Whether you need to collaborate with colleagues overseas, hold regular meetings with clients in various countries or you’re trying to take your products or services to a global market, digital technology has made competing globally more accessible, realistic and viable than ever before.
From communication and management to marketing and sales, digital technology has become a key enabler for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that want to break down barriers which may have previously prevented or discouraged them from expanding their target markets.
The ability to grow with and adapt to emerging technologies is a key advantage for smaller businesses who have less complicated administrative procedures to tackle than many larger companies. This flexibility to embrace the changing digital trends provides great opportunities for SMEs to think innovatively and achieve greater success.
Discover 11 digital technologies and modern working practices that could help your business thrive across the world.
The cloud is the ultimate digital tool for businesses who need to remain connected and operate anywhere, at any time and with anyone. Simply, cloud computing is based on the internet and gives your business the ability to scale up and down with changing demands. The cloud enables ubiquitous, on-demand access to shared computing resources, data and files. Read our blog on the ways that your business can win by moving to the cloud to understand the key benefits.
There is a wealth of software that can help your business to maintain clear, consistent communication with stakeholders, wherever they are based. Tools such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) use the internet to make lower cost calls across the world. Similarly, tools such as Skype and WebEx mean that you don’t need to spend large amounts of time and money to fly around the world to see your customers. Regular online video meetings will ensure communications are managed just as effectively and efficiently as they would be face-to-face.
Whether you employ a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, in which staff use their own devices for work, or provide staff with company devices, mobile technology will enable employees to remain connected regardless of their location. Instead of relying on fixed landlines and access to desktop PCs, smartphones, tablets or laptops will allow employees to stay up to date with work activities, maintain direct communication and save on lost time when travelling.
Collaboration and project management tools
Managing employees and reviewing workloads can be a tricky task for remote teams but tools such as Basecamp and Trello can support project management activities by bringing all activity into one centralised platform. By using a core platform, all work can be easily accessed, overseen and managed in real time by the relevant parties. The real-time nature of updates means staff are always working from the same page.
File sharing tools / platforms
Cloud storage tools provide secure ways for businesses to store, share and access files online. Whether staff are working out of another office, on-the-go or across the other side of the world, they will have immediate access to the documents that they need meaning more efficient use of time and less waiting around for information. Similarly, efficient online file sharing can provide an easy way to send updates and documents to customers, whilst bypassing lagging emails or clogged inboxes.
Modern approaches to working refers to any work schedule that falls outside of the standard 5 days a week and 9 to 5 hours. This is a core component of a strong global strategy as not only does the provision of a good work-life balance help to attract and retain the best selection of employees but it enables staff to work in a collaborative fashion with colleagues who may be in different time zones. Flexibility is key to creating a work culture and processes that best suits the needs of the business and its stakeholders to achieve growth.
Online Management Tools
Taking your business into the cloud doesn’t just mean managing and facilitating the activity of staff. There’s a lot of core activity that goes into keeping a business functioning effectively. Fortunately, there’s digital tools that can support this too. The Superfast Business Wales Software Directory provides an overview of the software that could help improve management processes and covers key areas such as Finance, Sales, Human Resources, Security and Asset Management. Download your free copy.
Customer Relationship Management system
Whether you’re running a local business or a worldwide organisation, the key to success is understanding your customers. Storing and using their data in a CRM system can help you to meet their needs and deliver a better service wherever you may be trading around the world.
Social Media tools
Social media provides access to millions of consumers across the globe. By targeting your activities within specific locations or communities, you can generate awareness and engage interest from potential customers. Whether you’re working in 2 locations or 20, you should tailor you social activity to the most relevant platforms, content and popular times of day. You could even consider having separate profiles for different areas of the world. Social media scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite and Sendible allow you to keep regularly posting content in different time zones, even if you’re fast asleep.
If you’re planning to sell online then you’ll want an online store with a solid ecommerce platform. This platform will provide your business with the technology to sell anywhere in the world from a centralised digital base. Whether you decide to go for a hosted platform, which means that the company will host it, of self-hosted, which means that you will have to get your own web hosting, will determine which type of platform you will choose but some of the popular platforms that you might like to consider include: Shopify, Magneto or WooCommerce.
Get the practical advice you need to start growing your business now with digital technology. Join Superfast Business Wales at a fully-funded digital technology workshop. Take a look at what’s coming up!