How digital technology can help you solve major business challenges in 2020
The structure of the modern-day customer journey is quite different from what it used to be just a few years ago. This fact, coupled with the effect of COVID-19, pushes businesses toward a full adoption of digital technologies and solutions.
In this article, we discuss some of the biggest technological challenges that small and medium enterprises are currently facing. We also consider some actionable tips for converting those pain points into opportunities that will make you more adaptive, agile, and efficient.
Over the years, technology has played a vital role in defining how we work, and more importantly, the type of results we achieve. We continue to feel its direct impact, especially during these extraordinary times caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The disruptions caused by the pandemic will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on our traditional business processes. While we are recovering from the adverse effects of the virus, it is digital technology that has given us a lifeline, and even a way to turn our challenges into profitable initiatives.
The increased demand for a seamless digital experience opens new possibilities to reach and engage with customers. And there are undeniable benefits that arise from an open and interconnected workspace, and many companies moved to embrace this paradigm shift.
Attached to these new possibilities and benefits are also several concerns, especially for small business owners and startups who may lack the time and knowledge to prepare a strategy that solves their day-to-day problems, and a policy capable of vying with a fully digitalized competition.
Growing Customer Demand for Digital Experience
Lately, customers expect services that are in constant relation to what they’re doing at any given moment, to where they are, and to what device they are using. It’s the user journey that should determine your strategy. To keep up with this new technology culture, your business should embrace approaches that can guarantee an unparalleled customer experience.
According to researchers at Harvard Business School, enterprises that adopt this cultural shift have an average gross margin of 55% in three years, compared to 37% for digital laggards.
To bolster an organization’s success, one thing business leaders do is follow a strategic roadmap that itemizes the policies that they use in their digital transformation process. These policies can include:
- A current client situation audit with an in-depth risk and market analysis
- An agile-driven business and production environment
- Migration of vital business data to cloud platforms
Demand for Instant Request Processing
Modern consumers have an understandably higher expectations of the enterprises they do businesses with. Customers are in constant need of a relevant and concise response to their requests upon the first contact.
HubSpot published a research showing that two out of every three customers expect a response within ten minutes to any sales, marketing, or customer service inquiry.
Your FAQ webpage might be a great pool of answers for customers that need a response to basic questions. But the growing demand for prompt request processing can be met by your enterprises’ availability to give a response to queries in real-time.
Artificial Intelligence has made it possible even for microbusinesses to provide this level of immediate accessibility for their customers. By adopting chatbots and similar machine learning solutions, businesses of all sizes can make their organizations available to new and existing customers 24/7.
Also, integrating Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you to manage your enterprise’s interactions with customers optimally. It often involves using technology to sort, automate, and coordinate sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.
The recent pandemic has impacted the world in a way no one expected, and cyber-attackers are trying to make the most out of it. As most of the world resort to working from home, attackers are massively targeting employees to obtain remote credentials and perform malicious logins, since working from home typically requires using personal gadgets that can be vulnerable to malware.
This problem gets bigger when we realize that members of an organization’s security team may also be under movement restrictions. Therefore, there will be an imminent downgrade in performance, and a severely reduced capacity to respond to active cyber threats adequately.
As of March 2020, when Italy was the hardest-hit country by the pandemic in Europe, data gathered by Cynet’s global threat telemetry shows a spike in malicious login events.
The United States Small Business Administration (USSBA) puts the number of small businesses at the risk of cybercrime cases to 30.2 million. At the same time, Accenture predicts a worldwide loss of up to $5.2 billion in the next five years.
Close to half of these cybercrime attacks are targeted at small businesses that have little or no means to protect themselves. Small and medium enterprises should adopt most or all the following techniques to ensure a safer environment.
- By migrating important data and applications to cloud-based services, small and medium enterprises can effectively secure vital information. Cloud services will also help them create automatic backups in the event of a cyber-attack or ransomware.
