Firms failing to tap into technology

Firms failing to tap into technology at their fingertips risk stifling their potential

Small and medium businesses are at risk of stifling their potential - and effectively throwing away time and money - by ignoring the technology available to them at their fingertips.

Research shows that SMEs are failing to fully exploit software packages available to them and are shunning the greatest resource that has revolutionised the modern workplace – digital technology.

Aberdeenshire IT specialist Austen Clark says it is a missed opportunity – and likened it to businesses simply throwing money away.

Mr Clark, managing director of Clark IT, comments: “Cloud based productivity suites, like Microsoft Office 365 for example, offer tremendous opportunities to transform day-to-day work for employees, particularly to SMEs, yet research shows that most people only use 20% of its functionality.

“Every business wants to work smarter, and more efficiently, and will look for the next best thing to make that happen. The truth is that, far from requiring any new tools, often businesses should be looking to capitalise on the investment they have made and utilise the software they have.

“In my experience small businesses spend a significant amount of time and processes investing in platforms specific to one area of their business, when suites like Office 365 could already perform that function.

“These services come with features that can facilitate collaboration and increase productivity but studies showing these functions are being woefully underused, which is a real waste of a valuable resource to businesses.”

Hailed as a gold standard of workplace suites, Office 365 has been widely adopted across SMB and SME vertical markets, companies between 10–500 employees. The adoption rates in enterprise in all forms and versions of Office 365 now accounts for one in five corporate employees using a cloud service.

Being cloud based allows access to emails, files and programs from any location and using any device and always has the latest versions of Office, at no additional charge. One of its big advantages is the ability to work anywhere that there is an internet connection.

Even though it has advances designed to support the workplace, some businesses never use them, which may be down to a simple lack of knowledge or awareness of how to use them to their benefit.

Features of integrated suites are specifically designed to support business productivity, and that in turn can support growth, said Mr Clark.

He adds: “Microsoft’s Office 365 is a flexible, technology-driven solution for the modern-day workplace, yet studies show time and time again that businesses are only scratching the surface and not making the most of its functions.

“Suites like Office 365 provide familiar apps like Word and Excel, but there are other apps that improving collaboration and communication and for streamlining processes.

“Too many businesses are ignoring some of its best features that support collaboration with colleagues or manage scheduling, invoicing and referrals.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that an integrated platform is one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools available at a business owner’s disposal, being designed to help them save both time and money.

“A conversation with your IT provider could open up new opportunities around how you can run your cloud-based suites in a manner that will really deliver benefits to your business.”

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