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How to give your business the competitive edge

Organisations need to consider new technologies to gain a competitive edge in 2016, according to business solutions firm UXC Eclipse.

The company says the business landscape can expect to see even more competition amid soft economic growth this year.

Bradley Stroop, CEO, UXC Eclipse says there are a number of broad trends sweeping through the local market that are likely to contribute a more competitive stance for businesses in 2016.

“This year, organisations should be looking at initiatives that provide cost savings, operational efficiencies, and importantly improve the customer experience,” he says.

Stroop says there are several business and technology trends that will help drive competitiveness in 2016:

Greening the supply chain or ensuring suppliers are green

Being known as a sustainable business can be a competitive differentiator, says Stroop. Yet organisations need to be careful sustainability is not just a label or greenwash.

“Using suppliers that have green supply chains can deliver significant benefits including cost-savings, waste reduction, process efficiency, and overall business resilience, which can be passed on to organisations who negotiate their contract well,” he explains.

“Organisations should look for suppliers with an ERP solution that can monitor, maintain, and optimise the supply chain.”

The rise of mobile POS

According to Stroop, a new wave of technology, such as mobile point of sale (POS), will make retailers more powerful in 2016.

“Consumers are looking for a more personalised experience when they shop.

“They are well aware that companies collect information about them: what they want in return is to have a shopping experience that delights them,” he says. “This can be achieved using mobile POS systems.”

From BPM to social BPM

Businesses looking to improve internal communication, increase process transparency, and achieve operational efficiencies will adopt a social business process management (BPM) approach in 2016, Stroop says.

“Social BPM is emerging as the next step in BPM evolution but few organisations understand it clearly or have implemented it effectively to date,” he explains.

Reap retention through customer-centricity

Customer retention can reliably and consistently drive profits. Stroop says organisations need to embrace a customer-centric approach to the way they do business to ensure customer retention and bolster profits in 2016.

“To do this, they should implement a comprehensive CRM system and back it up with a potent ERP platform to help connect customers, employees, partners and products in a unified system,” he says.

ERP for SMEs

Smaller companies and start-ups can get an edge over larger organisations in the sector by taking on the enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology employed by bigger rivals, Stroop explains.

“An ERP system delivering a single source of information can help smaller businesses build up improved visibility into costs and potential project risks, as well identify pathways to greater efficiency,” he says.

Make ERP a priority

“There are many reasons why CEOs should have enterprise resource planning (ERP) on their priority list in 2016,” says Stroop.

“One of those is to contribute to improved customer loyalty. When ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) systems are integrated, the result is optimised business processes that provide full visibility into customer behaviour letting organisations optimise processes to match customer expectations,” he explains.

“This increased ability to know and deliver, ultimately leads to improved customer loyalty.”