Are you running your business like you did in the eighties, nineties? If so, you are probably working like a donkey and probably for the same kind of income – if you are even making any!
Business automation is something that has developed albeit quite slowly, over decades and accelerated significantly via the “www “. And now even more so the with the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ways of doing business
Let’s begin looking communication – a key pillar in running any successful venture. Getting in touch with clients can now occur in numerous ways.
We have come a long way from shouting “extra, extra read all about it” on street corners, to invading places of comfort and abode with door-to-door sales visits.
We can now get in touch physically (though rarely unless required such as in a shop setting), 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 time and target your product offerings and marketing campaigns.
This makes them efficient and worth every penny/cent spent on them.
Hosting email nowadays does not require the expertise of IT professionals.
Likewise, IT pros are now discovering they have more time to perform administrative work (much needed productivity reports). This rather than the mundane tasks of backing up servers, or grudgingly coming out of their dark holes to walk from PC to PC installing software.
Such ‘exercises’ 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 (at home or while attending a conference) via your PC, laptop and even on your smartphone!
Emails can now be hosted with a few clicks and run smoothly on desktops, mobile phone, and tablets with a simple 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 as well as your contacts on all your devices, for instance, using Microsoft Exchange Online services.
This are strenuous tasks that an IT professional would have had to manually create using special scripted rules via PowerShell, patches, domain routers to a normal physical server to enable such functionality.
The cloud has made this all possible and while we will not get into the intricacies and workings of the cloud, we have in our working experience, seen a massive uptake of it.
Companies of all sizes, countries, and industries (including healthcare, education, financial and governmental institutions) 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 in the IT industry.
Software for hire
Software as a Service (SaaS), which is what it is called, is basically the hiring of software rather than owning it and leaving the (usually costly) maintenance to the software provider.
Major cloud players such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon, IBM, Google Business, for example, offer their clients the software just as a front-end and user-friendly application.
The tech giants will then take care of the back-end operations such as backups, updates, and upgrades, maintenance, security and compliance 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.
The car servicing and maintenance is 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 in the middle of summer whilst on holiday. This is mainly because of the availability of participants or lack of the material required to make a presentation to participants.
Tools that foster online meetings such as Skype for Business or G-Suite’s Hangouts for example, allow you to schedule meetings from a calendar entry. That is, set up in your email application e.g. Outlook.
This will send you and your meeting participants a reminder. Then, with a click of a button you can join, host or participate in a full-on HD video or audio conference type 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!
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 now local governments are now actively getting involved in making broadband (Wi-Fi and fibre cable networks) a necessity for all.
The problem of adequate broadband connectivity will, therefore, not be an issue in the near future.
So, you see, just from this highly compressed explanation and examples of two tasks carried out by businesses. There are endless possibilities that the cloud and good software, in general, can offer a business.
For more solutions, have a look at the previous blog on sales software and CRM systems. to understand a bit more about how SaaS can help grow revenue for the business.
This is also in no way advocating for substituting human personal interactions with technology. It will, nevertheless, help you to find ways to bridge the gap when you find that personal contact is not possible.
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.