Doing business is now taking on a new complexion. The growth of the anytime, anywhere workforce means SMEs need to find alternative ways for employees to connect, collaborate and innovate while maintaining compliance with company policies. The ability to leverage technology will be the difference between success and failure for SMEs in the new world.
While workplaces can collaborate remotely through cloud-based tools, there is still an opportunity to leverage technology to optimise business processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies. For example, spend management is a key bottleneck for many organisations, with manual processes taking time away from employees that can be better spent developing new business ideas, driving product and service innovation, and attracting more revenue to the organisation.
According to a recent EY report, organisations should consider automated technology solutions to provide a new and efficient way of working. This involves rethinking the traditional approach to doing business and retrofitting existing business structures using technology solutions that meet the needs of the new reality.
A recent Aberdeen study found that companies with best-in-class automation capabilities achieved better operating margins and greater employee satisfaction than businesses that used manual processes.
Now is the time for SMEs to review their processes and the systems that support them. If there are processes that are causing bottlenecks in the business now, then they are likely to cause significant problems and impact the organisation’s ability to compete over the next five to 10 years.
The key to success for SMEs in the new world is to challenge existing processes and their ongoing relevance to the organisation, encourage new ways of working enabled by technology and automate systems now in preparation for the future.
It can be daunting for organisations that have legacy systems in place to trust new, automated technologies. However, the reality is that manual processes are rapidly becoming redundant and won’t be relevant in the very near future.
The most obvious place to start is with automating financial processes because they are at the heart of doing business and will deliver the most rapid return on investment in terms of cost savings, efficiency gains, and ensuring data security. Automating financial processes also delivers greater visibility into business performance with real-time data insights that let the organisation rapidly adapt to market changes.
It’s better to make a start and leverage new technologies now to stay ahead of the game than be left behind by savvier competitors who are already prepared for doing business in the new world.
Fabian Calle, Managing Director – SMB, SAP Concur ANZ