Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly recognising the importance of being able to work productively on the move. Facing increased customer expectations and arguably greater competition than ever before, attracting clients and maintaining their loyalty represents a challenge. However, continuing technological innovation means SMBs have a range of technology solutions at their disposal to help maximise availability, productivity and ultimately business output.
But how can SMBs benefit from the technology solutions they have available to them, and ensure workers are empowered to give their all every day?
Consider moving to the cloud
Small companies have an increasing array of options in the cloud - where they are able to access advanced IT solutions on a pay-per-use basis. This offers the opportunity to work faster, with greater accuracy and more productively, while projecting a more professional image. Sophisticated hosted services can be accessed online from virtually any location, allowing SMB staff to get more done while also improving the customer experience. And this is achievable at a much lower cost than if they had purchased their own on-premise solutions.
SMBs need to consider what their IT needs are - and these may differ according to the scale of their enterprise, growth ambitions, customer demands and the industry they are operating in. Some companies' business models are completely reliant upon IT, meaning it is crucial to obtain every possible advantage from new solutions in order to keep up with rival operators. For other firms, the use of technology may be more discretionary - and perhaps innovative. If competitors are not looking to take advantage of the cloud, is there an opportunity for your business to steal a march?
Working productively from any location
Hosted services alleviate the pressure on SMBs to commit to major capital projects- such as the purchase of new servers and off-the-shelf solutions for their entire workforce. Programs and applications can now be accessed online without the need for outright purchase, and these are powered by the cloud vendor's own data centre infrastructure.
But cloud solutions have other benefits - including their accessibility on virtually any internet-enabled device, from any connected location. This means SMBs have more opportunities to work remotely and maximise the value of each working day. Simply by empowering employees with access to cloud solutions, they have the opportunity to drive productivity across the board - staff members are still able to work effectively even when they are away from the office.
Consider the benefits of Office 365
Cloud-based productivity suite Microsoft Office 365 is designed to help employees work effectively from any location, collaborate in real time and unleash their best ideas. This set of web-enabled tools allows users to access email, documents, contacts, and calendars from virtually anywhere, on almost any device. Solutions such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint are instantly accessible, whether you are working on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone - and this can help employees make the most of their working day.
The new version Small Business Premium allows users to stream a full-featured version of Office 365 on any internet-connected computer with Office on Demand. Documents are saved to the cloud by default, meaning workers can share and collaborate by simply sending a link. The suite also has enhanced features for staying in touch with contacts - users are able to schedule meetings, send emails and instant message, use voice or video chat and even host HD web conferences.
Ease the burden on your workforce
These solutions are designed to ensure SMB leaders and employees are always able to carry on with their work, wherever they are. This could be on a train, in a taxi, at the airport, in a hotel room or at home. Office 365 means there is no longer any need to make extra trips into work on evenings and weekends - users can simply access their files and documents online in the cloud. This ensures businesses can get more done with the same resources, but without increasing the pressures faced by their people.
Posted by Sarah Parish