When we thought about IT and technology a few years ago, we generally just meant a big old machine, a really simple website if you were very cool, slow dial-up internet, and a box full of floppy discs. After a few decades, almost everything in the workplace is operated by a machine in some way, and we use information technology in ways that no one could have ever predicted.
It is critical to have a clear understanding of information technology and how it can help your business evolve and be competitive in a time when almost all is digital. If you start to lag behind in terms of technology, you will soon find yourself falling behind your peers and rivals in the market.
Of course, not everyone is confident with using information technology. In fact, a huge percentage of us aren’t. While we might be ok with sending emails, printing off a few documents and using some basic software, when it comes to dealing with software or hardware issues, internet and connection problems and things to do with networks, many people are completely stumped. They end up paying a fortune for someone to come in and fix it – and it comes at a premium. These IT experts realize that you need help urgently and will charge handsomely for it. It is a good idea, therefore, to have your IT needs managed by an external provider. This usually involves paying a monthly or annual fee but it means your IT system is kept ticking over, and if something does go wrong, you have not got to worry about paying a huge urgent bill to get things sorted. Do your research, of course – ask questions such as how quickly can they respond to problems and of course, how can you ensure that your managed service provider is secure?
Here, we take a look at some of the other tech things you need to be up to date with in your business.
Almost every successful company has a social media presence. People are abandoning phone calls and face-to-face meetings in favour of using social media to solve problems. It is a low-cost way of promoting your company and an excellent way of engaging with your customers on a personal level. You will connect with current customers by creating exciting and meaningful content.
Physical media such as USB sticks, CD-Roms, and floppy discs are no longer used to store important files and documents. Instead, we use cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive, which reduce the risk of losing anything if it crashes and allow you to store and access data from almost anywhere on the planet.
Workflow management tools
Remember when you had to send memos or even pick up the phone to schedule meetings and appointments? It is all a lot more straightforward these days. You can connect with other members of your team, assign tasks, and schedule meetings all with a few clicks of a button and from anywhere by using a workflow management app. This is particularly useful given how popular and common place working from home or remote working has become.
You will have a website or, at the very least, a blog if you are a business owner in the twenty-first century. Even the most technophobic individual can create and maintain these, but if you want it to look professional, you might want to consider hiring a website management company. It has to be clean and clear, load quickly, and be valuable to your customers. Your website is often the first contact your customers will have with you. If they cannot find the information that they need, or the content is out of date or irrelevant, they are going to look elsewhere.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you get your website up and running, you should learn about search engine optimization, or SEO as it is more widely known, in order to have it ranked high enough in search engines to be available to potential customers. In essence, this is where you consider the keywords that people searching for your website might use and incorporate them into your content. It also involves labelling your images, making sure that technical aspects of your page, such as page loading speed, are as good as possible and producing regular content. If you want to have a go at doing it yourself, there are plenty of tools and apps to help you with this, but many decide to hand over the reins to thins to a professional.