How to make IT your competitive advantage

Having smart technology systems in the workplace is not just about having an internet connection that doesn’t drop out. “Shock, horror!” right? Many business owners don’t think of their IT system beyond its simple day-to-day function. When utilised more fulsomely however, technology has the ability to greatly increase productivity and output, promote creativity and improve staff wellbeing.

So how can IT work for you and how can you use it to your advantage?

Automation can make your team more productive

The best businesses use automation in a way that makes priorities clear for staff, and cuts down the time they spend on activities that don’t bring value to the organisation. In effect, automation can help staff to concentrate on doing what they do best.

The Internet of Things (IoT)—put simply, when computers talk to each other—is growing and developments in automation are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives. Major tech companies seem to think it’s the next big thing—just check out Google Home’s features, which can switch on your sprinklers or send your partner an email to tell them you’re running late.

When applied to business, automation can play an important role in increasing productivity and putting you ahead of your competitors. For the jargon-seekers out there, people call it “automation as service” in a business context. For instance, Zapier’s technology can perform complex, multistep automations that increase efficiencies and remove menial admin tasks that kill time. You can use Zapier to automatically save email attachments to your Dropbox and then ping you on Slack, or it can send your team push notifications when you get an email from a VIP customer. Microsoft’s Flow is set to be a equally great tool with similar functionality once it comes out of its extended preview phase.

Millennials love mobility

Let’s face it, millennials may as well have been born with smartphones in their hands. For tech-natives, being in a workplace that has unsophisticated tech systems, or even more frustratingly, good systems that aren’t used to their full capacity, is demotivating.

In Australia there will be more millennials in the workforce than any other generation by 2020, which means employers need to understand the needs of this new generation of workers, and quickly.

Having a millennial workforce means workplaces need to evolve in the same way that products and services have. The workplace now needs to be connected, customisable, and open to change. Today’s best companies build flexibility into the foundations of their corporate culture. This is not to say that Generation X workers and Baby Boomers don’t care about being able to leave work early to pick up the kids, but rather that millennials are leading the charge in prioritising work flexibility, for both time and location.

By having an IT system that caters to the rapidly evolving workforce, employers will experience a higher rate of satisfaction amongst their staff and more easily retain top performing talent.

Collaboration drives creativity

Cloud-based technologies make sharing files and using a multitude of devices in the workplace a breeze. Some call this “enterprise mobility”, but in layman’s terms, it’s about being able to access your system via any device from any location, and in turn, empowering employees to make smart work choices.

Organisations that allow their employees to access the right tools and information at any time see productivity flourish. Put simply, cloud-technologies improve workflow when applied smartly.

Sophisticated sharing systems also improve the level of collaboration between team members, across departments, and with clients. If you’re trying to fan the flames of creativity in your organisation, collaboration is the gas that will really heat things up. Creativity in the workplace is known to improve outcomes at work, from product design to problem-solving.

Creativity in the workplace doesn’t just happen automatically, unless of course you hire the genius Elon Musk himself. It’s therefore important for businesses to implement the systems that foster a collaborative and creative work environment.


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5 years ago

The options available on Amazon AWS provide business with a considerable resource-I do not think there is a lot of awareness among the general Australian business community as to exactly what is possible with these tools-I think we need a massive education program for business owners to allow them to catch up.