Running a business isn’t easy; there are a lot of moving parts to consider, and it can often feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Just because things have always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that it is the most efficient option. The internet and technology have helped to provide opportunities for streamlining business processes. Embracing digital tools can really help to save a lot of time and effort on your part.
Storing Files & Backing Up Documents
Saving, storing and backing up files manually can take a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to. There are a number of tools and platforms that allow you to automate this process. First, think about the platform that you currently use; does it have these capabilities, and you are simply underutilising it? If so, changing the way you use the platform makes sense; however, if it doesn’t have these functions, then it is time to explore other platforms that do. Next, think about who needs to access these files and whether you can dictate this on the platforms that you’re exploring. Are files backed up automatically too? It might also make sense to back up any pertinent or sensitive files separately on an external hard drive or a memory stick.
Emails are a perfectly adequate form of communication, especially when communicating with suppliers, clients, or other extraneous agencies. However, they aren’t great when you need a quick reply. In addition, emails are not the most efficient option for team communication. There are a number of other tools to consider which can make intra-team communication more efficient. These platforms are essentially a professional answer to instant messaging. Different conversations can be created depending on the topic or project, which means that only the necessary people are invited to join. They are far easier and more straightforward than wading through emails.
As mentioned above, emails aren’t always the best option when it comes to communicating or collaborating. Paper documents are harder to keep track of and, frankly, wasteful. This is why digital collaborative tools are important. The different factions of the business need to be able to collaborate, review and amend documents remotely; it saves a lot of time and effort. They are also much easier to convert depending on their usage and purpose. The documents can be converted from workable documents like Microsoft Word to PDFs and back again as the need may be. There are a number of other platforms that promote collaboration and make it easier for multiple people to work on one document simultaneously or to review and amend the document remotely to ensure that the newest version is always the one that is available to access.
Automation & Integration
Manually entering data is a real drain on time, energy and resources, which is why it should be avoided where possible. Luckily, there are a number of tools and pieces of software that can transfer, upload and update data sets automatically between different applications. This can save a lot of time and also help to mitigate human error too. Obviously, this will depend on the platform that you have chosen to use, which is why research matters. Often there are a number of processes that are all interrelated, and therefore updating one automatically updates the rest because the programmes are integrated. This really helps to alleviate the burden on whoever’s job it was to input the data and the figures. That being said, it still makes sense to review the data to make sure everything is correct; however, this won’t take as long.
Automation and integration can be used to overhaul several different areas of the business. For example, your ordering systems can be overhauled by the use of automating and integrating the right pieces of software. The software programmes will know when to order new stock depending on the level that you have, which is automatically kept track of. Although obviously, when things are used, these figures will need updating. You can also set things to be reordered automatically, depending on the regularity of your usage. Integration also helps to make things easier for those who work remotely, allowing everyone’s different data subsets to sync up to ensure that all staff always have the newest version to work from to ensure the accuracy of their efforts.
The future is digital; it is unavoidable, and an unwillingness to embrace digital tools all but ensures that your business will be left behind. While learning to utilise digital tools can be challenging, especially for those who haven’t grown up with the technology, but it can help to make life easier. It has the potential to streamline processes saving the business time, energy and resources.
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