Technology is essential for businesses that want to gain an edge over competitors in today’s world. Computers and the Internet have now brought in a new era that relies on data to make profitable business decisions in the competitive environment. However, many business owners neglect to take advantage of these new technologies because they believe that they are only available to large corporations. The reality is that small businesses have just as much access to new technologies as larger rivals. Below is a full explanation of how small businesses can leverage technology to earn a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Many small businesses have been able to save money by transferring some of their services to the cloud. Instead of paying upfront for expensive software and customized solutions, businesses can now realize cost advantages by purchasing scalable cloud services. Critical software programs for accounting, email, and productivity are just a small sample of the cloud services that are available to small businesses in today’s world. Businesses can even use cloud services to host their websites and compute complex mathematical equations. As time goes on, businesses will increasingly rely on cloud services as a way to compete against larger rivals.
Business Process Management (BPM) software is essential for businesses that need to rationalize a specific business activity. BPM software is used by businesses in manufacturing, retail, and other industries to help cut production costs to a minimum. These software programs leverage available data that businesses have collected over the years to optimize processes using real information. Small businesses that struggle to compete with larger rivals on the basis of price can realize significant advantages by using BPM software. These programs can even be used to help improve quality and reduce support costs. By using BPM software, businesses can expect to get more work done with fewer resources. This will increase profitability and fight off competitors who compete by cutting their prices.
Social Media Automation Tools
Social media has become a critical communication channel for businesses to acquire new clients, reduce support costs, and learn about customer preferences. However, social media maintenance can be an expensive activity for businesses because it is labor-intensive and abstract in nature. For these reasons, many businesses are choosing to take advantage of social media automation tools to reduce the overhead required to participate in online conversations. Businesses can use social media automation to simultaneously post to multiple social media channels and to schedule posts in the future.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is another essential tool for businesses that want to remain competitive in today’s business climate. CRM software helps sales professionals keep track of thousands of clients to ensure that communications are optimized at all touch points. Data-driven customer tracking technologies such as CRM software have become critical components of any sales and marketing organization to ensure that opportunities for customer acquisition are optimized. CRM software can range from basic spreadsheets to complex cloud-based solutions that enable thousands of organizational participants to communicate customer needs across all stakeholders. Businesses that do not have a CRM platform should consider getting one to enhance their ability to capitalize on inbound leads.
Businesses that collect sufficient amounts of data can utilize analytics software to transform information into actionable intelligence. Many businesses use data from a diverse range of sources including their website, CRM database, business mailing lists, and industry research. Aggregate data from all of these sources can then be put together to make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. The collection and analysis of historical data through database monitoring systems (DBMS) can make it easier for businesses to understand which investment activities are most likely to earn a profit. For example, businesses could use analytics information to quantitatively decide on whether to invest more resources in research or a new marketing campaign. By utilizing analytics software effectively, businesses can look forward to making better decisions that can make them more productive in the competitive environment. | Images via Shutterstock