By now you have probably heard the term ‘disruption’ in reference to business models. This is essentially referring to how technology is changing the way we do business in the 21st century. As a business owner, you need to be prepared for the digital revolution or you risk getting left behind – or to put it another way, digitally disrupted!
There have been some major examples of the effects of digital disruption in recent times which demonstrate how it’s better to be a disrupter than a disruptee. This includes the case of Borders, which continued to invest in large physical stores selling books and music rather than embracing the e-book and online revolution, and Kodak, which failed to jump on the digital photography bandwagon and ended up paying the price.
Disruption might be the buzzword of the moment, but the concept is not a new one. You only have to think of how the motor car took over from the horse-drawn carriage, and the ways in which many processes have become faster and more automated over many decades, making some manufacturing jobs obsolete.
Preparing for the digital age
The digital age is evolving rapidly, and in your business you need to look at how you can embrace it to avoid being seriously disrupted.
This refers to using software through online or in ‘the cloud’. Examples include online storage and cloud accounting among others. Features include:
- The ability to ‘rent’ software rather than purchase it, which also provides you with the latest updates as they become available.
- Space and cost savings on hardware such as servers and storage for programs and data files. For example, online storage allows you to save documents securely online in the cloud rather than on disks or in print form. This also reduces the risk of loss of files and documents from disasters and can also enable you to work collaboratively with others on projects.
- The ability to do your accounting ‘online’. Cloud accounting is becoming very popular, and provides a number of advantages, including:
- Features such as bank-feeds that can fast-track bank reconciliations.
- Time and cost savings on bookkeeping functions.
- Access to your system from any location where a secure internet connection is available.
- The ability to use the system while on the road and update client files as you go, and to share online files with others (such as your accountant and auditors).
- Capacity for add-on features to suit different types of business.
Embracing cloud computing helps you to remain competitive and to save on resources such as labour, time, space and money, and to keep your data and documents secure.
Even if you have a great website, it’s important to be aware that the use of mobile devices for accessing the web is growing at an exponential rate. Failure to embrace the mobile revolution could result in missing out on some great marketing and sales opportunities. Tips include:
- Ensuring your website is optimised for mobile use to make it easy for users to access and use on their smart phones.
- Developing apps for your brand to enable users to more easily perform functions on their mobile devices.
- Enabling remote workers or those on the road to access and update your systems with sales or other information, ensuring your data is as ‘real-time’ as possible.
Having a site that is optimised for mobile may also rank better when it comes to search engines. In any case it should help to more easily keep your users engaged with your business.
Replacing old machines:
The ‘old’ type of office usually had a printer, a scanner, a photocopier, and a fax machine. Now, the option to combine many of these functions into one piece of equipment is available, as well as the capacity to send and receive faxes online instead of by machine. This can save you not only office space but also reduce costs and time.
As the saying goes: “resistance is futile”! Make sure to keep your eye on the business landscape and adapt to these shifts and changes in order to stay competitive, relevant, and efficient in your SME. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn