Going Beyond Websites and Social Media

It seems many Small Enterprises focus their efforts on using websites and social media to market their offerings with a view of increasing their sales. However, since the introduction of the computing technology into business back in the 1950’s, large enterprises have focused the using technology driven solutions to improve efficiency and reduce cost. Both sides of the balance sheet are important for success but from my own experience larger businesses still place significantly more emphasis on managing the costs when picking technology projects.

I have worked throughout my career for financial services business creating and implementing technology solutions. Given the profits of our big banks, many might consider that financial institutions operate on large margins. This is not the case at all and in fact the margins per transaction are miniscule and often mostly measured in basis points (one hundredth of one percentage point). Over decades financial instructions have automated to the point that there is no real human cost in performing a transaction. The computer system deals with the complexity of managing the process end to end with generally no interaction from a human at all. This very high level of automation allows for costs to be so small on a per transaction that the profitability of each transaction becomes proportionally higher. Couple this with millions of transactions per day and the result is seen at each earnings release. Essentially today most people employed by banks are in place to help the consumer interact with the computer system.

Having a computer carry out mathematical functions in the example above is easy once you know what calculations are needed. The real complexity is understanding what the business needs to do and how to use technology to do that task efficiently.

For many smaller enterprises the focus is on the business they operate and how to get the best out of what they have and do today. Many don’t spend the time or effort to understanding how doing it different might result in greater efficiency and cost reduction. Time and motion studies have helped improve manufacturing processes for years with an outcome of significantly reducing costs. Similar approaches are applicable to identifying opportunities where technology can step in and help.

Only in more recent years are business owners are starting to recognise opportunities beyond basic business functions to deploy technology to greatly reduce costs and simplifying complex business processes. Products such as Microsoft Office 365 have capabilities well beyond email and word processing. Amongst the big technology companies are Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 and Google Cloud. All offering capabilities that allow small/medium businesses access the same tools and techniques of the largest fortune 500 organisations. The real issue for smaller businesses is not access to the technology but understanding how to use them in business.

Find yourself a good local resource that is focused in technology and keeps up to date with the continual changing landscape. Most importantly that person must be passionate about delivering solutions that have positive outcomes in a business environment. Although many might consider that the cost of bringing in an expert can seem high, you should be focused on the long term returns that recommendations and changes that are implemented with bring to your business.

I hope my thoughts have inspired you to think about areas of your business that are causing you trouble which might be helped by employing a technology solution. You are welcome to contact me at any time to discuss this material or of course how I might be able to help you.