by Linda Emma; Reviewed by David Weedmark, MCSE; Updated March 11, 2019
It’s difficult to imagine a successful business that doesn’t rely on technology in some way. If you want to increase productivity, provide better products and services, track sales and assets, and market effectively, you need the power of business technology.
Computers Are Only the Beginning
The rise of the modern computer in the 20th century forever changed the way companies conduct business. Today, the power and mobility of computers mean workers can do more in less time wherever they happen to be. Business applications do in minutes what once took weeks. Need to pull financial statements for a line of credit? Get on your desktop and fire up your accounting software. With the click of a few keystrokes, you can customize reports that highlight your company’s success and profitability. Preparing to make a killer pitch for a potential new client? Use presentation software that brings a wow factor to every item you sell or service you offer. Maybe you just need more nuts-and-bolts info on the day-to-day happenings. You can access inventory lists, check shipment deliveries, clock who’s doing what – all from your smartphone.
Collect Without Cash
In the area of payments, technology has been a big disruptor. Cash is no longer King, and even credit and debit cards are looking quaint. Both online and brick-and-mortar businesses want non-cash payment options. PayPal and other online banking services enjoy strong support by both business and private individuals. Quick payment by smartphone, via apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Venmo, are embraced by both retailers and their customers. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are also making inroads for cashless payments.
Software as a Service Keeps You Up-to-Date
Many of the programs that help businesses run efficiently have added potential. Companies that offer software as a service (SaaS) – initially called software on demand – can help your business scale upward with more speed and agility at a price you can afford. Any good company needs to pay attention to its clients, but it also needs to have a pipeline of new clients. Programs that allow you to track the progress of a lead as it turns into a customer are used across industries, but what happens when your in-house software can’t keep up? SaaS allows you to add storage and features almost immediately. For a monthly fee, you get the most modern version of whatever software you choose. In addition to providing constant upgrades, SaaS companies also handle storage and security. Everything you need is stored in the cloud so there’s no need for in-house servers that can require frequent and costly maintenance.
Sales and Marketing Options Abound
Technology changes the way you sell and market what you do. Your website isn’t just a place to sell products; it can also be a brand statement that raises your profile across the country and the globe. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing strategy that increases the likelihood that when someone searches online for a product or service you sell, they’ll find you instead of a competitor. Another online marketing avenue is digital advertising in which you position your ads before a specific targeted audience but only pay for those ads when a potential customer clicks on one.
A New Reality
Augmented Reality (AR), once the stuff of science fiction, has found its way into many areas of business. Combining a real image with a virtual one, AR is transforming the shopping experience. Apparel and cosmetic retailers use AR “mirrors” – a video display / camera combination that puts the customer on the screen – to let shoppers try out a new look. Furniture sellers let their customers check out virtual sofas, tables and lamps in their own home, via a smartphone app.