Traditionally small and medium businesses (SMBs) would rely on spoken communication for promoting their product and service brand visibility. This was in addition to managing their diverse spreadsheets using manual means, rather than seamlessly using integrated cloud solutions. However, in today’s digital economy, much has evolved in the technological and business world. SMBs can enhance their business’s brand visibility using online marketing channels and strategies leveraging automation and digitization.
Besides that, cloud-based solutions that are dominant today, considerably improve a business’s operational efficiencies. In addition, the digital economy suits and prioritizes the need to satisfy customers more than the amassing of profits. Automation and Digitization are therefore critical to SMBs if they are to thrive in today’s competitive business environment. The following are particularly 5 ways automation and digitization are important for SMBs:
They mitigate and minimize risks
For every owner and manager of a Small and Medium Business (SMB), risk is a big concern. How do you reduce or mitigate it? Fortunately, this is where automation and digitalization come in, and quite effectively. Automating business processes specifically helps to reduce room for error. In managing documents, for example, a business ably eliminates possibilities of misplacing business documents. At best, it eliminates the possibility of losing documents altogether. That typically occurs when employees are moving business documents between systems, and locations, and among users.
SMBs can use online file storage, or if they are not already using it, consider moving from on-premises to the cloud using software and hosting platforms. In this way, they can automate, encrypt and stream the moving and/or sharing of cloud file transfers. It is possible to install these cloud service platforms in the cloud, on-premises, or even within a hybrid environment. A business can also integrate them with trading partners.
They enhance customer experience
In addition, automation and digitization significantly improve the experience of SMB customers. One business area in which they popularly apply automation and digitization nowadays is customer service processes and management. An SMB can enhance these with AI chatbots, thereby enabling its customers to receive real-time responses and answers to their queries promptly. This happens at any time of the day, and in real-time. By so doing, the business ably serves hundreds of customers using a few dedicated staff.
Generally, automating and digitizing customer services in such a way, frees SMB staff, support, and management from having to respond to repetitive customer queries manually. Once employees are free from such tasks, they can concentrate their numbers and efforts on carrying out core business tasks. Overall, for SMBs, automation and digitization are critical to speedy, error-free, and customer-centric service provision.
They inform decision-making
In previous years, businesses would rely on guesswork for strategizing and making core business decisions. That is no longer the case today. In this digital era, any serious business that has long-term plans to stay afloat and thrive in the competition cannot afford to guess which products to prioritize or which markets to target. Fortunately, a number of digital tools suffice for analyzing data, making sense of it, and strategizing accordingly.
These digital tools make it possible for a business to analyze data of previous customer or client interactions. Basing on it, the business can ably predict human behavior and tell how likely the customers will react to their business products or services in the future. Armed with information, the business is able to make decisions that are more informed. Simply put, by so analyzing data of previous customer interactions, a business executive gains key insights for driving business decision-making. They also guide the business in generating predictive strategies necessary for business operations.
They increase productivity
Automation and digitization also increase the productivity of any business, especially SMBs. Through automation and digitization, SMBs are able to define their tasks. They are also able to simplify access and assign specific responsibilities to individual staff, and business teams. By so doing, the business is able to reduce any possibilities of miscommunications, or even eliminate them. Once the SMB has achieved that, it benefits from employee efficiency, thereby fast-tracking its business growth.
Automation specifically saves time and human resources for the SMB. It ensures that the SMB ably removes small inefficiencies that staff are usually prone to under manual tasking. It further enhances their accuracy, and drastically reduces, or indeed eliminates avoidable error. In so doing this, the SMB instills upon its employees a new level of demand and the obligation to drive the business forward.
They create a collaborative environment
Adopting automation and digitization opens a completely different experience for SMBs. Granted, different businesses adopt automation and digitization at different levels and in their unique ways. Nevertheless, and regardless of how they implement automation and digitization, all businesses gain collaboration and cooperation from the process. This is because digital approaches and infrastructure typically facilitate collective operations in the areas of supporting businesses, enhancing productivity, and boosting business growth.
Such feats cultivate a high level of cooperation and nurture an environment that values collaboration. Consequently, the SMB is able to build belief and promote transparency among its employees and business operation. Experience shows that employees who are engaged and are supportive of each other greatly contribute to business growth. This is because they increase in efficiency, grow in their levels of work motivation, and embrace the obligation to drive business growth. For the SMB, this means more profits and subsequent dominance of its competition.