Five Tech ideas for 2021
The business world was turned upside down, spun clockwise three times, counterclockwise twice for good measure and then thrown in the air a few times before being asked to land on its feet in 2020.
We all tried to adapt to washing our hands constantly, online meetings, work from home and masks in the past eight months. But as we wind down the year that no one will ever forget, what tech strategies should your business be building on in 2021?
· Security: With the shift over the past six months to remote work, many companies have added new tools and software to their environments which means there are now more vulnerabilities and entry points to critical systems. Businesses need to focus heavily on securing their most confidential information. This can be done internally, or they can look for an outside partner who provides database security around the clock monitoring and disaster recovery.
· Data Analysis: In addition to securing all the new tools businesses are now using, there is also a new ability to gather data and insights you didn’t have access to before. Many companies had to implement video calling, online messaging tools, new phone systems, etc. For all these cloud-based tools, companies can collect data to better understand how people spend time and get better insights on productivity. One of the biggest examples would be a company’s cloud-based phone system. Going remote meant businesses couldn’t rely on their landline phone system. Cloud-based phone systems connect remote workers, but also allow them to answer questions such as what time most calls come in, which days, which account reps, etc. Information like this is can help businesses better plan and manage their teams.
· Workflow Improvement: In a pre-Covid office environment, there were a lot of processes that were ad hoc – you'd run into people in the hallway or chat during a coffee break. But now that most businesses remain remote, there is nothing structurally in place to ensure these tasks still get done. Businesses need to look at connecting commonly used software and automating daily or weekly task reminders to help ensure nothing gets overlooked.
· Cloud Strategy: With fewer people in the office there is less importance on maintaining physical servers and on-premise applications. Businesses should look to switch to private or cloud SaaS products and other business critical software. Accounting software is one of the most common on-premise business applications. Cloud-based accounting products like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central allow accountants and company leadership to access critical invoice, accounts payable, receivables, payroll and more all remotely and in real time.
· Clear Metrics and Visibility: Businesses need to digitize their KPI dashboards and ensure they are easily accessible to everyone. Remote employees are often the first to feel they no longer have an impact on the business, as they can’t see the impact they make. Going digital and setting the right expectations will allow all employees to feel as though they have a stake in moving the company forward. Business intelligence tools, like Microsoft’s Power BI platform, allow businesses to connect data from a large variety of software and tools and compile the data in an easy to read and customize dashboard that updates in real-time.
On top of all of this technology is the demand to remain focused on company culture. Most businesses will have a mix of on-site and remote workers for the near future, but there are still ways to ensure you have an engaged team. Implementing weekly employee newsletters, scheduled mid-morning coffee breaks with different groups of people each month, and setting aside some marketing budget to create care packages for employees are a few really small things that can have a huge boost to culture, even in a remote setting.
Kevin Wentzel is the COO of Kopis, a Greenville-based software developer focused on providing high impact software and cloud solutions to businesses and state agencies in the Southeast, Kopis is one of the fastest growing software companies in the state of South Carolina Learn more at www.kopisusa.com.