How Technology is Evolving to Make Companies More Productive

What’s one of the biggest goals of most small businesses? Efficiency. Emerging technology is helping companies be more productive.

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When operations are fast, effective, and accurate, the business can do more with less. Although the dream of full productivity may not be entirely feasible, many professional teams are moving forward.

Three decades of incomparable technological evolutions

During the 1990s, technology moved into uncharted territory with the advent of personal computers and the Internet. It didn’t take long for breakthroughs to make companies more productive. Suddenly, every desk had a computer. There were individual printers everywhere. And dial-up connections kept workers tied to the burgeoning World Wide Web.

Fast forward a few decades, the landscape has changed dramatically. People carry their computers with them in the form of laptops, tablets, and smartphones. As long as they have access to Wi-Fi, they can remain tethered to their colleagues. And business landlines? Research from Europa suggests that they may be following the path of the dinosaurs by 2028.

In fact, the so-called Third Industrial Revolution fueled by the rise of the Internet continues to open doors for businesses. This includes doors related to routes that were previously unavailable for small business productivity. Here are some of the ways technology is driving more efficient work processes.

1. The cloud is becoming a virtual repository.

Remember the old days of backing up everyone’s computers at five o’clock or reserving a small climate-controlled room as a “server farm”? The cloud has eliminated the need for physical storage for many companies.

During the height of the 2020 pandemic, the cloud had a further spike in activity as more workers moved into virtual neighborhoods. In their State of the Cloud Report, Flexera researchers found that 86% of small and medium-sized business owners increased their dependence on cloud computing. Consequently, the cloud has become a common way of storing and sharing long-term and temporary information.

How does this improve the productivity of organizations? First, having all or most of your data accessible 24/7 from any device allows for faster decision making.

2. Customer insights are instantly available.

Seasoned marketers may remember the frustrations of trying to tap into the offline mindset of customers. It took time and energy to collect surveys, contact target people, and establish focus groups. Fortunately, the collection of information on audience groups has improved dramatically.

An article on modern content marketing by CRM provider Anthem Small Business Software points out some of the technology-driven benefits that have led to improved consumer-brand relationships. Chief among them is the ability to immediately interact with users through multiple digital formats, including social media. For example, having immediate access to customers through platforms like Facebook and Twitter can inform and improve marketing messages. Direct access to data can, in turn, lead to increased sales conversions.

Bottom line? When companies have fewer barriers between themselves and their target bases, they can make smarter decisions about the customer experience and products.

3. Employees can stop doing repetitive tasks.

Manual tasks like transferring data from one platform to another don’t just waste time. They are also victims of the problem of human error. Unfortunately, most companies don’t seem to be doing much to curb waste even though they could.

According to a UiPath study, 67% of workers regret spending too many hours a week repeating the same tasks. Yet as a group, they estimate that they could put in nearly five more hours each workweek if their employers took advantage of automated software.

Although it is frustrating to see such high numbers, there is hope on the horizon to make companies more productive. As more organizations test automation systems and digitally transform their operations, they may become more comfortable with the manual tasks of “outsourcing” workers. The result will be a greater opportunity for those workers to focus their energy on higher-level responsibilities.

4. Employers can search and hire employees globally.

It used to be difficult to find and onboard employees from other cities and time zones, much less from countries. However, technology has removed many of the sticking points associated with operating with a global workforce.

Many recruitment sites are visible to international job applicants. Consequently, companies of all sizes can access high-performing companies around the world. This isn’t just great from a team perspective. It also helps companies be more productive by meeting DEI’s ambitious expectations.

Sure, a little planning may be required to make a smooth transition to a workforce that includes overseas employees. However, it is worth a try. As long as workers have access to dedicated WiFi hotspots, they can contribute.

5. Employees can enjoy more flexible work arrangements.

When even Wall Street begrudgingly accepts the possibility of hybrid operation, you know it’s a big deal, and it’s driven by technology. Since the late 2010s, teleworking has become widespread in many sectors. The result has been an increase in the desire of employees to exercise more flexibility with their schedules.

Technology solutions such as cloud-based systems, private texting applications, and Zoom have made working from home possible for many employees. But, at the same time, they have not destroyed the idea of ​​the physical office. Many workers like to be able to choose where they work from day to day or week to week. Technology makes it easy, as long as the calendars stay coordinated.

Although the meaning of flexibility differs from employee to employee and employer to employer, it is a good goal. About six in 10 Gen Z and Millennial workers say flexibility is important when choosing where to work. Therefore, relying on technology to enable adaptable work arrangements can benefit companies looking to attract talented people who are ready to do their best.

6. Brands have a wider microphone.

From blogs to podcasts and social media pages to video series, brands have more ways than ever to extend their reach. For example, with a few keystrokes, a business can tweet content that millions of people can see. That’s power.

Certainly, many companies do not use all the technological megaphones that are available to them. It’s fine. Better to have a great Instagram presence than a mediocre one on TikTok.

That said, organizations shouldn’t refrain from occasionally experimenting with platforms new to them. That way, they can see which ones give them the most traction and increase leads, conversions, and repeat buyers.

7. Employees can take responsibility for managing their benefits.

What is a zapper for smaller organizations? A big waste of time is managing employee benefits, such as retirement accounts. Unfortunately, many companies are not well equipped to answer questions about 401k or even health savings accounts.

The result is that many benefits and incentive partners now offer employers the ability to deliver great benefits to their employees without spending time managing those benefits. How does this work? Once user accounts are set up, employees are given special login access. Once in the system, they can move their money, download tax documents, ask questions through online portals, and just take over most of the experience.

This type of self-service reflects what you will find in the realm of digital shopping. Consequently, it feels intuitive, especially for younger workers. And that means they’ll be more inclined to dive in, freeing companies from having to take on the management tasks associated with benefits packages in the workplace.

The 100% efficiency target is high. However, impressive productivity is not a pipe dream. There are constant technical advances coming to market all the time to make companies more productive. With each technological advance, companies can get closer and closer to reducing friction points and optimizing processes.

Image credit: Lukas; Pexels; Thanks!

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