Choosing the Best Hardware and Software for Your Small Business
No matter what type of company you run, choosing the best hardware and software for your small business can be confusing. Whether it’s hardware that’s going to keep your data secure or project management software, you’ll need to make a decision that considers the needs of everyone. This includes your employees and customers and how they work in conjunction with one another.
Making the decision to purchase new hardware or software isn’t easy, with budget being the number one consideration for most businesses. But according to the IDC, a world-wide market intelligence company, in 2018 small businesses spent almost $602 billion on software, hardware, and IT services. Can you afford to be left behind?
Hardware Technology for Small Business
When it comes to hardware technology, there are some fundamental requirements you need to have covered in 2019. This technology is going to provide you with the right tools to improve the way your business operates so you can increase your productivity.
If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to meet the challenges of implementing and utilizing all this new technology, consider using an IT consultancy to advise on hardware and software needs. Here are some of the top hardware essentials for small businesses today,
Desktop vs laptop
While desktop PCs are still the standard, many businesses are moving toward providing laptops for employees. Having access to their laptop with VPN capability to the company network allows employees to work out of the office whether it’s at home or on the road. These days more employees are looking for the opportunity to work remotely, with evidence showing that remote workers are just as productive, if not more so, than those employees who work full time in the office.
Smartphones and tablets
To provide employees with even more options and flexibility for communicating with coworkers and customers, smartphones and tablets are becoming a top hardware choice for small business. Both can be used as a primary hardware tool, allowing employees to run business apps and store business data they use daily in their job.
More and more businesses are choosing to move away from an in-house server to cloud-based solutions. It’s estimated that by the end of 2020, 67% of all business infrastructure will be cloud-based. The benefits of the cloud are huge to any company, both in cost savings and business continuity. Using the cloud also provides businesses with regular and scheduled backup and disaster recovery of data by storing data files offsite in a secure location.
Software Choices to Optimize Performance
It can often seem that the most perplexing issue for running a small business is choosing the right software that’s going to help you optimize your employee performance and increase efficiency. There are so many software products on the market which can streamline your business operations that it’s hard to know where to begin.
You can start by narrowing down and defining your business needs. By identifying what tasks are unique to your company, you can select software that’s going to help your employees work faster and smarter. Your final choice for software should come down to selecting a software solution that benefits the majority of your employees. The following software programs and apps can help you manage some of the more tedious but necessary tasks:
Project management software
Using project management software allows everyone in the company to collaborate and communicate on the same projects. Managers will be able to allocate tasks, schedule timelines, and ensure that deadlines are met. Employees will be able to manage their own tasks, knowing at any time what’s expected of them on one or multiple projects. Project management software is also an efficient way to keep all project documentation in one place so there’s never a question of missing data or miscommunication.
At the top of the software list is communication software. Communication and collaboration between managers, employees, and customers is critical to your business. In fact, the latest statistics indicate that the use of communication software has jumped significantly since 2017 from $9.1 billion US spent globally, to a predicted $10 billion in 2022.
Customer relationship management
For your business to be grow, you need to effectively interact and communicate with your customers. Customer relationship management (CRM) software does just that – it lets you store customer information and analyze the data based on customer history. This information can be used to build stronger relationships and focus on both customer retention and acquiring new customers.
Using accounting software gives small businesses the ability to manage and be in control of their own invoicing, accounting, and employee payroll. By automating many tasks, accounting solutions help keep records up to date and allow business owners to have an in depth understanding of their costs, profits, and losses. As well, the cost savings can be huge when businesses no longer outsource their accounting to another company.
With so many hardware and software tools available, it can seem like a complicated decision for choosing what’s right for your business. Some of the factors to consider include:
- the size of your company
- the needs of your particular business
- what tasks you want to automate
Having the right tools, be it hardware or software, can make a big difference in the growth and success of your small business. Take some time to determine what technology is best going to meet your business needs, what advantages you’ll gain, and what particular hardware or software is going to make the most impact on the success of your business.