Big tech was once the purview of big companies with big IT departments, big budgets, and big C-level execs handling the whole thing. Yes, they were early adopters, but it was also a big hassle, a big expense, and in some cases, a big waste of time. Thankfully, tech is in reach of even the smallest one-person company, and can substantially lighten the budget instead of tying a rock around its neck. Tech advances are now downloadable to a tablet or a smartphone, accessible via a browser, and scalable in ways that boxed software never was. Here are the innovations in your reach that you need to get on board with now:
Get in the Cloud
CIO Magazine notes that in 2016, big companies are going to move to the cloud in a big way, but the beauty of the cloud is that you don’t have to be big to get in on it. Everything from your favorite apps to new platforms are coming up onto the cloud, and the good news is that they are scalable and usable by companies small and large. The beauty of the cloud is that you use what you need, and you can always get more. The burden is shifted from your IT department into the freedom to innovate while someone else handles the infrastructure.
Despite the negative hearsay, mobile is alive and well in the workforce. Whether you are talking about company-owned smart phones and tablets or BYOD, mobility is more than just a buzzword in 2016. Workers enjoy having the flexibility to work at their desktop or on their tablets and phones. Moreover, in a survey reported in Forbes, CEOs are 81 percent behind mobile technologies as being important to their business and offering them competitive advantages. The internet has, for some time, been something that people carry with them, rather than a place that is accessed via laptops and desktops. As mobile devices approach market saturation, having the hot new phone is no longer enough. Functional advantages go to people who own devices with more RAM, faster multicore processors, and more storage space either on board or expandable.
Social media is a way to build awareness and relationships, rather than relying on traditional one-directional advertising to reach the people who need to know about you. However, not all social media may be an advantageous place for you. Finding out what social media will benefit your company, can help the development of a social media strategy. While everyone might be on Facebook, your niche may be on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, or even on Reddit. Working with a marketer specializing in social media can help you find your footing past your corporate webpage.
Videoconferencing once meant sitting in a room watching the screen with other people sitting in a room while riffling through materials trying to catch up with the pixelated speaker and lagging presentation. With cloud-based apps, video conferencing services such as BlueJeans offer a wealth of features, high definition imagery, universal compatibility, low lag, and portability. This allows people to join in meetings from whatever system they are currently using, wherever they are at the time of the meeting. This cuts travel time, budgetary considerations associated with travel, hotels, and meals, as well as giving people a way to collaborate spontaneously while getting that all-important face time. In fact, there are studies that show that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials all are more engaged and attentive on video calls than those that are audio only.
Don’t let your customers and clients be trapped in voice jail. An auto attendant – also called a virtual receptionist – allows callers to select their options and be transferred to their chosen extension without human intervention. They can also leave messages, screen calls, manage call flow, and even direct callers to a directory if they are unsure of whom they are trying to reach. What you might not know is that these options are also available for your mobile phone. Staff can customize their greetings, and calls can even be forwarded to those out of the office should they so wish. It’s no longer a big bucks, big operation expense, but one that is available to any size business, thanks to cloud computing.
By investing in a realistic tech strategy, you can bring your company further into the digital mainstream, reach more clients, and offer more value than companies without a strategy. Explore your options with professional IT consultants, or even start your own IT department. It’s not too late to catch the leading edge of innovations, and it’s not overwhelmingly expensive. Moreover, it’s a step that you can’t afford not to take for the future of your company. Start formulating your tech strategy, and open up whole new worlds for your company.