The arms race of business technology has evolved enormously over the past decade. Gone are the days where only big business had access to the powerful databases and slick dashboards that create “sticky” customer relationships. Powerful and inexpensive Software-as-a-Service applications and customizable tools on the market have leveled the technology playing field and opened up a tremendous opportunity for small and midsize businesses to grab market share from organizations with much greater resources.
Unfortunately, most clients we meet with are not using any of the options available to their advantage. And many IT Service companies do not help their clients think of technology in terms of leverage or competitive advantage.
Here are 3 Ways to Leverage business technology for competitive advantage:
- Build custom software– Have you ever wished you could get a key piece of data from your myriad of Excel files that would help you to understand your customers better? Or wished you didn’t have to go through so many steps for a business process? Solutions like Microsoft SharePoint allow you to take a simple and elegant platform that is tremendously powerful, and create the custom software on top of it, to solve business challenges. Although these solutions can be built out to the Nth degree, a simple SharePoint site can be built for less than $1,000 and can save a company thousands of labor hours a year.
- Build Connectors between applications– A huge problem for companies nowadays is that they have data in too many places. It’s not uncommon for us to see five to ten different data repositories in companies that only have fifteen or twenty employees! This means that it is very difficult to find patterns in the data that could help you to craft a better experience or reach your customers more effectively. It also means that employees are likely spending a significant amount of unnecessary time entering or retrieving data from multiple places. The solution: build “middleware” that connects the interfaces of different applications (also called API’s). This is relatively inexpensive and can give your business insight that your competition might miss.
- Develop Top-notch network security– It’s not necessarily obvious, but with the exponential increase in data breaches, ransomware, malware attacks and cloud solutions (like DropBox) a good defensive strategy can be a good offensive strategy. Being able to articulate and tout the Best-of-Class security your organization employs when dealing with sensitive client data can help you win business, and demonstrate long-term value with your clients. It can also save huge amounts of time in distractions and downtime.
Small and midsize businesses have to be sharper and faster than ever to compete. Fortunately, there are tools available that are more accessible and inexpensive than ever before to create a competitive advantage for companies who are willing to invest.
If you would like to know more about leveraging technology to create a competitive advantage in your business, please contact Upward Technology today.