By Matt Goss, managing director, Concur, Australia & New Zealand.
Keeping an eye on the technology your peers and competitors use can help businesses identify trends, adopt what works for their sector and ignite new ways of thinking. However, trendy is not always a wise investment option. Businesses must think about how technology investments will benefit their employees and customers, and for how long.
Technology moves so fast that today’s top-trending app could be irrelevant tomorrow. It can be difficult to know which technology will add long-lasting value.
Businesses looking to invest in technology need to consider how well it will integrate with current processes, if it will be adopted by employees and how it will improve the bottom line.
Companies should ask a number of questions that can help make the right technology decisions:
Does it support sustainability?
Environmental sustainability protocols and practises are increasingly essential to long term success. It’s imperative to know and understand the environmental regulations that impact your business, and develop strategies for sustainable practises.
Technology can play a significant role in making company practises ‘greener’. For example, digitising and automating supplier invoicing can shrink the business’s carbon footprint by reducing overall paper usage.
Consumers today are more eco-conscious, so by making conscious decisions to improve your business’s environmental footprint, you will attract a larger target audience.
Could you improve design?
No matter what product or service you offer, design can play a significant role in marketing and creating a positive user experience. Thoughtful, people-centred design could be the missing link between a product that gets ignored and one that attracts loyal customers.
That’s why it can be very useful to invest in design technology. It will let you create a user-friendly customer journey from the website and other online channels to stores and actual products.
Can you learn from others?
It’s always good to keep an eye on technology your competitors are using. Companies within your industry might be tapping into new trends, so you can have a front-row seat to see what works and what doesn’t.
For example, your competitors may start to use cloud-based solutions to improve business processes like accounts payable. As cloud technologies become more common and less cost-intensive for smaller businesses, don’t be afraid to try something new.
Can you improve your employees’ work experience?
It’s important to focus on customers but businesses also have to keep employees happy and engaged. Ensuring they have access to easy-to-use technology can significantly improve employees’ work experience and boost productivity.
For example, technologies that automate expenses and supplier invoices can eliminate time-consuming administrative processes and let employees focus on core duties.
Businesses must consider how well the new technology is designed to support the working styles of employees. Employees that travel or work remotely can benefit from flexibility provided by BYOD and mobile cloud solutions.
In a business world that’s constantly evolving, businesses need to use every resource available to keep a competitive edge. Looking beyond what is trendy and making carefully-calculated technology investments can improve customer experience and employee productivity, and increase the bottom line.