29 April 2024

Embracing Innovation: 6 Technologies You Should Be Implementing In Your Business

In the digital first era, the right processes and technology can have a major impact on your growth and efficiency, but only if aligned with the right strategy.

The last two decades have seen an explosion in business-focused software to help founders manage and scale their operations. However, not every product suits every business, no matter what marketers tell you.

Here we explore six technology areas that can make a tangible impact for the majority of businesses and how you can make the most of them.


1.  Embrace Remote Work

The world of work has changed for good over the last few years, and this is as true for small businesses as international giants. Today, just 30% of UK companies are working fully on-site today, as opposed to 57% before the pandemic, while over 40% of companies have  shifted to a hybrid model since the global pandemic. Remote and hybrid workplaces are not just a trend; they're here to stay. Technologies that make remote work possible are as essential as a good internet connection,  particularly when it comes to hiring. Remote​​ means you're no longer limited by geography when it comes to finding the best employees and for new generations, remote is expected as a standard-option.

  • Communication is Key: Apps like Slack and Zoom have become a lifeline for communication over distances. Instant messaging, video calls, and virtual team gatherings keep everyone aligned and connected, no matter their location.
  • Secure Cloud Storage: Services like Google Drive and Microsoft 365 provide secure access to your files and eliminate clunky, unsecured email attachments. Collaboration is streamlined since team members can work on the same documents and projects effortlessly.
  • Project Management Reimagined: Gone are the days of endless email trails and scattered sticky notes. Project management solutions like Monday or Asana give you the big picture view of ongoing tasks, deadlines, and team responsibilities.


2.   Practical AI

AI has been an unavoidable buzzword for the last two years for a reason. Whereas once these tools required huge amounts of data and computing power to generate value, a new generation of user-friendly interfaces like ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude have put new capabilities within the reach of ordinary consumers.

  • Copywriting Made Easy: Need product descriptions, social media posts, or even website copy? AI can help you generate compelling text in no time, freeing you up for other tasks.
  • Analyse Sentiment: Understanding how your customers feel about your brand is invaluable. AI-powered tools can sift through online reviews and interactions to give you insights that would take hours to uncover manually.

It’s important to note that AI comes with caveats – these systems can still make mistakes and entering proprietary data into public models opens up a minefield of compliance issues. However, with a human-supervisor and strategic integration, they can also save significant time.


3.  Your Numbers In The Cloud

Perhaps an obvious one from a firm of accountants, but cloud accounting has been a quiet, but transformative, revolution for the way businesses handle their numbers. This isn't just about bookkeeping and compliance — it's about unlocking the potential in your financial data:

  • Real-Time Data: Cloud accounting software means always having an accurate, up-to-date snapshot of your finances. Make better decisions because you see what's happening right now.
  • Accountant Collaboration: Your accountant can easily access your cloud accounting data, saving you time, reducing errors, and providing better advice on growing your business.
  • Cash Flow Visibility: Cash is king, especially for smaller businesses. See when money is coming in, what bills are due, and identify potential shortfalls ahead of time.


4.  Cyber Security Essentials

Businesses across the UK are under increasing threat from cybercrime and fraud, with 39% of businesses reporting cyber-attacks or security breaches in the past year. Bad actors online are a growing threat to businesses of all sizes, and small businesses are an especially attractive target. Implementing basic safeguards is crucial:

  • Security Tools: This includes antivirus software, firewalls, and secure password management solutions. Think of it like insurance—the investment now can save you immense heartache later.
  • Controlling Access: For businesses storing more internal and customer data online, controlling who can see it is a key element of compliance and security. Think two-factor authentication, tailored roles and access and strong passwords.


5.  Sell Anywhere, Anytime With Digital Sales and Payments:

In today's world, customers want to buy where they want, when they want, and how they want. Having the right tools can make it easy for them:

  • E-commerce Expansion: If you're not already selling online, you're missing out. Tools like Shopify, or even plugins for your existing website, let you reach a wider audience and open up new revenue streams.
  • Flexible Payments: Offer multiple payment options—credit cards, digital wallets, even 'buy now, pay later' options that can appeal to customers, grow basket size and win new business.


6.  Streamlining Customer Service

Attracting new customers is important, but retaining the ones you have is essential. Excellent customer service builds loyalty and drives growth. For a scaling business, this means a constant mission to maintain service levels – the right tools give you the visibility and control you need to build a strong customer experience.

  • Easy Access: Make it simple for customers to contact you—offer multiple channels like live chat, email, and social media.
  • Problem-Solving Made Simple: Ticket management systems organise customer issues and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Chatbots to the Rescue: For basic inquiries, chatbots can provide fast, 24/7 responses, freeing your human support team for more complex questions.


Make Technology Your Superpower

The world of business technology is vast, but don't be intimidated. Focus on what makes your business tick – be it fast decision-making, service levels, security and collaboration – and use the tools available to amplify your unique skills.

Haines Watts advisors work with a wide range of businesses to help them find their strengths and make the most of their data and decisions – to find out how you can build a technology roadmap for your business, get in touch with our team today.