Story image

Three key technologies helping SMBs stay agile

11 Sep 18
Sponsored

Technology is a great leveller for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) wanting to compete on an even playing field.

With the growth of software-as-a-service products, SMBs are increasingly able to afford powerful tools that were traditionally barred to them because of the cost.

Here are some of the key technologies SMBs should be adopting to capitalise on their key advantage over their larger competitors – agility.

Cloud

In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive.

Examples include Microsoft’s Office Online, an internet-only version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and Google Drive, accessed via your web browser without installing anything.

It’s an incredibly powerful tool for SMBs as it gives them access to enterprise-level tools on a subscription basis, meaning there’s no significant initial investment SMBs can ill afford and greater cost certainty.

Having a company’s data and applications in the cloud also gives SMBs flexibility of location, allowing them to work from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Mobile devices

If cloud provides the software for flexibility, the hardware comes with mobile devices in the shape of tablets, smartphones and laptops.

Mobile devices are getting increasingly powerful at attractive price points, allowing them to service needs that previously required the computing power of a desktop system.

Leveraging the development of mobile devices allows SMBs to make only the hardware investment that is right for their business needs, not based on what's available in the market.

Consider how sophisticated mobile apps have become, putting access to extensive services at an SMB’s fingertips.

A great example of this is Bartercard’s online trading platform, which lets users shop 24/7 to source business essentials and barter with one another without an exchange of cash.

The Bartercard Mobile App integrates location finding, invoicing, and account management capabilities in the palm of a user's hand.

Unified communications

SMBs are using video conferencing or voice over IP (VoIP) technology to keep in touch with customers, suppliers or employees in different locations.

Video conferencing means that you’ll stay connected while minimising the travel time and expenses associated with visiting contacts and attending meetings, setting up and maintaining expensive phone cables, and having to stay by one phone in one location.

Unified communications systems are also more robust compared to traditional phone systems, with backup protocols built-in to ensure they don’t fail.

This can help SMBs ensure they never miss a potential sales lead and maintain responsiveness to their customers’ needs.

Soul Machines' virtual humans go mainstream
An Auckland AI firm renowned for its work creating ‘digital humans’ is now unleashing its creativity to the wider market.
Hands-on review: The Logitech R500 laser presentation remote
With a clever ergonomic design, you’ll never have to glance at the device, unless you deliberately look to use the built-in laser pointer to emphasise your presentation.
GCSB welcomes Inspector-General's report on intelligence warrants
Intelligence warrants can include surveillance, private communications interception, searches of physical places and things, and the seizure of communications, information and things.
Lightning Lab accelerator delves into tourism
“It’s great to see the tourism sector taking a proactive and collaborative approach to innovation."
Apax Partners wins bidding war for Trade Me buyout
“We’re confident Trade Me would have a successful standalone future," says Trade Me chairman David Kirk
Verifi takes spot in Deloitte Asia Pacific Fast 500
"An increasing amount of companies captured by New Zealand’s Anti-Money laundering legislation are realising that an electronic identity verification solution can streamline their customer onboarding."
Homegrown stress relief app to be launched next year
Researchers at the University of Auckland and an Auckland-based creative agency are working together to create a ‘world first’ app that they believe will help with stress relief.
How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.