Are you worried that you aren’t investing enough into small business tech for your company? With the tech trends happening today, you have reason to have a concern. Reports show that 44% of companies are continuing to accelerate their digital transformations. If you aren’t doing enough to keep pace, you won’t be able to take advantage of new tools that keep you competitive. If your business is falling behind the tech curve, you need to know where to start to get your IT infrastructure up to speed.
Below are nine business technologies that every business should have.
1. CRM Software
It wasn’t always easy to track customer relationships before CRM software. Salespeople would use call sheets or go through a tedious process of tracking leads and potential sales opportunities.
The sales team also had to call into the office to find information when out on calls. CRM software solves this problem by making customer records easy to locate, generating reports, and scheduling follow-up calls without involving anyone else in the company.
CRM software is also online today. Most packages have mobile apps that give you an easy way to pull up any information you need on your phone. You can sit at a client location to brush up on old phone calls, things your customer enjoys, and anything else that will give you an advantage during a meeting.
2. Project Management Software
Managing projects wasn’t always easy with business. You held a ton of meetings and handled all the little details of your project by email. It wasn’t uncommon for little details to get lost in the mix.
Project management software helps make things easier.
Project management software is a business tool that revolves around managing your project workflow and team. Management software can help with various aspects of your business, including:
- Time tracking
- Project tracking
- Task assignment and delegation
- Document sharing
- Team collaboration
Modern project management systems are also in the cloud. You don’t have to worry about someone not having access to critical information when they aren’t in front of an office computer. As long as you have an internet connection, you can log into a project management program and find whatever information you need.
3. Document Management
Are you still managing your business documents on your local computers and desktop software? If so, you likely have difficulty keeping everyone updated with the latest version of your documents.
If you want to streamline document production, cloud document tools like Office 365 and Google Docs let you store your documents online.
Online document management is recommended because they keep all members of your team on the same page. You can access your documents from any device and let multiple people edit and update the same document at once.
Any updates are saved automatically, and your team sees the most recent version of the document as soon as they log in. You aren’t stuck with only the most recent document version, either. You can take advantage of version history to roll back your document to old versions in cases where someone makes a mistake.
4. Video Conferencing Software
No matter how small or large your business is, video conferencing software can make all the difference. The ability to see and speak to other people in real-time is invaluable for today’s businesses.
You no longer have to worry about making long drives across town or sending employees across the country just for a meeting. Video conferencing can happen face-to-face, entirely remotely. This flexibility means your company saves money on travel expenses.
Of course, video conferences aren’t only helpful in meeting with customers. Your employees can use conferencing software, as well.
The chances are good that you have parts of your team that work remotely. It can be challenging for those people to make it into the office if they live far away from your location. Conferencing software lets them take part in team meetings while still in the comfort of their homes.
5. Cloud Backups
Even with the most robust IT infrastructure, there’s always the chance that your system goes down. These failures can come from anything between ransomware and hardware failures. The question is, what happens if those failures cause your files to disappear?
If you don’t have a backup solution for your data, you’ll need to rebuild everything from scratch to get back up and running. If you’re a large organization, there’s no telling how much time and money this will cost your company.
Some businesses rely on physical backups to protect themselves. While a physical backup is better than nothing, it won’t be on-site if you handle physical backups correctly. It will take time to get your data back.
A cloud backup doesn’t have this problem. All you have to do is log into your cloud backup system and download any information you lost. If you prioritize your most vital files, you can be back up and running in a few minutes.
6. Network Server
Even with the tools provided by the cloud, there still might be a few things you don’t want to put online. Whether it’s because you want to control your data or work in a highly regulated industry, you can’t do this without a network server.
A network server is a computer server that acts as the central hub for your office. You can use it to connect your office computers, store files, host software, and many other things.
Of course, you’ll need a way to connect your business hardware after purchasing your network server. An IT firm can help you with your router, network wiring, and everything else needed to build an in-house company network.
7. Website Software
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t immediately go online searching for information about products these days. The question is, do you have a web presence to take advantage of the traffic Google provides?
If you don’t have a small business website, or you don’t have one that is up to date, then you might as well not exist.
A website is your online home. It tells customers what they can expect when they do business with you. It also helps people find you more easily.
When someone searches for “restaurant in London” on Google, do you want yours to be on the first page or buried in a thousand other results?
The good news is that building a site doesn’t have to be expensive.
Software like WordPress lets you set up a website in minutes. It also has theme marketplaces that let you choose from thousands of pre-built themes that make your site look great. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a great designer to get your business online.
8. VPN Protection
If you’re like many businesses today, a lot of your workforce either works from home part-time or full-time. While this is great for productivity and employee happiness, it also opens the door for security issues. With cybercrime at an all-time high, this is a risk you can’t ignore.
Unless you supply your employees company laptops, they’re going to use their own hardware when working. The problem with this is that you don’t have control over how they maintain their systems. They could run their computers without virus protection and put your company data at risk.
You also run a risk if an employee works in a coffee shop or another public WiFi location. Hackers set up fake WiFi networks in these locations to try and intercept sensitive information.
A VPN will help you in these cases.
Your VPN will encrypt all traffic that happens on your employee’s computer. Even if a hacker can see the traffic going in and out of someone’s computer, they won’t be able to see any data.
9. VOIP Phones
One business technology that small businesses should make a priority is purchasing a VOIP phone. A VOIP phone eliminates the need for a separate phone provider, saving you a lot of time and hassle.
Your VOIP phone also uses your internet connection when making calls. This means you only have to worry about your internet bill and not a separate landline.
A VOIP phone is also helpful for remote workers. Most VOIP providers have smartphone apps that connect your employees to your VOIP service and use your business phone number instead of a cell phone number.
This is useful if you have potential customers that don’t take calls from unknown numbers. If your employees use their VOIP caller with your business number, the caller ID on phones will show your business is the caller. You won’t need to worry about people dodging your calls.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Business Technologies
You can’t afford to play catchup in today’s digital world. Without the best business technologies for business, the chances that you fall behind your competitors are much greater.
Make sure to invest in the business tools above to help your business grow.
Do you want to learn more about using tech in business? Check out our latest blog posts to learn the latest business tech trends.