Business to business service providers, as well as professional practices such as solicitors and financial advisers, survive or thrive on the old adage that time is money.
Modern technology has made wide-ranging promises about its ability to generate much more of this pivotal resource. Its capacity to automate business processes – and the fingertip control of data management it provides – should be making Cheshire and Manchester agencies and professional practices a great deal more profitable.
Within your company, are you sure this is true? Is an authentic digital workplace making your everyday work life easier, boosting productivity?
Or, is your technology falling short when it comes to delivering on its promises? In fact, without insightful IT support, it could be creating new problems, while solving older ones.
One of the biggest myths in technology is that investing in new equipment and systems provides automatic access to greater business efficiency and control.
With such a plethora of devices, software and cloud platforms available, small businesses can easily invest in a disjointed or piecemeal way.
The end result is not an authentic digital workplace. That is something that’s only possible with properly configured IT that’s truly integrated and connected.
For example, even in smaller teams, it’s easy for decision-makers to fall into the trap of letting people retain their “pet devices” or trusted software, rather than forcing a system-wide transformation. However, if your data is still not flowing end to end in a transparent way, it can lead to inefficiencies and potential pitfalls.
This includes an inability to fully conform with your obligations under GDPR. Or, you could still have information held in silos, and time wasted duplicating data that is stored or used in incompatible software systems. Overlaps and gaps are certainly not conducive to smooth running.
Having a truly integrated digital workplace can create less pain during migration and can lead to quicker gains if staff are fully engaged in the process.
Switching over to new systems – or updating and improving existing ones – requires investment not just in new devices and software but also in the people who will use them every day.
The better informed, confident and engaged your team are, the more likely they are to optimise your technology, and use it to support business growth.
For many companies, any new IT development involves sitting everyone down for a training session or giving them access to online learning modules. To be sure of having your entire team fully onboard, a combination of these should be offered, along with continuous access to knowledge refreshers and mentoring.
Having IT services available around the clock to act as a help desk and to coach staff is a continuous need, not a temporary fix when new systems are installed. Your firm or agency should have an open door policy for staff who need help. This “no blame, no shame culture” will encourage them to ask for ways to improve and clarification. This is far preferable to them scrabbling around, losing work hours, trying to recall how to do a task that should be quicker thanks to IT.
For example, it’s estimated that staff lose around 20% of their working hours (so a day a week in most cases) clicking around trying to find information on their IT equipment, such as the most up to date version of documents. How much of your free time does that represent?
This also makes it imperative that your IT systems – and IT support – are properly configured to make document creation, storage and retrieval bespoke to your business needs, and the abilities of your staff.
There’s another reason why creating a permanent and responsive IT helpdesk is important to your productivity as a business services organisation or professional agency.
Your staff are your most precious commodity (along with time). To make the most of their experience and skills, you need their input!
Providing opportunities for your team to ask questions and raise queries keeps them agile on IT, but also helps your firm move forwards. The staff using your technology daily have important insights to share with the decision-makers, including issues which can be addressed swiftly, and suggestions for improvements.
One of technology’s most potent promises to small agencies and firms in Manchester and Cheshire is that it can create a paperless office to lower costs and improve productivity.
Is this happening at your organisation? The fact that so many companies are still buying bulk orders of paper suggests the reality is different and office printers (and filing cabinets) are still highly active. According to one study, on average UK SMEs spend £14,000 a year on paper!
Apart from helping your sustainability and saving you money, IT consultants can address this to make your business more productive. It’s time to stop printing, storing and retrieving paper trails – with all the potential errors involved. Well-configured office IT makes document creation and retrieval fast. With the right software, the latest version of documents is easy to access with flawless efficiency.
Creating an authentic, seamless and super-efficient digital workplace carries another priority for professional and business service firms though. The need to prevent a data tidal wave!
Your IT can generate reports, e-forms, proposals, images and audio files to an infinite level. Communication, collaboration and data analysis now have limitless potential.
To put this in context, according to Microsoft there are over 500 billion Office documents created each year.
How many digital documents has your Cheshire or Manchester firm generated already this month?
Responsive IT consultants can help you to make sure your productivity isn’t choked by the very thing that should make your organisation faster, leaner and more efficient – data!
This includes advising on clear policies and controls over IT. For example, assigning roles and responsibilities clearly, and using specialised dashboards on work devices.
To explore other ways CARA IT support can make your technology more effective, efficient and potent in creating lucrative time, contact us to discuss your business goals.