibility should be at the top of your wish list – eliminating redundancies and finding flexibility frees your business to focus on strategic programs.
Take these three solutions:
E-commerce: With the Canadian dollar currently sitting below 70 cents, take advantage of international consumers looking to save money by buying Canadian. Moneris Solutions has e-commerce platforms that allow businesses to grow their online presence and stores with relative ease.
Accounting: Sage 50c accounting software, a cloud-enabled solution, simplifies everything from customer billing to real-time collaboration with your accountant. Do you fear having to get your papers in order to file your taxes soon? Sage 50c provides assurance that you are compliant with government regulations and standards.
Marketing: Social media is one of the best ways to reach your customer base, and HootSuite’s app and desktop platforms allow you to manage, connect and engage with customers effortlessly.
Most small business owners and executive leaders are wearing so many different hats; help them focus on the most important goals by using these and other new technologies to free up more time for customer interactions and face time. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
Stay tuned for my next blog which will highlight how the IT department can help to ensure business success in 2016.
Eva Schoenleitner is vice president of product marketing at Sage North America
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