The rate at which technology and digital software applications are developing is phenomenal and digital efficiency is a key component to the success of every business. Every day there are new updates, patches, and innovative systems being introduced into the market.
This offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to get an edge over their competition, but on the flipside, you can also get left behind if you ignore the changing landscape. Digital efficiency does not only mean getting the latest hardware, software, and apps. It goes much further.
The real focus of digital efficiency is running a business that embraces technology and uses it to constantly adapt and evolve with an ever-changing marketplace and create new business models quickly.
To understand how to harness the power of digital efficiency, we must first understand what falls under digitisation.
There are four main categories:
This includes the basics of any workstation tools such as word-processing and spreadsheet software, computer operating systems, networks, wifi and fixed point internet, scanners, VOIP telephony systems as well as virtual and physical conferencing equipment.
Online and web-based environments
This area includes anything that a business might use which lives online. Examples include intranets, internets, websites, online software apps, records and transactions.
This is one of the biggest growth areas that businesses are adapting to. The cloud is not, as many people imagine it to be, information that is stored on the internet. Far from it. The cloud is a collection of secure and encrypted super-servers, most of which are located in the United States, to store data offsite. Think of it as a warehouse of digital information.
The cloud is taking on a new meaning as more and more software apps designed for businesses, including payroll, forecasting, budgeting, accounting, marketing and social media are dependent on it.
Business information systems
These include databases, geospatial data systems, human resources systems, financial systems, workflow systems, client management systems, electronic document and records management. Many of these systems are moving to the cloud, but they are not out of the picture – yet.
Identifying areas where you can improve digital efficiency
No matter what size your business is, one of the first things you should consider when trying to boost your digital efficiency is getting advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.
The old idea of having an IT guy who fixes computers when people mess them up at work is long gone. These days, you need a digital efficiency specialist.
If you run or own a large business, then you should stress to your recruitment team that you want a person who will help the company become more efficient in the digital space. Their job performance should be tied to increased efficiency and productivity by identifying areas where changes can be made and improving the situation.
If you own a small business, it is worth engaging a consultant to advise you on how to improve things. We all think we know IT, but the reality is that we don’t. These people are experts at what they do and will give you a roadmap to improve your digital efficiency.
Let’s say you own a picture printing business and your computer workstations are old and clunky. If your workstations are old, then the likelihood is that your photo retouching software is also old. It probably all runs very slowly. This leads to lack of productivity as well as tension at the workplace.
This example holds true for all pieces of hardware and all businesses. Whether it is the computer, external storage, router, wi-fi speeds or even a printer, make sure you update your hardware to be able to run developing and new software at fast speed. Make sure that the equipment can be upgraded in the future.
In terms of data storage, buy a good quality drive that will last you and keep it clean and well maintained. In terms of data transfer, don’t get locked in with a fixed contract. Make sure you can increase bandwidth and data limits if you need to.
For hardware to work properly, it needs to have up to date software. Renew your subscriptions before they come up so you can install updates in due time, without having to bring your whole business to a standstill. This especially holds true for computer and network operating systems.
Newer software versions also have improvements that will help you be more efficient and cut down on wasted time.
Apps designed for businesses
Another of our blog posts gives a broad overview of different apps that can help businesses streamline their work processes, increase digital efficiency and most importantly grow.
We give practical examples where Dexterous gets the very best out of bookkeeping and accounting software and apps to make our own operations more efficient, allowing us to give a better service to our clients.
The list of apps that exist is endless and there are many different ones with the same types of features. Some handle payroll, others act as a task assignment board, one-stop-shop content management systems, social media multi-posting and monitoring, forecasting, budgeting, cash flow management and much more.
Many of these apps are available on the internet and there are very competitive packages that will suit all different types of businesses. You really should do plenty of reading online to see how different products and services can help your business. One easy way to keep track of what is going on in the world is Google alerts.
Analytics are measurements that software companies make of your business’ performance. It is not simply about how many hits per page you get on your website. Analytics applies to any process that is managed by software. Most online software packages and apps include analytics software which is presented in an easy to understand manner which will help you understand the way your business is performing.
Be responsive and plan for the future
Staying informed is the most effective way to be responsive when innovation takes a leap into the future. If you don’t know about it, you can’t harness it. If you can’t harness it, someone else will and that will leave you behind and at a disadvantage. Your business should always be well-positioned to respond to change.