- Organizations should ensure their staff activates their anti-virus, network firewall, and information encryption tools to neutralize viruses and protect their system against impending network or denial-of-service attacks.
- Businesses should develop a policy that restricts staff access to only the files that are needed to perform their day-to-day tasks.
- Organizations should provide regular on the job training for workers on the state-of-the-art techniques to prevent cyberattacks, and trends in cybercrime.
Talent Sourcing and Retention
As we enter a new digital age that is driven by disruptive technologies, for enterprises to remain relevant and competitive, they need to create a diverse workforce with the right talent and skill set. Currently, the world is experiencing a change in office practice, one that might linger on for a while, and even constitute a total change to the way we source for talents and recruit staff.
From data gathered by WebTrackR for a comparative analysis on the number of job seekers before and during the coronavirus pandemic, it was noted that there had been a 19% reduction in job applications in January 2020 when compared with data from January 2019. Also, there is a 47% drop in applications in February 2020 when likened with February 2019 application rate.
This decline points to some realities that are: the desire to stay in their current jobs as it is secure to a certain degree, concerns over the face-to-face nature of the recruiting process, or movement ban in most parts of the world.
While the job security issue might be a tough nut to crack for recruiters, the problem caused by the prohibition of movement and gatherings of people has been mitigated by online/cloud-based communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom. Though the transition to this type of recruitment structure will have minimal impact on organizations that already have a digitized system in place, this might not be the case for enterprises yet to embrace the digitalization agenda.
The competition to hire top talents has been stiff and to win, organizations need to look beyond just the end-product. They need to reinvent their talent acquisition process and mindset. Developing an outsourcing strategy to hire IT professionals with the right qualifications can be a very cost-effective way to win the race and secure your business with the skilled staff.
Advanced technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence can be used to scout and recruit top talents. Recent advances in data analytics are playing a crucial role in fixing the talent sourcing problem. Many organizations are adopting algorithms that can evaluate personality traits that ascertain if a candidate is a good fit for their brand. Some use such algorithms to dig deep into the candidate’s social preferences via social media posts to establish a correlation between the candidate’s personality and their business culture.
Cloud-based technologies also offer the possibility of having a geographically distributed workforce that is selected based on their qualifications, not physical localization, which can significantly improve operational efficiency.
After hiring suitable professionals, retaining them is another daunting task that small businesses face. Organizations need to provide their employees with the right tools that will boost their efficiency and help create conducive working environment.
Demand for Remote Working
For many years, remote working has been a proven solution to issues like difficulties finding the right talent locally, high employee costs and increased carbon footprints. But it has not been widely recognized nor adopted.
In the past months, organizations had turn to remote work because of the dire situation the ongoing pandemic brought. Many of those companies have registered positive sides of having their staff working from home, a significant productivity increase being the main one. The employees could experience benefits like the flexibility and time saved on commuting.
The occurring paradigm shift is clear by now and the demand for remote working is here to stay. It is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity and businesses have no choice but to adapt to it. The combination of the internal culture change with the adoption of the new generation of cloud-based team collaboration tools can help the businesses respond to the new situation accurately and capitalize on it.
When working remotely seamless and efficient collaboration can prove to be a challenge. Tools like Microsoft Office can solve this problem. With the right procedures in place, Microsoft Suite applications enable remote teams to simultaneously work on the same files, and the information safety is guaranteed. Integrated with the Microsoft editors are Outlook for mail management and Teams for team communications, including video and audio conference calls, amongst other functions.
It is undeniable that in the ongoing digital transformation a cultural change plays as crucial role as the technology itself does. It is a shift toward the digital mindset and deep practices and processes adaptation, that allows businesses to tackle the challenges in the right way.
What do you think about the cultural shift, and how has it affected your organization so far? Tell us about your challenges and let us help you choose the perfect technological solution that eliminates your worries and puts your organization at the top, where it belongs.