I work under a role title which has not graced many recruitments boards to date but is one I expect to see more and more as companies transform their digital operations, strategies and internal IT investments across their business.
The facts are glaring, and the recent pandemic has highlighted just how far so many companies need to come, and quickly. In this role, it is my responsibility to think about how modernising IT even further can transform not only our business but our client partners across the Think One businesses. Here are just a few of many areas where IT modernisation can support your IT modernisation and digital transformation.
All companies face the challenge of keeping up with technology to keep a competitive edge. Leveraging digital technology accomplishes everything from improving business processes and productivity to attracting new customers. Modernising your business is an ongoing process that requires time and a multi-layered strategy.
You will need to invest time in upgrading your network infrastructure and user application so that employees can work effectively. If your customers access your products or services online, they will need efficient and speedy access to your website or customer portal. Modernising IT also means harnessing the power of the cloud, big data and social media to better understand and connect with your customers.
At Think Connect, we know there is no single solution that applies to every company, although there are some critical areas that we recommend our clients focus on.
Increased Business Efficiency, Agility, and Teamwork
Whether your employees or customers are accessing your network in-house or remotely, they need to have efficient, stable, and secure access. Incorporating technologies that flourish on high-speed broadband, such as Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), Software as a Service (SaaS), can boost the speed, efficiency and security.
SD-WAN takes the traditional WAN one step further in terms of performance and security. Likewise, SaaS and cloud services allow for more IT automation and data storage in the cloud, thus lightening your local network load.
Your customers will have a better experience, and your employees will be able to maintain productivity on a high-speed network with lower latency and Think Connect can help get you there. In this new era of remote working, your remote employees can work with the same efficiency as your in-house people.
Enhanced Collaboration and Teamwork
With your network optimised for peak performance, you can then take advantage of several collaboration tools such as video conferences and other team-building applications to keep your team working cohesively from any location.
Video meetings have become invaluable for internal and client meetings, as they connect people and assets in real-time. With video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft teams, participants can see each other and share files from their separate workstations. They can also demonstrate new products, ideas, and applications to customers.
Other collaborative tools keep teams connected throughout the day and boost human performance. Chat applications and document sharing are two examples that allow professionals to work collaboratively, whether formally or informally, throughout the workday. Employees can seamlessly share ideas as well as delegate tasking. Overall, these collaborative tools are affordable, and they are becoming indispensable.
At Think Connect, we can help roll out an entire MS Team solution for your business to enhance employee efficiency and increase positive customer perception.
Software-Based Services: Get More, Pay Less
As mentioned, the collaboration and team-building tools such as MS Teams are affordable and accessible across most platforms, providing cost savings compared to disjointed legacy applications. There are also logical cost savings associated with a high-performing network for local or remote work sites. A faster network means increased overall productivity and less downtime.
There are also considerable cost savings associated with investing initial time and resources into upgrading your underlying networks. Many of the new networking technologies such as SD-WAN, SD-Branch and cloud services are software-based. Upgrading software is far less expensive than upgrading hardware systems. Many times, replacing outdated systems with new technologies reduces the need for hardware, saving on equipment costs.
Furthermore, upgrades can be automated and executed from a central location, which frees up your IT personnel to handle other tasks. Software-based services can save your company from paying for travel and shipping expenses when setting up new branch locations.
Customer Trends Using Data Analytics
Customer analytics equips marketers with detailed information about customer behaviour and purchasing trends, helping them make effective predictive business decisions.
Analytics can help you strategically direct your marketing efforts with laser precision to improve the customer experience by personalising interactions between your brand and your customers. Today, most consumer data come from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and current technology allows you to capture and use that data in real-time.
With it, you can identify customer purchasing patterns, predict trends, fine-tune marketing campaigns, and, of course, boost sales. Whether your customers interact with you in retail locations or online, Think Connect can help capture analytics to enhance the customer experience, no matter where it happens.
Faster Website eCommerce and In-store Point-of-Sale (PoS)
If you are a retailer, keeping your eCommerce and in-store PoS systems current increases store efficiency in several areas. As mentioned, it allows you to boost the performance of IoT devices. Your PoS system can communicate with customers’ own IoT devices, allowing customers to create their shopping lists from anywhere. When customers arrive at the store, their devices aid them in locating and purchasing their shopping list items.
You can also track and maximise your retail space by installing sensors around the store, thus increasing store efficiency even more. These sensors detect and report foot traffic in real-time. You can analyse foot traffic patterns to see how customers move around your store and reorganise your retail space accordingly.
The same conveniences apply to PoS at checkout or may even eliminate the checkout line altogether. With Edge computing applications, a check-out-less store is possible. Customers can download your app, use the app when they enter the store, take the items they need, pay through the app, and walk out—no waiting in line and no cashier.
Social Media and Influencers
Social media has over 3 billion users, making it a driving force in marketing, specifically customer engagement. Today’s customers are looking for products and services that relate to their interests, and social media is the platform that showcases your business profile and mission along with your offerings.
Millennials, in particular, expect exceptional customer service and reward that company by becoming digital ambassadors for the brand. They use their social platforms to promote the service they receive. Of course, a disappointing experience produces a social media backlash. From here, some customers evolve into social media influencers, whose sway has become a critical component to driving traffic to your online platforms.
If your business doesn’t already have a social media strategy, now is the time to create one. A company’s social media presence is essential for connecting with customers and creating a sense of brand loyalty that generates repeat sales. At Thin Connect, we understand that having a social media strategy connects you to potential customers and catches the eye of key social media influencers.
Whatever strategy your company has adopted to ensure your networks and other tools are up to date, understand that it’s an ongoing process. Technologies constantly emerge that render their predecessors obsolete. Customer trends and preferences change right along with them.
In addition to optimising your employees’ business processes, keeping your network technology current allows you to enhance the customer experience on demand. The upside is that these new technologies are far more cost-effective than the previous versions and easier to install. Modernising your IT infrastructures ensures that your company has the underlying structure and tools it needs to keep pace with the competition.
If you would like to discuss IT modernisation for your business get in touch here.