High Five – Five ways technology can cut costs and boost your business

Three Business Blog Team
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On: 5 Jun 2015
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With the right technology you can streamline your business and reduce your IT costs too. Isn’t it time to take another look at where you are investing your budget?

The Cloud Industry Forum has reported that by 2016, 75% of IT will be cloud-based. This is just one example of how businesses are switching to new technology.

Here are five areas where new tech can make your business better, and cut your costs too.

1. Explore the Cloud

KPMG’s 2014 Cloud Computing Survey (PDF) makes interesting reading; in addition to the much-touted cost savings of cloud computing, organisations are also using cloud-based solutions to streamline their businesses and make better use of data to identify opportunities.

The survey polled 500 global C-level business executives – CEOs, CIOs and CFOs – from firms with annual revenues ranging from the hundreds of millions to the multiple billions, and found that while 49% expected cloud computing to deliver cost efficiencies, 42% expected it to make their mobile workforce more efficient, 37% expected better alignment with customers and partners, and 35% expected better use of data to drive insight.

2. Invest in System Integration

As companies grow, they often invest piecemeal in IT solutions: accounting systems, inventory management systems, customer service systems and so on. Over time, the cost of maintaining, updating and attempting to integrate these multiple disparate systems can be a significant drain on the organisation’s IT resources – not to mention a cause of duplicated effort and data.

By streamlining the systems around a single platform, IT no longer needs to buy, install, maintain and support multiple systems, freeing up resources that can be better spent elsewhere. For example, custom wheel manufacturer König Wheels replaced a combination of proprietary applications with a single platform, created a vendor portal for six major suppliers to track customer orders and plan demand, created a customer portal for ordering and order status checking, and used web-based services to make that customer portal available in retail chains’ stores. The result? IT cost savings of $120,000 per year, a 25% reduction in inventory and a doubling of sales in four years.

3. Bring Your Own Device

Giving your employees the power to choose their own smartphones, mobile devices and laptops can deliver genuine benefits.

According to a the BMC Software Survey, employees who selected their own hardware work an extra two hours and send 20 more emails per day, with one in three checking work email between 6-7am and one in four checking between 11pm and midnight.

A survey by consulting firm Avenade shows that firms embracing employee choice were 73% more likely to report improved sales and new customer acquisitions. Not only that, 58% reported a greater ability to bring new products and services to market, and 54% were more likely to report increased profits.

Intel, which gives the choice of hardware to more than 17,000 employees, also reports an annual productivity gain of some 5 million hours.

4. Omni-channel

Omni-channel means delivering a consistent experience across multiple channels. So in retail, for example, that means customers can order online on their phone and pick up in store. Sales executives on the shop floor have access to the same customer history and preference data as online customer support reps.

In any business, big or small in Ireland, an omni-channel approach can streamline workflows and maximise productivity.

5. Workforce Applications

Mobile apps can be great productivity boosters. According to the KPMG report, 37% of organisations found that mobile apps reduced their IT costs – and there were other benefits including improved productivity (54%), higher employee satisfaction (48%), improved field service operations (45%), competitive advantage (44%) and increased revenues (43%).

A great example of mobile apps in action is at All In Care, the family-owned home care company whose 300-plus staff help around 1,000 clients in and around Dublin to live independent, healthy and fulfilling lives. The company was encountering problems with endless paperwork, time-consuming reporting, difficulties tracking attendance and hours and delays in invoicing and payments.

The solution? Smartphones. On arrival at a client’s home, the carer scans an electronic barcode with their phone, which logs their arrival. They complete forms by tapping icons on a custom made application during the visit, and if there are changes, such as new medication, they can communicate this back to base instantly. Carers’ locations are mapped and tracked in real time for extra security, and each smartphone has a panic alert too.

By reducing administration costs, streamlining billing and payments and improving communications, All In Care has seen big improvements. As founder and CEO Linda Murphy explains, “We are using the latest mobile technology so that our carers have real time information on site and can focus on their client needs rather than on paper based reporting and administration.”

The one thing all of these technologies have in common is that the technology is streamlining, simplifying and sharing. By reducing duplication, ensuring the right data gets to the right people your business can do more while spending an awful lot less.