Organization is the key to any successful business operation. Being able to put your finger on any relevant information immediately saves you time and ensures you are always in the driving seat, allowing you to act fast.
Improving the organizational efficiency of businesses has to be at the heart of any on-going strategies, and the technology industry is behind this demand for evolution. Progression often means eradicating the bureaucracy that serves to slow down projects. This, in turn, frees up time and resources for developing a better-priced product for customers, meeting their growing expectations, and pushing sustainable projects that look at reducing environmental impact.
But how does the modern marketplace adapt to meet these needs? If you’re a business owner, you’ll no doubt have the need to keep your finger on the pulse of changes that can help you take your company forward to becoming an industry leader.
Where just a few years ago, mobile phones were primarily seen as a personal or social pursuit, business leaders and technology strategists have grasped and run with the potential that they offer. With progress in internet connection speeds, reduction in data costs and an increase in processing power and storage, mobile technology provides an ever-connected office, wherever an employee is. It provides a level of access that was unimaginable fifteen or twenty years ago.
Speeding up communication across departments and allowing for seamless collaboration can enable businesses to become far more progressive. Waiting for someone who is working out on a project to be back at their desk to reply to emails is a thing of the past. Companies these days look for immediate access to all of their teams wherever they are in the field, and technology is delivering the means to meet that demand. Mobile technology offers precisely that, and the huge boom in app developers has led to a vast increase in options for commerce and industry. Rewind five to ten years, and apps were primarily created for social or trivial reasons. More and more, we now see systems to manage workflow sit side-by-side with social media and gaming apps on a massive percentage of devices.
Project management requires multiple hats to be worn and a range of skill sets. This might go from recruitment and development of the team undertaking the work, through to managing financial controls, overseeing design based concerns, meeting legal requirements such as licensing and health and safety, and dealing with tenders from subcontractors. This kind of diversity might have required multiple pieces of heavy-duty software in the past, and having systems that shared information with each other might have been problematic.
Application developers now understand the frustration felt by project managers, and many apps look to streamline all aspects of the job role by integrating information in a simple, easy to use app.
For example; ensuring construction scheduling runs to plan is crucial. The large budgets used in the building industry mean that organizations are heavily committed to driving projects forward in a timely manner, avoiding costly mistakes which will delay deadlines and result in overspending. Having this information within a workflow in the palm of your hand can keep you on track. Changes in any aspect of a project can be tracked from anywhere; and amendments to relevant operational areas immediately made..
Schedules can be managed and shared to employees providing information regarding shifts to be worked. This information can be seamlessly shared with your payroll department without the need to deal with complex timesheets.
Logistics planning, mapping out information such as driver name, vehicle registration, a destination address, shipment contents, times, mileage and costing information can all be tracked and modified from anywhere, allowing transport managers much more free time for improving and developing in other areas.
Reports need to be adaptable to the needs of the business, and the individual using the app. Analysis of information in a certain way may significant to one employee, but might be entirely different for another. Having the flexibility to manipulate the way data is presented is crucial to many. Developers are meeting this need head-on by really considering a range of user experiences.
Cloud-Based Resource Systems
The push for stronger, faster and cheaper mobile data has driven the rise of cloud-based systems. Having access to all company data, from anywhere and at any time has given many industries a new playing field.
Utilizing systems such as Visual Planning will allow businesses to stay close to their budgets by keeping all of their workflows digitally in one place. Information can be accessed anywhere and at any time, helping with on the go decision making. This information can be safely stored with easy to manage security protocols.
Accessing subcontractor information needed in the on-going planning of projects allows project managers the on-the-job ability to react to new information as it comes in.
Large complex files, such as high-resolution blueprints, can easily be stored and accessed from any connected device.
Social Media Creates Demands On The Market
Another way in which technology has shifted the business culture paradigm is through social media. It took a few years for the implications of social technology to filter through to businesses, other than for entertainment purposes. With so much online interaction, and a lasting record of consumer opinions through online reviews, tweets and blog postings, corporations have had to step up their game and work harder at offering more than their customers are looking for. The constant need to stay ahead of consumer approval in the social media world is a significant element in many marketing strategies.
Reaching out to current and potential customers has never been so easy. Social media offers the option to have a two-way conversation, where traditional media marketing was limited to just sending a message out with limited means of response to check the validity of the marketing message. Market research was once costly and time-consuming, but with the advent of so many channels, reaching out for consumer opinions can be very cheap, providing quick responses that allow your business to react to the information.
The Downtime Debate
The ever-connected office, anywhere in the world has its caveats. There is an argument surrounding the shift in work-life balance, and how, for many, getting home from work, or taking a day off, does not mean they are not working. Many workers check-in and get regular updates, or respond to messages while out of business. Some may say that this causes problems within personal relationships, and has an effect on the family and social lives of so many.
The challenge then for technology is how to manage this problem. As technology changes the workforce dynamic, we see many flexible working patterns. Jobs become less about the number of hours that an employee works, and more about the quality of their output.
Moving Rapidly Towards The Future
With 5G connections now being rolled out all over the world, the race is on for technologists to take their innovations to the next level. We already see more and more connectivity across a broader range of technology, all with the prospect of creating a more comfortable life for us all. There are sure to be massive developments once data speeds up to one thousand times faster than 4G are widely available.
The advancement of mobile generations has progressed at around one decade per generation. With the first wave of mobile phones in the 1980s, then led to the second generation, and implementation of digital data in the 1990s, third generation in the 2000s, and 4G in the last decade. However, 5G rollout is costly and will take time. We will likely have this technology for longer, and developers will be looking towards long term implications of the equipment.
It will no doubt vastly improve many existing technologies, and it will help see a reduction in costs of these, again allowing businesses to develop in other ways as resources get freed up elsewhere. The speedup in communication and the additional interconnectivity will see systems interacting with each other and making decisions to automatically adapt production outputs within the manufacturing industry based on demand without the need for human input.
Artificial intelligence will be a significant growth area for business development in the future. With services such as Alexa already having the ability to act as a personal assistant, many administrative tasks can be done silently, without the need for a great deal of interaction. As algorithms develop more exceptional abilities to learn, the use of AI in the workplace has a much broader reach, as they will be able to analyze data in ways humans can’t and then suggest improvements to workflow systems.
Whatever your business model, there are developing technologies that you can implement to enhance the efficiency greatly and ultimately, the profitability of your company. Researching progress inside your specific industry is the obvious place to start, but keeping on top of developments in other sectors might offer transferable insights that could benefit you.