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When it comes to running a company, business owners generally have a lot to deal with – whether that’s handling company finances or tackling the endless mountain of paperwork. These tasks can take up a lot of time. But, what if it was possible to improve the efficiency of these business processes and cut down on the time spent on simpler, lower value jobs?
With the development of new technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud and improved mobile devices, this is becoming a reality. They are presenting companies with huge opportunities to streamline business processes, and benefit from increased efficiency, productivity and revenue.
But with these technologies still in their early stages, the majority of businesses are still learning to get to grips with them. As such, we examine the latest developments making strides in the business world and how professionals can reap the rewards of better, streamlined operations.
Today, most of us carry smartphones and other mobile devices in our pockets on a day-to-day basis – devices that hold a considerable amount of computing power. In fact, four out of five adults now own a smartphone. These devices are increasingly making their way into the business space and are replacing the traditional desktop computer. Thanks to these lightweight, portable devices with their thin screens, employees have the ability to literally work from anywhere, at any time, and with the same level of efficiency as they would have in an office with a laptop or PC.
It’s clear that smart phones are becoming more and more powerful. Some of the largest technology providers are now spending huge amounts of time developing devices that can perform a range of extremely advanced tasks. For instance, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all investing heavily in speech recognition technology, which will be embedded into mobile devices. Combining this technology with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), we could see business users essentially carrying around a personal assistant in their pocket, which could help speed up time-consuming processes like arranging meetings. Business leaders could tell their phones to arrange a meeting with three other people, and then the device would actually call them up and co-ordinate diaries.
Cloud-based services, such as Dropbox and mobile data capture solutions, are currently experiencing a huge growth in popularity. Companies of all shapes and sizes are already migrating to the cloud in their droves – 84% of UK businesses now use some form of cloud computing service. And according to research by Cisco, four fifths of all data centre traffic will be stored on the cloud by 2020.
Recently, a leading global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) business, Mayfair, swapped its paper-based audit forms for a cloud solution to speed up the stock audit process and improve profitability. As a result, the company significantly improved the accuracy of its audits and reduced the amount of time required by auditors to capture information, such a stock counts and images of store shelving. Confidence in buying decisions has now been improved and stock level inaccuracies have been reduced, making for greater profitability and efficiency.
Those businesses opting for paperless mobile solutions that save data to the cloud, will benefit from a reduction in time and money spent on otherwise longwinded administration processes. In fact, studies show that adopting cloud computing tech allows businesses to grow and work at a faster rate, with profits 26% higher on average than their competitors.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is more of a concept, rather than one particular piece of technology. The basis behind the term is that eventually, almost any device will be able to connect to the Internet, therefore enabling users to access them from any location. The technology behind IoT is still in the early stages, however, it’s expected to really take off in the near future.
From data collecting devices to time-saving automation tech, IoT can help businesses to completely transform themselves by becoming more productive, versatile and forward thinking. The benefits of being able to connect to and access every device in the office at any time, and from wherever you are in the world, are huge. This can help businesses save considerable amounts of time, removing the need to travel back and forth to the office to collect important documents. Not to mention, that conducting business internationally is becoming easier than ever.
Technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate, offering businesses across all sectors the opportunity to streamline and automate some of their more time-consuming processes. The brave business owners who take the plunge and invest in this technology will be the ones to reap the vast amount of benefits, particularly when it comes to running the company in a much more strategic manner. And with competition so fierce, businesses need to be doing all they can to get ahead and ensure they are being as efficient as possible.
By Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile.