Are you running your business as you did in the eighties, nineties? If so, you are probably working like a donkey and for the same kind of income – if you are even making any!
Business automation has developed albeit quite slowly, over decades. It was accelerated significantly via the “www “. And now even more so with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ways of doing business
Let’s begin looking at communication – a key pillar in running any successful venture. Getting in touch with your clients can now occur in numerous ways.
We have come a long way from shouting on street corners to invading people’s places of comfort with door-to-door sales visits.
We can now get in touch physically via phone, Skype, Emails, online chatting, video-conferencing, and social media.
And though it may sound like overkill, using these tools can actually help save you time and target your products effectively.
This makes them efficient and worth every penny you spend on them.
Hosting your email nowadays does not require the expertise of IT professionals.
Likewise, IT pros are now discovering they have more time to perform administrative work (productivity reports).
As an IT expert, you must hate having to walk from PC to PC to install software. Such ‘excursions’ can consume hours during the day and, probably gets on the nerves of people trying to get work done.
As an IT pro, you can now administer and carry out IT-related tasks from the comfort of your office. You can even do it remotely from your, laptop, or your smartphone!
So now, your emails can now be hosted with a few clicks. You can then receive them instantaneously on your desktops, mobile phones with a syncing feature. This is made possible by a newer mail protocol known as Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP).
You can now synchronize your emails, calendars, and events, and contacts on your devices using Microsoft Exchange Online services.
These are strenuous tasks that you would have had to manually create using special scripted rules. Tools like PowerShell, patches, domain routers would have to be applied to a physical server to enable such functionality.
The cloud has made this all possible. We will not get into the intricacies and workings of the cloud but we have seen a massive uptake of it.
Companies of all sizes, countries, and industries are moving to the cloud.
This uptake of cloud services is happening on a regular basis as old servers are being made redundant and getting subjected to creative destruction.
Software for hire
Software as a Service (SaaS), is basically the hiring of software rather than owning it and leaving the maintenance to the software provider.
They take care of the ‘back-end’ operations such as backups, updates, and upgrades, security, and compliance. All that for an annual or monthly fee.
You can liken this to hire-purchase or the car leasing services that the automobile industry offers its clients.
Our car servicing and maintenance are performed timeously by the manufacturer. You just drive it and pay for your own fuel on top of the monthly leasing fees. Such a service can even be monetized using Cryptos such as IOTA.
Great collaboration tools
Another daunting yet integral task in running a business is the act of hosting meetings. Business meetings are often rescheduled as easily as procrastinating a spring cleaning exercise.
Tools that facilitate online meetings like Skype for Business or Google’s Meet, allow you to schedule meetings from your calendar. This will send you and your meeting participants a reminder. With a click of a button, you can join, host or participate in an HD video or audio conference call.
This can be done from wherever you are on the globe as long as you have a good enough broadband connection.
The kicker with this tool is the ability to present your full (hopefully clean and avoid any embarrassing items) desktop, to all participants.
So, you can present an Excel spreadsheet of financial data, discuss the design of a brochure or flyer for marketing, or run a PowerPoint presentation. The apps come even complete with an infrared pointer!
For more solutions, have a look at the previous blog on sales software and CRM systems. This will help you understand a bit more about how SaaS can help grow revenue for your business.
Good broadband is key
Again, these services obviously require great Internet connectivity. This might also be the only stumbling block deterring many smaller companies and some big data-sensitive firms from taking on the cloud.
But as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and local governments are now actively getting involved in making broadband a necessity for us.
There are endless possibilities that the cloud and good software, in general, can offer your business.
No one wants to spend hours in traffic leading to stress at work or home. You also wouldn’t want to spend large budgets on unnecessary travel, marketing, and communication tools that are not effective.
We are not fully in favour of substituting your human interactions with technology. It will, nevertheless, help you to find ways to bridge the gap when you find that personal contact is not possible.