technology trends

3 technology trends that are changing the way we do business

Cloud Computing

For some, it may come as a surprise that cloud computing is a technology trend, rather than a de facto way in which businesses utilise technology for competitive advantage. Cloud computing has been proven to make business more efficient, and therefore more profitable.

For almost all industries, the cloud changes how people work, where people work, and the way people do business. While cost reduction is still a top priority, scalability and business agility have stepped to the forefront as primary reasons companies are adopting cloud solutions.

With the current challenges facing our businesses, remote working, changing business models and supply chain issues, cloud computing and its speed of implementation and lower price point continue to drive adoption.

“By 2020, clouds will stop being referred to as ‘public’ and ‘private’. It will merely be the way business is done, and IT is provisioned.” – IDC

Why are some companies still not using cloud computing?

Security – a common misconception is that storing company date ‘somewhere in the cloud’ may lead to its loss and access by unauthorised users. Microsoft, for instance, uses Cloud App Security which natively integrates with leading Microsoft solutions. It is designed with security professionals in mind, providing simple deployment, centralised management, and innovative automation capabilities.

“If you’re resisting the cloud because of security concerns, you’re running out of excuses” – Forrester

Knowledge

Organisations often delay moving to cloud infrastructure due to concerns over internal IT resources, not having the necessary skill sets to manage it.

The irony is that your cloud partner will help your IT teams with upskilling and take away the need to maintain servers so they can focus on more strategic activities.

Digital Transformation

Are you fed up dealing with multiple systems that don’t talk to each other? You are not alone. Disconnected systems cause manual processes, duplicate entries and reports that are out-of-date before they finish running. Lack of visibility hinders decision-making and puts the longevity of your business at risk.

Most digital transformations are driven by growth opportunities, followed by increased competitive pressure and new regulatory standards.

Digitally mature companies are 23% more profitable than their less sophisticated peers.

For businesses to survive and thrive in this modern era, they must embrace digital transformation. But what is digital transformation? A simple definition is the use of digital technologies, such as mobile, social, analytics and cloud to transform how people work and businesses operate.

Less-mature digital companies are focused on solving discrete business problems with individual digital technologies. The companies that are connecting their processes, systems, people and data are getting a deep insight into what is happening in their business. They are also able to anticipate what will happen and capitalise on that insight quickly.

Traditional boundaries are reshaped by digital transformation. Historical silos that existed between disparate CRM, ERP/Accounting systems and other third-party systems are becoming obsolete.

Business apps that now work seamlessly together with productivity tools like email, word and data processing blur the lines between structured business processes and unstructured personal productivity so people and businesses can achieve more.

For example, with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can go from quote to cash without the complexity of switching applications. Set up customers or vendors, create quotes, process orders and submit invoices without leaving your inbox. Easily export data and create outgoing documents directly in Word and Excel with seamless integration between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Office 365 / Microsoft 365.

Mobility / Homeworking

Technology is a significant enabler for business looking to improve mobility and homeworking capabilities.

Your employees need to be connected like never before. Customers expect your sales and service representatives to have immediate access to the information they need to solve their problem or deliver on a good or service they expect to receive. Calling back to the office to see if an item is in stock or waiting for a follow-up response to schedule a service appointment just doesn’t cut it.

Cloud-based business applications make it easier to give employees the information they need to stay productive regardless of where they need to work. But it’s not enough to be able to access information; you need to be able to act on it based on customer demand. Your mobile experience needs to be consistent and secure, replicating what you could do in the office on your phone, laptop or tablet regardless of the operating system.

With the impact of COVID-19, we are the middle of a workforce revolution. Overnight, products such as Microsoft Teams are pulling companies together and facilitating their ability to work remotely.

Will things go back to normality after this?

There are several benefits to remote working that businesses will, in time, come to realise that works for both them and their employees.

As an example:
Reduced commuting – none of us enjoy the stressful and unpleasant commute. A healthy and happy workforce reduces absenteeism and improves productivity. Reduced travelling costs means more money for your staff to spend.

Improved employee retention – In SME businesses losing key employees is a headache. Giving your employees more flexibility helps to retain them.

Access to more staff – Millennials have grown up in a world of cheap communicate irrespective of the location. They are used to the concept of working from any site. Giving employees the ability to work remotely allows you to hire outside typical commuting distances.

Lower costs – One of the highest costs to businesses is office space. By enabling employees to work from home part of the week allows for you to save or reduce this cost by providing hot desks rather than fixed desks.

The above are just some of the benefits of having a mobile and remote working workforce. However, for this to be successful businesses need to implement technology that supports these goals.

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