Implementing a digital transformation process in SMEs can be challenging as they often have limited resources and time, and they need to be competitive to avoid market share loss. In today’s post, we want to focus on technologies in SMEs through several tools that do not represent a high investment and can change how SMEs work.
Why are technologies in SMEs relevant?
According to the IV Edition of the Study on the State of Digitalisation of Spanish Companies and Public Administrations of the Vodafone Business Observatory, 67% of SMEs recognise the importance of new technologies and highlight that the main benefit they obtain from going digital is greater efficiency in processes and tasks, followed by improved communications with customers.
However, the use of technologies in SMEs provides further benefits, including the following:
- Cost savings as there is an extensive range of tools to automate recurring processes so that a task that needed hours to be done now takes just a few seconds and is error-free.
- Productivity increase as employees focus on tasks that add greater value and offer better customer service
- Improved management as technology enables better project organisation, monitoring of stock or control of the company’s labour aspects: schedule, salaries, holidays, etc.
- Enhancing the quality of products and services marketed by the organisation
The simple technology in SMEs to use
As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, it is unnecessary to invest heavily to upgrade SMEs, but solutions on the market lead to a significant change with little investment. Some examples of technology for SMEs to change how they work are listed below:
- Electronic signature: The use of electronic signatures has increased considerably with the pandemic outbreak due to COVID-19; if we compare Click & Sign’s data regarding the use and operation of the electronic signature from June 2020 and June 2019, there was an increase of 598%. An electronic signature is a user-friendly tool that any company can use to sign all types of documentation payslips, invoices, contracts, letters, etc. On top of that, it is based on a pay per use model.
- Cloud working: The global pandemic forced many companies to adapt to remote working almost overnight, and one of the best solutions for SMEs was the use of the cloud, as it allows files and applications to be shared easily. To use the cloud, you can use tools such as Google Drive or Dropbox, among others.
- Remote meetings: While many employees and company managers have met their colleagues online, remote meeting Apps are now part of our daily lives; Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are among the most widely used. Using applications that enable you to chat during a meeting and share documents with all attendees is essential.
- Remote working: Many employees are still working from home, and therefore there is a need for applications to monitor and facilitate their work. Some of the applications that can be used are the following:
- Tools such as Asana or Trello may be used to manage projects and teamwork.
- Lists of tasks to be performed can be made in Google Keep, for example. As soon as you finish a task, you can delete it by ticking it off.
- Electronic signatures can also facilitate remote working by enabling you to sign contracts with clients and ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
- Communicating with co-workers is also essential, and to this end, you can use applications such as Slack, which allows you to group conversations in chats or groups.
- If your employees need to connect to a customer’s computer, Teamviewer remotely, for example, can be very useful.
- Relations with customers and suppliers: Both face-to-face and remote work need to have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application that helps you know where each customer is in the sales process or what problems have arisen. Thus, sales opportunities are seized, and customers and potential customers are thoroughly understood. Moreover, electronic signatures allow non-disclosure agreements or new contracts to be signed considerably faster.
Summing up, we are discussing technology applications in SMEs that allow them to digitise and make a qualitative leap forward with cost-free or very affordable solutions. The aim is to keep working, generating business and ensuring that the changes that are taking place in all areas do not affect the activity of SMEs.