By Sandra Quinn
‘You’re stuck in the dark ages’, ‘You’re living in the past’, ‘You’ll never step into the future if you’re always looking behind you’ — these are just some of the phrases thrown at business people who fail to see the benefits of moving with the times and embracing what the future holds.
Much like other areas of life, in business, technology has helped to enhance what was already there, but in a more efficient manner.
In your personal life, it is much more convenient to write an email, send an instant message or set up a video call to contact friends or family who live abroad than it was to say write and post a letter.
Likewise, in the past, businesses relied heavily on market research, painstakingly conducted door-to-door with cold calling or in focus groups — now the internet tells you all you need to know about your customers.
With the mere click of a button, you know their age range, occupation, how often they use your services/products and how they rate your business.
Bringing technology into the business world has also allowed employers to bring their business outside the office, therefore allowing for more flexibility for employees with the option to work from home.
Presence is everything — you need to let your customers know where you are, who you are and when you are available. In the past, this presence was communicated through a big advertising splash in a newspaper and an open door policy.
According to figures from the Pew Research Centre in 2017, ‘total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers fell to 35 million, while total Sunday circulation declined to 38 million — the lowest levels since 1945’.
Based on these figures, it is clear that the big advertisement in the newspaper may not necessarily fit the bill, which is why more and more businesses are investing in digital marketing.
Similarly, an open door policy won’t work if you don’t have an on-street presence and you are working from home or from a hot desk.
One of the main benefits of using technology in business is that it saves money.
Here are some of the ways to cut your costs using technology;
· By using Cloud storage systems, the need for cumbersome archiving systems is eliminated, saving on costs, space and manpower.
· Implementing a work from home policy improves morale, as it shows that you trust your employees and this leads to a happier, more productive workforce, while also saving on some office overhead costs.
· Internal instant messaging servers allow employees to stay in touch, avoiding duplication and unnecessary crossovers.
· Options with E-Commerce make it possible to save costs on things like showrooms and stores.
· Online security systems streaming footage directly to a mobile device or laptop saves on security manpower costs.