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The world as we know it has changed and is transforming in front of our eyes. We’ve been tested in different ways every day trying to adapt to new working and learning routines.

It’s essential that small businesses across the globe get through the pandemic because they are vital to every nation’s economy.

The current crisis is accelerating the digital world, but also has the potential to accelerate a digital divide. At present, there are many technology-oriented solutions that can help your businesses to survive this crisis. Digital technologies can be essential not just to survive, but to thrive and have continued success after the pandemic.

New digital solutions are key to helping your business

At present, any business focused on providing the exchange of goods and ideas between people without in-person interaction should be able to survive. An example this kind of company is Zoom, which by now everyone has heard of by now as they’ve provided video chat and conferencing services to the world during 2020.

Online retailers such as Amazon are seen massive growth, as much as a 44% increase in stock price since a low on March 12. You can argue that there are some big and well-positioned businesses that are managing to survive and even see growth, but many big manufacturers are struggling to survive.

On the other hand, some small local companies are flourishing, for example, some local restaurants have reinvented themselves and are now focusing on delivery with Deliveroo, Uber Eats etc.

The common characteristics amongst businesses that are experiencing success during the pandemic:
– The ability to adapt to the new customers’ requirements
– A willingness to embrace technology in order to improve production and services.

To overcome this crisis, companies need to be receptive and responsive, and there are many digital solutions that can help them not just to carry out their normal activities, but also enhance business processes as well.

Here are a few examples about how technology can help businesses to go through this pandemic:

Digitalisation

Going digital during the pandemic is not just something you can choose to do, it’s now a vital part of the day to day work life in every business around the world.

The first step to go digital is to update your company website where prospective clients/customers can check and order your products and services online. Then, you can start promoting your business on search engines such as Google or Bing, as well as social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Digital transformation is not just about having a digital presence; it is the integration of digital technology into every aspect of a business.

It’s not just a cosmetic change; it is a cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge all state of affairs, experiment. Remember, don’t be scared of failure, we all learn from our mistakes.

Digital applications

Many companies and services have continued to remain open during COVID-19 by implementing new physical distancing rules and technology to keep their business running and their employees safe. However, due to increased lockdown measures, technology has become as important, if not more important to all businesses again.

During the pandemic, there has been an influx in the usage of online services such as digital signature or digital IDs not just to buy products and services; also, to connect with social organisations and hospitals etc.

It’s become essential to provide personalised and digital services during the pandemic. Before COVID-19, these types of digital applications were nice to have, but are now a necessity.  For many organisations, these apps and digital software can help them with providing a good quality service whilst reducing/completely stopping in-branch visits.

Perfecting the remote working model

Companies across the world have had to shift to a work-from-home model due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a consequence of that, employers have needed to adapt and find the right tools to make the employee’s work day easier, and to be able to monitor their workers’ progress.

For many employers, time tracking is critical to figure out how productive employees are when working remotely whist other prefer to focus on productivity. Nevertheless, data should be available to both manager and employee in order to get optimal results and with the right technology and software in place. Businesses can maximise their employee’s ability to work remotely, and be more efficient

Information and communications technology (ICT)

During the pandemic, technology has allowed people to communicate virtually, regardless of location—making it essential for businesses that need to remain open and working.

Having the proper technology implemented within your organisation allows affective virtual communication when social distancing or lockdowns are compulsory by government officials.

Improved relationships

Do you need to conclude a distance contract or communicate with other offices without physical presence?

Digital solutions such an electronic contract can improve relationships between clients, suppliers, workers and all those involved in the different economic sectors. In addition to being able to remotely carry out any of the above processes and solve the hiring needs in the best way with the most advanced technology, no matter the sector in question, these tools will lower operating costs as there is less travel involved within the UK and other countries. Therefore, reducing wasted tine and dedicate more hours to more important and demanding tasks.

Hyper-connectivity

This term was created by social scientists and refers to; “The use of multiple means of communication, such as email, instant messaging, telephone, face-to-face contact and a wide range of information and communication services.”

This concept when applied to business is the total connection between all the areas involved such as employees, customers, suppliers and any other stakeholders. Hyper-connectivity makes information more easily accessible and available on any device, which can be easily shared amongst any of the stakeholders associated with your business. Hyper-connectivity helps organisations to become more agile as any new team members have instant access to the platform at any time, anywhere.

