By Tony Snow
As we hopefully come out of COVID-19 lockdown and move beyond, business operators are being forced to rethink their norms. And one of the main areas impacted is the actual location of where we all work.
Work is a function not a place. A large proportion of the workforce are now working from home and are starting to get used to it.
How is this going to play out going forward?
Having proved the effectiveness of remote working, in the future, employees may demand it and employers will have to get more comfortable offering it.
There is also an unprecedented demand on business owners and operators to suddenly become technology experts. From the comfort of the new workspace (home) and with new work colleagues (partners and children) there has been an introduction of technologies into businesses that may have never been used before – video conferencing, instant messaging, e-commerce etc.
This has opened the door to opportunities and different ways of thinking, tempered with frustration, new unbudgeted spend and risk-taking through increased security challenges.
New tools are being released to help with challenges and issues facing businesses, so this trend is set to continue in the short term, especially in contact tracing, transactional activities, click and collect and contactless delivery.
Beware of technology fatigue
There is a risk of technology fatigue settling in. How are business owners supposed to keep up with it all and make sure the bills are being paid, while still looking after customers and generating an income? What should you prioritise when faced with so many options?
First, remember that while technology is important, it is just a tool to support your desired business outcomes. IT must serve a purpose and you don’t need to be a technology expert to know your business.
There are a number of tools available and they are constantly being updated and competed with.
To use these tools successfully usually requires you to understand your current processes and then to look at how they could be made better. Can you automate it or eliminate certain processes?
Outside of these processes, a couple of considerations to focus on now are:
IT infrastructure and data storage solutions.
Collaboration and communication.
So, where to from here? An assessment on how the key policies and processes within your business are working now and how they will work with the new norm is a good place to start.
We have often seen businesses either paying for something they no longer use, paying for multiple tools that do the same thing, or not aware that the subscription to one thing offers much more than what they are using it for.
Many have also just kept bolting on applications and devices as they see fit. This all results in a very inefficient technology stack with no or little planning.
Assess technology governance, business process and tools now. Understand the demands that you will be faced with over the coming months to work out what to do next.
Article originally published in the Bay of Plenty Business News website.