The world of business today is markedly different from that of even just a few years ago. With the seemingly endless march of technology and the unstoppable growth of internet services, the way firms operate these days is almost unrecognizable.
Indeed, tech has become such an integral part of modern business that it’s well-nigh impossible to think of any firm that doesn’t rely on the web and connected devices to at least some degree. From even the smallest one-man-band using work email and web services to established global multinationals crunching Big Data, technology is transforming the modern workplace and driving greater efficiency.
No matter the size of your firm, every company can benefit from integrating tech into its operations these days. Tumbling price points, reduced form sizes and improved connection speeds are making services that were previously the preserve of larger companies accessible to all.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – no longer the stuff of science fiction
The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has instilled both fear and fascination for centuries but it’s only very recently that the technology has finally started to deliver on its promises. Writers, philosophers and mathematicians have long speculated on the potential of AI but the tech stubbornly remained the stuff of science fiction, largely failing to deliver anything of substance.
These days, AI surrounds us and the technology is beginning to make a real impact on all areas of our lives. Indeed, whether you realize it or not, you likely already use some form of AI. For example, if you store your cell phone pictures with Google Photos, you’ll no doubt have noticed the platform’s ability to sort photos by content (type, people, landscapes, etc.). Similarly, streaming services like Netflix and Spotify use AI to make recommendations for other tracks, films or shows we might enjoy.
From a business perspective, AI can bring huge benefits to your company and the tech is perfectly suited to the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that tend to plague firms. For example, AI accounting apps can now automate payroll, invoicing and bank transfers while Customer Relationship Management software is increasingly being used by companies to maintain, improve and enhance their client experiences. In turn, this shift to automation can help free up employees to perform more profitable and valuable endeavors, letting firms concentrate more on their actual business rather than its underlying workings.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) – your files at your fingertips
Online marketing is now the primary vehicle for business promotion and most companies these days have a heavy reliance on their digital assets – everything from corporate logo files to promotional videos, brochure designs, corporate newsletters, etc.
In days gone by, these essential files were often lost among the plethora of other digital content a firm needs to operate. This situation was a constant headache for both the operating company and their design/marketing partners. With brands now producing more digital content than ever, it’s vital that companies have a common platform they can use to supply relevant stakeholders with the content they need when they need it.
To identify the benefits of using a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, it’s perhaps easiest to consider a real-world example:
Company A requests a design company to produce a video advertisement that it intends to broadcast using a media streaming platform’s service. The design company follows the brief then supplies the finished video to Company A – only for A to request multiple changes. Without DAM in place, these alterations would typically be sent using services like Dropbox or WeTransfer – each time with the possibility of change requests getting lost or multiple video files mounting up in remote storage.
However, by integrating DAM into the process, you can securely store and monitor file changes in real-time, all held in a centralized database, accessible by all staff. When the final changes are agreed, and the video is signed off, Company A can then send the media streaming company a link to the finalized file, eliminating the chances of sending the wrong version and giving everyone involved a trackable link – again, accessible by everyone concerned, from any location in the world.
Using a DAM can streamline your promotional activities by keeping everyone in the loop and giving your entire team (and suppliers) quick and easy access to your online library of resources.
Move your telephony services to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Fixed-line telephony services are expensive, particularly if you operate in any capacity overseas. Not only that – fixed lines are prone to poor service or drop-outs, both of which can adversely affect your communications.
By moving to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), you can greatly improve the comms infrastructure’s reliability between your staff, clients, and suppliers while also reducing your service fees. VoIP also offers multiple additional benefits, including:
- Voicemail to email transcription services
- Fax to email provision
- Find me/follow me functions allowing you to re-route calls
- Toll-free numbers
- An enhanced and improved communications network
Improve your company’s network and storage capacity with the cloud
The lockdowns caused by the recent Coronavirus forced employees to start working from home, in turn exposing just how valuable integration with the cloud can be for companies these days. Almost without exception, the firms that survived through COVID the best were those that already had a strong online service provision in place – including cloud services, already prepped to allow for home-working.
While it looks like we may well be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to COVID, most industry experts suggest it’s unlikely we’ll ever return to the working practices of old. With the majority of employees reporting enjoying the better work/life balance afforded by home-working – and companies also reveling in the reduced overhead of having staff work remotely – it seems highly likely the virtual office is here to stay.
Perhaps more importantly, moving your firm’s IT to the cloud means you can draw on the considerable processing power and storage capacities provided by remote computing – meaning your staff can work collaboratively on files, using even low-storage, low-power devices, making your workforce truly mobile.