Writtten by Sean Tilbrook
Everyone knows how much technology has changed our world. There are a million examples I can use that show just how far we’ve come.
But do we have too much technology in our lives? Some people would argue yes, we do. Given we’re a technology company I often find myself reading tech stories. A great article on the Forbes website recently focused on whether we’re too over reliant on technology in our lives. There was an example of a company in the US that relied on Google Maps GPS to find a home they were contracted to demolish. They had the right house number and lot position – only problem was Google Maps had sent them to the wrong street. You can guess what happened next!
Closer to home, we’ve all seen the Federal Government focus on innovation and the digital economy. I believe it’s the right focus, however it means we need to change the way we work in the future. We as business leaders need to drive that change.
Maybe in our personal lives technology is taking over, but in business, is there such a thing as too much technology? In short – no! Technology, when it’s used to connect people and process, can drive efficiency, productivity and access to information in your business.
So what are the top 3 areas I’ve seen improve?
Remove paper based workflows
This might sound odd coming from a guy that’s sold print equipment for the best part of 20 years, but in reality our business evolved many years ago. While print is still important, the reality is that a host of technology exists that can help you automate most paper-based workflows.
Take the humble invoice: we’ve all got them. Many businesses across the country still process, handle and store invoices manually. Imagine you could automate the process from the minute you receive an invoice to the time it is paid? The technology exists and it’s now at a point where it’s accessible to all businesses, big or small.
Put it in the cloud
Most businesses interact with the cloud, that’s nothing new. Technology has made it easy for us to lift huge chunks of cost from our businesses, making us more efficient and scalable.
Think about your accounting package. I bet if you’re like most other WA SMB’s you’re using something like Xero to manage your business. More and more of our technology will move into the cloud and I think it’s only going to continue.
The last of the big three areas that have revolutionised business is mobility. We use mobile technology extensively; our business has been a big adopter of mobility-based solutions. In fact, we built our own in house technology, linking our service technicians to our back-end systems for managing device parts and service alerts. Our techs can now access all sorts of data on their iPad so they can diagnose a support alert in real time. Our customers even digitally sign off all our service calls on the tech’s iPad. The key thing: it links all our back office systems directly to the service tech wherever they are, which really improves our customer service. That’s the power of being mobile.
Think about the future
The big challenge you’ll need to think about: workforce transition. As our friendly Generation Y gang (also known as Millennials) grow to be more than 50% of the workforce, we’ll be faced with the first group of true ‘digital natives’. They are the first generation of workers who grew up with mobile and cloud technology as the norm. Decisions you make now on how to best utilise technology will not only affect your productivity, but also your ability to attract the best talent for the future!