Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are spending confidently on their tech stacks. Much of this is driven by the affordability of cloud-based services. Tools such as marketing automation, CRM, and web analytics, are helping SMBs to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, and reveal new insights into their business operations.
But with so many emerging technologies available, there are many decisions to be made. Choose the right solutions and your business is optimized for growth and expansion. Choose the wrong solutions and your investments may end up under-utilized and your business plans stalled.
Why its difficult to find solutions that are “fit-for-purpose”
Because technology powers almost everything SMBs use, choosing the right solution starts with understanding how that product will enable your business.
For example, SMBs often have immediate, tactical pain points that they need to address, such as time-consuming and manual workflows. But they’re also looking to maximize and coordinate their investments in a meaningful way and are turning to cloud and mobile technologies to help them do just that.
Today, 62% of SMBs are using one or more cloud-based solutions in their business while 49% use mobile applications to manage operations. But with so many software-as-a-service (SaaS) and mobility options, how do you ensure these investments are both future-proof and work with your existing technology stack?
The problem with today’s tech stack, particularly for SMBs, is that SaaS tools are often procured by teams or individuals with little oversight by IT. This leads to disjointed, fragmented silos that can create operational blind spots for companies, not to mention shadow IT headaches.
Another challenge is data. Data is being captured at astonishing rates across your business – data about customers, employees, equipment, inventory, and so on. Data that could drive insights, decisions, and even compliance – if you have the power to collect, share, and learn from it. The trouble is most businesses are using manual processes to collect information – paper forms, fillable PDFs, images, etc. – making information time-consuming to collect and deriving insights from that data impossible.
Yet, there are solutions that address each of these challenges, and they draw on the tools that SMBs are fast embracing – mobile technology and cloud services.
Optimize your tech stack and improve workforce productivity
For example, cloud-based mobile workflow platforms make it easy for SMBs to create powerful applications (no coding required) to capture, share and glean insights across all facets of the business. By replacing each of your paper forms with an application that can be filled out on a smart device and passed from one user to another for review and approvals, tedious tasks, errors, and inefficient processes are replaced with a digitized, streamlined workflow. And, because the data is stored in the cloud, it can be seamlessly pushed into existing tools like QuickBooks, Box, Google Drive, or other systems via Zapier integrations for greater utilization and insights.
By spending less time on inefficient paperwork, like completing inspections, filling in timesheets, customer surveys, retail inventory control, and more, employees can get more done and the customer experience is improved. Imagine being able to add photographs, signatures, location/time stamps and even dispatch people to jobs from a shared calendar, all from a single app.
Check the box for future-proofing your tech stack
Once a single use case or pain point is addressed, you can expand the scope to include other tasks and business processes. So, you might start with a payroll application, but then you identify a need to improve your inventory control. Adding an application for that workflow is easily done. Using pre-built templates or codeless customization you can quickly build an application to help you keep inventory and displays up to date.
There are thousands of use cases for the mobile digital capture solutions, so it is easy to expand into other workflows or tackle emerging pain points as your business positions itself for future growth – at a much lower cost than bespoke solutions.
Reduce your IT footprint and get more from your investments
Transitioning your business to mobile technology will not only streamline transactional processes, give you more accurate information, save hundreds of hours, but it will also reduce the footprint of your tech stack and take the pressure of IT.
As your company continues to digitally transform, look to procure solutions that seamlessly interface with existing systems and data – across your operations. No one wants 20 vendors in their tech stack, SMBs need unified, turnkey, future-proof solutions that address today’s need while easily scaling to tomorrow’s. Such solutions must be easy to implement and integrate with legacy tools so that your tech stack delivers maximum results with the least amount of impact on your investments and resources.
James Robins, Chief Marketing Officer at GoCanvas