Boosting efficiency and driving down costs are top priorities for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like yours. Fortunately, you can make a number of technological upgrades that will help you accomplish both of these goals — and you don't need to break the bank to implement them.
Consider investing in the following tech upgrades to ensure your SMB is operating at its full potential.
A unified communications (UC) system consolidates all of your organization's communication tools — including instant messaging, video conferencing, and content sharing — into a single platform. This lets your employees switch seamlessly between communication methods as needed, without having to sign in and out of multiple applications. This saves them a significant amount of time each day, which then allows them to focus on more productive tasks.
UC technology also makes it easier for team members to collaborate with one another, whether they're all working in the office, remotely, or in a hybrid work setup. What's more, UC systems are easy to scale up or down based on changing business needs.
SMBs are increasingly becoming targets of cyberattacks, which can have devastating consequences. Investing in holistic cybersecurity solutions is therefore essential for protecting your business from these threats.
At a minimum, your cybersecurity infrastructure should include anti-malware and anti-spam protection, as well as a firewall. But you may also want to consider additional features like intrusion detection and prevention, data encryption, and user activity monitoring. And to further reduce your risk of being attacked, be sure to invest in cybersecurity awareness training for your employees. This will help them spot and avoid potential threats, as well as understand the role they play in keeping your business safe.
Related reading: Debunking the top five cybersecurity myths that can harm your business
Having a dependable high-speed internet connection is a must in today’s fast-paced digital world, as it will allow your employees to quickly and easily access the business information and resources they need, when they need them.
One way to ensure that you have a reliable internet connection is to choose an internet service provider (ISP) that offers a service level agreement. This will guarantee a minimum level of service, so you can be sure your business won't be left without internet access for extended periods of time. It's also a good idea to have a backup internet connection in place, in case your primary ISP experiences an outage.
Outdated or inadequate hardware and software can impact the productivity of your employees. That's why it's important to invest in high-quality systems that will meet their needs now and in the future.
For example, if your employees tend to work on a lot of graphics-heavy projects, they'll need a powerful computer with a large monitor. And if they frequently collaborate with team members who are located in different offices and/or time zones, they'll need a reliable video conferencing system.
You might also want to ensure that your network infrastructure can support the increased traffic required by your new tech. If you don’t know whether your current network is up to the task, consider working with a qualified IT consultant to assess your needs and make recommendations.
There are now plenty of tools and software platforms available that can automate repetitive tasks, which can free up your employees' time for more strategic work. For example, you can deploy an online scheduling tool for customers to book appointments or request quotes, rather than having your employees manually manage these requests. Or, if your SMB regularly sends out invoices or marketing materials, you can use a document automation tool to streamline this process.
To find the right automation solutions, start by identifying the tasks that are taking up the most time and resources. Then, research the various options available and select the ones that will best meet your needs. You might want to try these solutions out first on a small scale, to make sure they work as advertised and fit well into your existing workflow.
Investing in these five areas of technology will go a long way toward making your SMB more efficient, productive, and competitive. By staying up to date on the latest advancements, you can ensure that your business is well positioned for success in the years to come.
Our team of experts at outsourceIT can help you select and implement the right technology solutions for your Washington, DC SMB. Contact us today to get started.