It is no secret that we have more technology and productivity tools at our disposal than ever before. Every week we see every imaginable type of cloud tool being released into the online world; customer relationship management tools, point of sales systems, social media platforms, project management tools, communication and conferencing tools, and the list goes on. With so many established and upcoming tools available, SMEs can be operating in a short amount of time and from virtually anywhere in the world. However, having so many tools available that are meant to make us more productive can be overwhelming and ultimately work against us, making us less productive than if we went without.
So where are we at?
Virtually every SME recognises the benefits of having good technology in place to support their core business. The benefits of the tools used depend on these three key factors:
- the quality and reliability of the tools
- how the tools fit into the organisation
- how the tools are embraced and used by staff in the organisation
Predictably, there is a large variation in the uptake of tech used amongst SMEs and the actual usefulness (aka productivity) of the tools that are used.
There are two key factors for the selection of tools that are used in SMEs. The first factor is the staff size of the SME
. Generally speaking, a larger SME is a more mature organisation and will have some capital to invest into the organisation and the tools that are used. The second factor is the age demographic of the SME staff
. A younger median age team are typically more tech savvy than an older team and are willing to learn and adapt to new technology that is introduced into the organisation (especially if staff are office-based).
Where do we want to be?
The hunt is on for the ultimate combination of visual representation and automation; The portal, the dashboard and the reward automated tasks; The Land of Milk and Honey, where Streams of Data, Design and Engine flows into one Super River System. Although there is no perfect system, more SMEs recognise the benefits of having everything in one solid system which is designed well, easily used and accessible.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about portals and dashboards among SMEs. Organisations are heading towards the perfect one stop shop system that can do everything and the good news is we are closer than ever before. Apps and databases that can manage more of the core business requirements, converge data and functionality and create automation helps any organisation to save time and provide richer and quicker understanding of the business; where it is succeeding and where things need to improve.
Gareth Cunningham, Technical and Administrative Support from Statcom Systems, has recently implemented a new portal in his SME. LinkFM is our new portal for compliance measurement. A lot of development has been done around automation for reminders and follow-ups, freeing up our compliance managers to spend more time dealing with serious issues.