Business applications (apps) have changed the landscape for start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises by placing sophisticated software solutions, previously only accessible to large enterprises, in the hands of small players.
With the advent of business apps that are hosted in the cloud, business owners can simply download the most suitable applications, access the available features, allocate to the relevant users and pay a monthly fee, thereby, eliminating the need for extensive hardware, exorbitant fees and complex integration requirements.
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Leveraging technological innovation, such as apps, is one of the best decisions SME’s can make, but to take full advantage of these applications, you have to be informed. The app market is growing every day, which means you need to ensure the apps you choose align with the strategic objectives of your business model.
If you’d like to become an app-savvy SME, here’s a few insights to get you going:
1. Go mobile – eliminate manual processes
As a start-up, there are so many business processes to worry about, such as lead generation, sales, client service and retention, admin-process management, regulation compliance and supply chain management. It takes approximately 18 months for a business to become profitable, and during this time it is absolutely crucial for a start-up to use the available tools that will help ensure maximised efficiency.
Many businesses also prefer manual processes during the early stages of establishment, as business owners believe them to be more affordable. Nowadays, however, it has become easy for businesses to pick up an app, start on a process and automate those processes at a relatively low cost.
Business apps also reduce the number of resources required, as many admin and operational functions can be taken care of from a mobile device, eliminating the need for workers to be office-bound and enabling them to manage multiple processes on the go.
2. Ensure 360o visibility while maintaining affordability
Visibility is a big hindrance to business growth, as business owners are faced with multiple operational aspects that happen simultaneously from various environments with very little insight into the procedures followed, service levels and customer feedback.
To help combat this challenge, business apps provide dashboards that reflect a single view of all operations, giving business owners the ultimate power to gain unprecedented visibility and control over all processes.
As apps are hosted in the cloud, the functionality to integrate with other apps and systems is also available, thereby, further enhancing a holistic real-time view of business operations.
3. Enjoy flexibility and streamlined decision making
Business apps provide flexibility, affordability, access to live data, the ability to streamline decision making based on accurate data, and support services.
When a business is small and growing, business owners can’t afford to be tedious regarding decision making and need to take a proactive and, in many cases, reactive approach. Business apps allow business owners to create efficiencies relatively quickly, and provide access to live data for quicker decision making.
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The number one problem faced by at least one in four small businesses is cash flow and a deficiency of access to real-time data, leading to hasty decisions based on the wrong information.
Apps offer complete insight into business operations with many add-ons and integration to other apps available to maximise real-time visibility for a 360-degree view of business operations.
4. Rest assured - you’re supported
With regard to support services, business apps available in app stores tend to be more generic, rendering support services fast and easy, as all training and support materials are accessible online.
5. No need to break the bank
There are thousands of business apps available in the market. Thankfully, when it comes to small-medium-enterprise apps they are reasonably priced and offer features and add-ons that are targeted toward business growth.
Most companies will provide a light version of their enterprise version and as you grow, you can adapt to the full version, rendering apps both affordable and scalable.