Annie Button, professional content writer and branding aficionado, shares some amazing tech tools that can support business leaders in achieving long-term success.
Technology has truly advanced in recent years, and it is up to skilled business leaders to keep up. Software and tech tools can provide businesses with the advantage they need to outperform competitors. They can also give leaders the chance to truly understand how to get more from their team.
What is very important to remember, is that this is not just about the tools that business leaders use themselves – but those that they provide to their staff. There is often a misunderstanding about what is meant by productivity. Some leaders see low levels of productivity as being an issue that staff need to get more done.
In reality, productivity problems arise because staff are not given the software and tools that they need to get their work done more efficiently. Good business leaders understand the need to invest not only in staff but also in the processes and procedures that they use every day. This can mean utilising tech tools and software for the good of the business.
Here we take a look at amazing tech tools that business leaders need for long-term success – not only through the ones that they use every day but also in those that they provide to their staff.
If the pandemic has taught businesses anything, it is the need for high-quality communication tools across companies. Great communication is vital for businesses of all sizes – and software is available in multiple forms.
The last couple of years has seen a meteoric rise in video conferencing solutions as many businesses were forced to work entirely remotely through the pandemic. Zoom went from a relative unknown to a household name in a matter of months, while Zoho Meeting and GoTo Meeting have evolved to provide a premium service.
Providing good quality and reliable meeting software can really help boost your team’s productivity – and it also looks a lot more professional with clients. This is not, however, the only form of communication software that is worth investing in for your business. Internal messaging is just as crucial.
Of course, some internal communications can be conducted through email or simply chatting in the office. Yet, with increasing numbers of remote workers, there is a need for a casual internal communications tool at almost every business. Options such as Slack, Chanty and Mattermost are great examples that have risen in popularity especially during the pandemic.
It might be the case that you have been working within your industry for a long time and have found ways to operate in your own way. Many small businesses naturally develop their own processes and procedures, and business leaders can become attached to these ways of working. But this isn’t always the smartest way to get things done.
With the rise of technology, many companies are now offering systems and software that are specifically designed to make the working lives of small businesses easier. Beyond more generic shift management or project management tools, there are also highly industry-specific pieces of software that could offer incredible productivity and efficiency benefits.
Small pizza restaurants have point-of-sale systems designed specifically for them in the form of companies like Revel. Law firms can make use of practice management software such as Insight Legal. Even burgeoning businesses like escape rooms already have the bespoke software Buzzshock. These are just three examples of industry-specific software but you will almost certainly find that in your sector, there are already tools created that can be directly useful.
Interestingly, time tracking is considered essential in some industries, while in others this is not a prime consideration. In reality, many businesses could benefit hugely from having an understanding of how long tasks take to complete, and how staff time is being used. Time tracking software is a great way to do this. And if your business does track time but still uses Excel sheets, now might be the perfect opportunity to make the switch.
A great example is Freshbooks which is ostensibly accounting software, but also works perfectly for time tracking. Using a simple interface, workers simply select from a list of tasks, enter any additional notes, and add the amount of time that they took. This can be integrated seamlessly into the working day so that it only takes seconds to log time.
It can function as a brilliant way to understand how long tasks take staff – but it can also be used by agencies to help them show clients how their time is being spent. Reports can be easily extracted from the software and sent to show exactly how the time they pay for is being used.
Human Capital Management
Human Capital Management (HCM) may be a confusing term if you have never heard of it, but functionally this is simply a form of software that makes it easier for your business to manage human resources. There is a huge range of options available, and it is best to understand their strengths and weaknesses before choosing the one that is right for your company.
Businesses make use of a lot of different types of assets, from equipment and apps to physical premises, but perhaps the most important is that of your staff. Employees play an absolutely crucial role in all areas of the business – so it is natural that you should put systems in place that allow for better management of staff.
HCM software is vital as it can help not only with acquiring and onboarding new talent, but also ensure strong performance, development, happiness and morale within your team. HCM can help with talent acquisition and retention. This is crucial, as keeping hold of talent saves you a significant amount of money.
HR professionals have always played a hugely important role in the acquisition and retention of talent, but with the advent of software developments, the possibilities are greater than ever before. Being able to track individuals through their entire process of working at the company, including their goals, performance, skills and training, gives HR far greater insight into the team as a whole, and how to make use of individuals.
Customer Relationship Management Tools
Perhaps the only thing that is more important than the management of employees is the successful management of customers. Acquiring customers is an expensive process, so you must maintain a positive relationship with your customers to encourage repeat business and promote a good image for your company.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools make it easier to do that. No matter what your business does, you rely on your ability to give your customers what they want. CRM tools make use of key customer data such as communications, purchases, the price they paid, and more – in one piece of software.
Drawing on this insight, you can better understand each customer individually and provide them with better service. The result is a better experience for the customer which leads to improved satisfaction levels, as well as increased productivity and efficiency from your side. Business leaders should provide their teams with high-quality CRM software so that they can do their job more effectively.
Being known for providing fantastic service to customers is a great place for your business to be.
It is still the case that many businesses rely on internal storage space for their files, data and backups. There are still advantages to having your own storage system, but for smaller businesses especially, they are often outweighed by the advantages of moving to a cloud storage solution.
All businesses require information storage, but having the system on your own premises can mean a huge amount of space taken up by server rooms. It also requires the work of experienced IT professionals, expensive equipment upgrades, and all of the issues surrounding compliance that is completely up to your business to deal with.
Running your own servers also means you are responsible for your own cybersecurity and backups. Overall it can be a huge headache for your company, and one that can easily be avoided simply by using cloud storage.
The advantages of such a service were only heightened as a result of the pandemic. With more staff working remotely, it became necessary for teams to be able to access company data and documents from anywhere in the world. This is something that cloud servers provide, but in-house servers do not.
Business leaders need to ensure that they are keeping up to date with the latest movements in technology. Fantastic pieces of software can boost everything from client and customer retention to productivity and efficiency – but they can also help to keep businesses stay secure against cybercriminals.
If your business has never invested in technology, there are real improvements that can be made. It can be worth consulting with specialists to understand which type of software and applications could potentially make the biggest difference to you.