Upgrading the technology used in the business environment will help increase productivity, increase privacy, and will keep the company on the leading edge. With the privacy laws becoming more stringent, new technology will help the company maintain compliance with these laws.
Why invest in new technology?
Quite simply, to allow the business to progress and grow, to create a sense of security for employees, and creating automation, thus increasing productivity (and revenue). When a company has multiple business locations employees will benefit from using the same type of technology across locations.
Before choosing a solution for your company, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your company will grow (this is the intent anyway) – ensure the new software meets the needs of your company now and in the future.
- Multiple locations – ensure the technology can easily be accessed and used from all of the locations and by all employees.
- Cost effectiveness vs. value – check with multiple companies before deciding on a new product.
- Use what everyone is using – this is especially true with social networking. Be where your employees are. They already know the technology, so implementation will be that much easier.
- Research thoroughly – this is especially true when it comes to a CRM or HRIS system. Ask all the questions – how customizable is the system, how much will customization cost, what comes standard and what is an added cost, who will maintain the backend of the system, how strong is the security, etc.?
Some Systems to Think About:
Google – Google is growing, and looks like it will continue to grow. They offer many options for small businesses and/or teams, such as document management (Google documents and Google drive), calendar sharing, and email. I have worked with many companies that have used Google documents to create and maintain shared files. And just recently I was a customer for a small company that uses Google calendar for their scheduling needs.
DropBox – this is another document management program that many companies use. I use it now for both personal and professional use. This gives everyone the ability to access documents from any device where internet is available. The creator of the DropBox account is also able to control who has the ability to edit the documents, giving him or her the ability to keep control of the items shared.
Skype – this is a cost effective resource for businesses to use for video conferencing from just about any device. I have interviewed with companies via Skype from my cell phone. It is easy, convenient, and just about anyone can have access from just about anywhere. This is great when a company can’t have face-to-face meeting with its employees.
CRMs – there are many inexpensive CRMs out there (probably too many to count). The system you should choose would depend on the specific business needs. I have used Microsoft AX, TCETRA, ACT!, and Salesforce.com…not to mention systems built internally by IT teams. Some cost more than others, but your specific needs will determine the needs for a system. For example, Microsoft AX integrates with their CRM and HRIS systems, creating a larger array of functionality for the business.
GPS Services – while this service may not be super inexpensive, it will help companies track employees who work in the field to ensure they are actually working and to track the company assets (i.e. cars, phones, computers, etc.).
Other Technology for Employees:
Cell Phones – many companies are equipping their employees with company-paid cell phone services. Some companies provide the phones and some ask the employee to bring their own phones and the company pays for the service (BYOD programs – Bring Your Own Device).
Tablets/Laptops – computers, laptops or desktops, are usually provided to employees who work in the office; however, many companies are equipping employees with tablets and laptops the employee can take home or use when working in the field.
Providing employees with these types of technology allows the employee to be mobile and flexible while still being connected to the business.