Digital transformation is at the top of every business agenda. Modernising IT infrastructure, overhauling customer service, and accelerating innovation, are all paths businesses are taking. Many leaders are also investing in the latest technological innovations, such as cloud, AI, and data analytics. These are all steps that can result in an intelligent business: one that uses its people, data, technology and other resources to develop and evolve.
However, achieving this can be easier said than done. There is a huge amount to think about, and it can be difficult to know what to prioritise and where to begin.
Here are four key steps that organisations need to keep in mind when it comes to running an intelligent business.
Pinpoint inefficiencies and redefine processes
Businesses should be strategic when it comes to making changes. Identifying activities and gaps that are inefficient is a vital first step to becoming a more intelligent business, and this can be done by carrying out a thorough, company-wide audit. The results of this should highlight any processes that are holding back business growth. It will also pinpoint the most important areas for improvement.
Recent research has shown that businesses are still wasting time on inefficient manual processes on tasks such as paying bills, carrying out data backups and collecting customer information. This is despite the growing role of technology. The same study also highlighted how senior UK decision makers consistently overestimate their company’s efficiency. Employees using tools, or carrying out processes, are therefore more likely to highlight the inefficiencies than department heads or senior management.
Identifying inefficient activities can lead to the removal of outdated systems and processes, or the introduction of new technologies. It can also free up employee time to focus on higher-value tasks.
Equip your business with good tools, including ERP
The second step is to make sure employees are working with good tools.
Relying on ineffective, or outdated systems and software is a major factor in preventing businesses from achieving their potential. For example, businesses should consider deploying modern cloud-based solutions, such as ERP. This can offer a range of benefits for a business, including:
- Real-time analysis, to anyone at anytime
- Flexible, and scalable, ideal for growing companies
- Often more cost-effective than on-premise solutions
- Superior security
- Provides an integrated view of core business operations
All of these benefits combined can help businesses fine tune processes and workflows. Furthermore, they can offer intelligence, such as analytics, that businesses can use to transform how they work.
In today’s fast-paced world, this could be the difference between leading the pack, or being overtaken by competitors.
Try AI solutions
AI is playing a bigger and bigger role in how businesses operate. It is now key to helping companies of all sizes work in smarter, more efficient ways. With investment on the rise – KPMG predicts that enterprise investment in AI will rise from $12.4 billion in 2018 to $232 billion by 2025. Now is clearly the time for businesses to be testing and implementing AI solutions.
The best way to do this is to start small and focus on specific scenarios, rather than rolling out the technology across multiple different areas simultaneously. For example, an organisation’s first foray into AI might involve the deployment of customer service bots to aid employees and improve the customer experience.
This could then evolve into using AI to automate repetitive tasks such as data entry. This would then free employees up to focus on adding real value to the business. By applying AI tools to specific use cases, businesses will be able to gradually increase their efficiency and work in more intelligent ways.
Adopt mobile working solutions
Finally, businesses need to provide tools that enable their workforce to work remotely. The ability to work from outside the office has quickly become an expectation for employees. It has also been widely proven to increase productivity.
Rather than waiting for their employees to ask for it, businesses should proactively implement mobile working solutions. These tools should also allow every employee – whether they’re in accounting, c-suite, sales etc. – to access the information they need to carry out their tasks, from anywhere, at any time.
Some ERP systems, for example, now offer Mobile Application Generators which can boost efficiency and productivity. These allow employees to build the apps they need for their specific role, without any coding experience necessary. This can be particularly useful for staff that regularly work in the field, such as sales, technicians, drivers and more.
Of course, there are many other things businesses can do to transform how they operate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but these four steps can act as an effective blueprint for any business looking to become more intelligent and successful in the years to come.
Priority Software provides flexible, end-to-end business management solutions for organizations of all sizes – from accounting software for small businesses, to a full featured ERP platform serving multi-national corporations. Recognized by top industry analysts and professionals for its product innovation, Priority improves business efficiency and the customer experience, providing real-time access to business data and insights in the cloud, on premise and on-the-go. With offices in the US, UK and Israel, and a global network of business partners, Priority enables 75,000 companies in 40 countries to manage and grow their business.