Improving workflow efficiency

Learning to improve all work processes is necessary to improve overall business performance. Technology now offers workflow software that enables businesses to restructure their way of working, like work order processing or accounts payable procedures amongst others, instead of having to use the old-fashioned pen and paper. These tools provide you with the ability to maintain normal operations, as online data backups and recovery systems can help in something like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhanced productivity

Technology also helps us to improve productivity by eliminating all those unnecessary time-consuming tasks. File management software removes the need for data entry, filing and manual file retrieval. There are plenty of useful technology and software options out there to improve workflow.

For example; bookkeeping and accounting software that can automate most of the processes that used to take precious time to complete.

Improved data management

The volume of data we create on the internet is always expanding, in fact, at the moment over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every single day. Every time a consumer conducts a search, completes a purchase, visits your website or comments on one of your social posts, you will add to that vast expanse of information.

As we all know, this information can be a valuable asset, but only if we know how to tap into and extract the bits that are relevant to business success. In the last few years, the volume of data has increased far faster than we have the ability to process it, but technology can help you to keep your information organised and indexed correctly.

There are a number of apps out there to help you organise and process relevant data, which can help us to make informed decisions from further analysis and research. Without data collection and analysis, companies would be using outdated practices and data to make decisions.

These are very challenging times; however, there are some tools available that can help you minimise the impact on your business. Many of those technologies already exist, you just have to know where to search, learn how to use them effectively and take advantage of their benefits.

connected

Being on lockdown, stuck in your house, restricted movement, social distancing, whatever you want to call it isn’t easy for a lot of people but luckily for us, in this day and age, we have a wide range of technology at our fingertips to help us stay connected. 

 Staying connected is important for us on a personal level to help keep away the boredom, help keep us motivated and help keep a closer eye on our loved ones that are now out of reach. Video calls are most definitely a great option for keeping in touch with people. 

Staying connected for business is going to be vital for many as more and more people are migrated to home working; getting access to apps, software and resources will help us work effectively and efficiently and well; just make the day easier. 

Here’s a good but not exhaustive list of software and Apps you could try to keep you connected for work and socially. 

Video Calling Software

Facetime – available on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and even newer Macbooks 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204380 Facetime is a nice simple tool to use to video call loved ones but it is also a nice easy option for one to one video meetings. 

WhatsApp is popular for group chats but also have a video feature where you can video call individual people or groups of people, WhatsApp is available for Android, iPhone on Mac & Windows PC so is very accessible for lots of users 

https://www.whatsapp.com/ 

Zoom is designed for video conferencing and makes keeping in touch from a personal point of view but is especially handy for business use with several options & plans 

https://zoom.us/ 

Skype – Skype has video conferencing available and you can chat to more than one person at a time and share your screen, this makes it good for personal use but also. Works well for businesses use too 

https://www.skype.com/en/ 

Microsoft Teams – This is more than just a chat or remote meeting solution, Microsoft teams allows you to set up teams, have chats, hold group video calls, share a calendar and share documents within the teams, it is designed for teamwork. 

https://products.office.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software 

Handling documents 

Big businesses might have fantastic IT resources, but if you are a smaller business it might be harder to manage your documents between your teams.  

I wouldn’t want to suggest one over another but a few options to help you keep running more smoothly are: 

Microsoft teams – as above, it is not just great for keeping in touch, it also has the power to share documents and update them live without the need to email things backwards and forwards. 

Dropbox – This is more of a file-sharing option, you can give authorised people access to a Dropbox folder so you can access the documents within. If you have to work with personal data you will need the business version to help you be GDPR compliant 

https://www.dropbox.com 

Google Drive – This is a file-sharing platform and they have both personal and business packages available 

https://www.google.com/drive/ 

Huddle – a cloud-based project management solution that helps project teams in businesses 

https://www.huddle.com/ 

Receipt Bank – a pre-accounting tool often used by accountants and bookkeepers but can also be used by businesses to log receipts digitally. 

https://www.receipt-bank.com/uk/ 

Smart Receipt – Turns your phone into a receipt scanner and expense report generator with Smart Receipts! You can track receipts and lots more 

https://www.smartreceipts.co/ 

Expensify – claims to be the world’s leading application for expense management, receipt scanning, and business travel. Take a picture of your receipts using SmartScan and go from there 

https://www.expensify.com/ 

 

There are loads of tools out there to help make things just a little easier… all at your fingertips.