Four Stand-out Trends of 2015
Each year brings its share of challenges and possibilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Among them, there are always tech developments that can – if used correctly – help firms become more efficient, more cost-effective and better serve customers. Here are our four stand-out tech trends for 2015:
This is the top priority for many SMEs, but it’s also a massive challenge. Firms are increasingly embracing the benefits that digitization brings, and are increasingly aware of the pitfalls of ignoring its possibilities. The UK government has even warned of the hindrance that manual processes place on SMEs and their limited resources, so is rolling out online services that include digital tax returns. A fundamental part of digitization is the integration of paperless processes, which help SMEs operate more efficiently, productively, transparently and economically.
Cloud and Apps
The convenience and cost-saving benefits of the cloud are being whole-hearted embraced by small businesses. The cloud gives SMEs access to enterprise-class applications but without the traditional price tag. With a wide range of cloud applications available, firms can cherry pick the ones most relevant to their needs and increase the efficiency and accuracy of their core functions. Everything from the necessary but time consuming number crunching of accounting, to essential HR management can all be made simpler and provides businesses with a stable foundation that encourages business growth. Furthermore, the nature of cloud applications means there are flexible pricing models which can increase in line with usage, ensuring businesses aren’t lumbered with solutions too big for their needs. In other words, cloud-based technology opens the door to risk-free growth.
Bring Your Own Device
BYOD has given many SMEs a lot to think about this year. Businesses with a clear BYOD strategy can realize the benefits of flexible working, improved employee performance and increased customer engagement. Employees using devices they are familiar with will find it helps them to be productive. When embracing a BYOD policy, small businesses should consider the challenges which can impact a successful implementation. Employees will need access to applications which harmonize with ones already in use across the enterprise, ensuring a seamless user experience that helps firms do business wherever they are.
As businesses look for ways to increase productivity and reduce expenditure, electronic invoicing became a real option for SMEs in 2015. Able to reduce the processing costs of inbound and outbound invoices by 60%, e-invoices add reliability, security, traceability and efficiency to a function traditionally bloated with manual processes. Moreover, the problem of late payment is one that is growing and, for small businesses with limited resources, it can prove fatal. E-invoices automate the preparation and sending of invoices, ensuring SMEs are sending out accurate and timely bills which gives them more control of the payment process. With EU regulations demanding that all suppliers issue e-invoices to the public sector by 2020, will 2016 see you adopt them?
Small businesses that have embraced technology this year can hope to reap the rewards through improved efficiencies and time freed up to concentrate on serving customers and growing the business. These four trends, and other technology opportunities, will continue to bring benefits to SMEs in 2016 and the coming years.
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