Levelling the playing field: Empowering small businesses through advanced technological solutions
In the midst of rapid technological revolution that has defined today’s era, a myriad of game-changing automated tools and solutions has become a vital part of contemporary business organisations all over the world.
Figures released by Gartner show that almost USD 4 trillion is expected to be spent globally on information technology (IT) in 2019, with enterprise software, IT services, and data-centre spending as areas where tech investments are said to grow the fastest. Businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, meantime, is predicted to spend USD 160 billion this year on IT solutions alone, up 1.8 percent from 2018, as per a separate study also conducted by Gartner.
Small business technology spending, in particular, is in the upswing. As per IDC’s report, spending by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) on IT hardware, software, and services, including business services, will hit the USD 684-billion mark by 2021. Findings of a survey conducted by Capterra specifically cite where allocations go and some of these identified tech budget priorities are: finance and accounting software (54%); cloud computing (48%); data and information security (47%); digital marketing (45%); and human resource (HR) software (43%).
Technology solutions are now empowering small businesses at a whole new level — even giving them an opportunity to effectively compete with enterprises double or triple their size. Consider these benefits: greater efficiency; higher savings, productivity, and profitability at reduced workloads; automated and streamlined processes; a transparent work system; and higher compliance level with government regulations and laws.
Additionally, modern tools help small business owners arrive at more informed decisions through data analytics as well as enable them to focus on mission-critical aspects of the business knowing that these technologies can be relied on to effectively and accurately handle other tasks that had previously occupied much of their time and attention.
Fundamentals such as financials, marketing, operations, customer service, human capital development, and employee collaboration, among others, are significantly enhanced through the latest available technological solutions.
On financial management, for instance, many comprehensive automated accounting solutions nowadays are equipped with top-notch features that have been designed to streamline and organise the finance aspect of a small business, including accounting and invoicing processes. Other benefits include effective cash flow tracking and financial book and record management as well as timely and efficient tax law compliance.
Another is enhanced customer experience. Customers are at the heart of any small enterprise’s success. By using the right technologies, small organisations can better understand and meet the needs of their customers. They can also increase and improve their engagement with their clients by maximising the proper tech tools.
Efficient recruitment process has been achieved with higher efficiency as well thanks to new technologies. Small business owners can utilize the latest solutions to collaborate with their employees wherever they may be. This has made attracting the best talents based in different parts of the world easier for small companies, enabling them to compete with fully-funded multinationals and big corporations.
As enterprises integrate technologies into their system, it is important to point out that owners should also simultaneously invest in staff training to teach their employees how to properly handle and operate these state-of-the-art tools. If their employees, especially the not-so-tech-savvy ones, cannot keep up with these technological changes within the organisation, then every effort toward automation and digitalisation will all be for naught. There is also the case of network safety and security, which should be prioritised as well.
Technology tools, including automated solutions, help level the playing field for small businesses. They can reinforce their operational and organisational management much like how large enterprises operate. They help small businesses become smarter and more competitive and attain unprecedented success. In short, technology has transformed how small businesses run their companies today with endless opportunities and possibilities for growth.
This article is written by Vikas Panchal, Business Head at Tally Solutions in the Middle East, a leading international accounting and compliance software provider.