5 Tips for Overcoming Technology Challenges in Small Businesses
Investing in new technology can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. The many stories of failed implementations, the abundance of choice, and the fear of choosing the wrong tools can lead any business to hesitate in acquiring new technology. In order to stay competitive, small businesses must take the plunge. The good news is that you do not have to make irrational or uneducated decisions because there are key aspects to look at before making a decision.
Challenge #1: Choosing the right technology correctly the first time. This can be done by:
- Knowing your business’s strengths:
Focus on points in your company where you are succeeding and where you can improve. Consult with managers and employees to assess pain points and in turn, understand how much time is spent on specific activities and where optimization is needed. For example, slow Wi-Fi speeds may slow down day-to-day operations. Scaling up to a faster package would increase productivity and increase business growth.
- Knowing your employees:
Understand the skill sets of your employees. Trying to implement new technology with a team that refuses to adapt is a futile endeavor. To avoid such issues, ensure that you understand the strengths of your team and where they will need support. A piece of technology that requires significant investment in constant training may not be worth it.
- Being User friendly:
User friendly technology is extremely important, as having a product that causes frustration amongst staff often results in decreased productivity.
- Researching the technology of interest:
Researching a product before you buy it is similar to test driving a car before you purchase it. You need to ensure you assess what products are on the market and find reviews from other users. Allowing the key users of the technology to lead research efforts will ensure they will benefit from and embrace the new product or system.
- Ensuring technical support is available
Through the implementation process, the chances of having a highly trained team are unlikely. To ensure the smooth transition from the old system to the new one, support in the form of training, security, upgrades and troubleshooting services is vital. We also recommend having an IT service team to help explain and guide your team through the transition so they can operate smoothly.
Choosing the right technology means choosing a system that not only delivers the capacity you need today, but can also meet tomorrow’s expansion needs. At the same time, you need to ensure you are not paying for more capacity than you need. Fortunately, there are now applications that allow you to pay only for what you need, giving you the flexibility to scale up as your business grows.
Challenge #2: Integrating applications
Integrating applications is another challenge that businesses often face. Sometimes newer technologies do not integrate well with older systems. Independent systems also prove to be an issue, as they act in isolation and are not able to communicate with other systems. As a result, operational and employee efficiency can take a huge hit because of these issues, like duplication of tasks or the inability to quickly find and track data. Integrating applications assist in comparing performance with a variety of other applications and help with business management procedures. And when customers have expectations, response time is better.
This is why it is important to check whether your existing systems will integrate with the new technologies you would like to leverage. In essence, your payment system should work with your accounting system, and your accounting system with your Customer Relationship Management.
CRM integration allows all your sales team’s essential functions to be in one place. This creates a space where emails, accounting, customer support and document management can be dealt with and accessed . Integrations can take place in one of three ways:
- Native integrations are built into the CRM software
These are the easiest to use and can be turned on with one click, within your CRM. Moreover, it enables you to work with common business tools. However, limitations occur with this integration platform, as they are only available for a small number of business tools.
- Third-party integrations are developed by independent companies
This integration platform is especially useful when many business tools are being utilized by a small business team. They are able to connect a wide range of business tools with your CRM and provide a large range of opportunities.
- Custom integrations are created using APIs (Application Program Interfaces):
This integration platform is a software-to-software interface that allows programs to connect and communicate with each other on a larger scale. All cloud-based businesses utilize APIs, which allows other types of software to access your CRM.
Custom CRM integration often requires technical expertise; however, when all your applications are connected, your business can operate more efficiently. You can experience this with certain systems, which allow you to integrate your CRM and Enterprise Resource Planning system, automating data migration and tasks by connecting your ERP with thousands of internet apps, such as marketing systems CRM , email, social media, etc. You can have assurance that your data is protected and is seamlessly transferred from one application to another.At KMF Technologies, our IT consultant has deep expertise in finding technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. We are versed across multiple platforms of systems integrations, enabling us to assess and troubleshoot the challenges your business faces, and create viable, forward facing solutions. Call us today!