Cloud-based digital tools have been a game changer for many small businesses. Not only do they help to automate processes and increase productivity, they offer flexible, scalable solutions to fit any size of business and budget.
Statistics gathered by Digital Journey show just how popular cloud adoption has become, with SMEs flocking to the uptake in the past five years:
A 2017 study by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business makes the reasons for this growth clear: SMEs (across all industries) that incorporate even a moderate amount of ICT are more productive than those that don’t.
Maintain your momentum
Adopting a few cloud apps can help you get your foot in the door and build your confidence as you start to see the time and cost savings, but don’t stop there! Remember, there are now digital tools to help you streamline nearly every aspect of your business.
Make sure you continue to review your businesses processes with an eye for where cloud solutions could lighten your load.
Jump on the digital bandwagon
So what apps and software are businesses flocking to? Fire-up your inspiration by taking a look at how other New Zealand SMEs are leveraging cloud technology for themselves:
Recent global events have caused a huge uptake in project management tools that enable teams to communicate and work together across multiple locations. It’s crucial to consider your specific business needs as there are many options: from simple, visual interfaces in programs like Trello and MS Planner, to more advanced solutions like monday.com and asana which can help you manage resources and track time.
Storage and Document management
Keeping data secure and well organised—so you can always find it when you need it!—is a must. For simple data sharing and storage, box and Dropbox are popular choices for SMEs, whereas
Microsoft Office 365 and the Google Workspace really lead the way with their ease of use and all-round functionality. They offer a one-stop-shop for all types of apps and add-ons which extend document management into many of the other realms mentioned in this article.
Paper-based accounts? Not anymore. With nearly 60 percent of small businesses using online accounting software like Xero or MYOB, switching your books to the cloud may seem like yesterday’s news.
However, SMEs are increasingly taking advantage of optional addons that help to streamline and customise their accountancy services. Extensions that help to process timesheets or invoices, or automate business workflows, for example, can help you meet your specific needs.
Payroll is a time-consuming chore that most businesses have to face, that’s why many SMEs now use cloud software to automate the management of employees’ salaries, wages, bonuses, deductions, time-off, retirement funds and more.
Often payroll can be integrated with your online accountancy software, but there are also specific payroll software for New Zealand businesses like FlexiTime, and PaySauce that offer added features like combining timesheeting and payroll.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are proving a great fit for small businesses who don’t have the same dedicated resources as larger enterprises. These tools can help you bring together customer data, allowing you to provide better support and targeted marketing, and thereby increasing engagement.
Basic CRM can start with a simple Trello board or Airtable, however, more sophisticated systems like HubSpot or mailchimp can help you take the thinking out of the equation by organising, automating, and prompting your customer database, sales flow, and marketing.
Sales automation is hot news at the moment, with the increasing sophistication of software and even the use of AI, even remote and mobile teams can monitor leads, sales activity, pipelines, and wins.
Sales automation software can often be treated as CRM tools with extended functionality, pipedrive and monday.com being examples of great all-rounders that also easily integrate with many other apps you may have.
The Sky’s the limit
Once you start to delve into the world of cloud software solutions, you’ll see that there are as many options out there as there are small businesses alive and kicking (well, almost!) Assess your business needs and then go forth and trial your options—your perfect solution is out there waiting.
For more on the best cloud-based applications to help your business thrive and improve your digital know-how, join Chorus and Digital journey at one of our Techweek 2021 events.