Expertise has performed an essential function in serving to many small and medium companies efficiently navigate by means of the challenges and uncertainties surrounding the pandemic—and can proceed to supply many advantages into the foreseeable future.
Expertise is more and more intertwined with enterprise efficiency. From time financial savings and effectivity features to higher information and insights for decision-making, SMBs can acquire vital benefits from automating and digitizing enterprise processes.
Our analysis discovered that SMBs that mentioned they’ve accelerated tech adoption in the course of the pandemic had been about 1.6 instances extra more likely to forecast that their revenues would rise than friends that decelerated or made no modifications.
Listed here are six examples of how expertise has helped SMBs to not solely survive by means of the pandemic but in addition to strengthen their companies for the long run.
#1 Cloud Computing
Cloud computing adoption has grown steadily during the last a number of years, nevertheless it turned the apparent alternative for a lot of SMBs when COVID-19 struck.
Nearly in a single day, SMBs needed to transition thousands and thousands of employees from the workplace to distant work. Those who had been already utilizing cloud computing options had a direct benefit: workers might go dwelling, login, and proceed to carry out gross sales, advertising and marketing, bookkeeping, venture administration, and lots of different duties simply as simply as they might within the workplace. Many SMBs additionally added new cloud options to regulate to new challenges that the pandemic created.
Because of this, some great benefits of cloud computing have come into sharper focus. SMB Group analysis reveals that 71% of SMBs are more likely to choose a cloud/SaaS answer the subsequent time they should purchase a brand new utility. The inherent benefits of the cloud—when it comes to deployment, person entry, mobility, onboarding, collaboration, centralized and real-time information, safety, scalability, and extra—will proceed to drive SMB preferences for cloud computing.
Prepared entry to related information about what’s occurring in several areas of the enterprise is significant to gauge efficiency, uncover new alternatives, determine potential issues and make higher choices.
Through the pandemic, analytics options have supplied SMBs with insights into shifting buyer, accomplice, provider, and worker necessities, enabling them to extra readily adapt to new situations.
As an illustration, COVID-19 turned a precedence for a lot of corporations. SMBs might use analytics instruments to optimize their web sites to drive visitors, transfer customers by means of the conversion funnel, will increase gross sales, see how guests navigate by means of their web sites and optimize common pages with completely different key phrases to make it simpler for individuals to seek out them on-line.
Synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML) applied sciences may also help you get issues completed quicker and extra intelligently throughout many enterprise features. Whereas these applied sciences can be very tough for many SMBs to construct and deploy on their very own, many cloud utility distributors have constructed AI and ML into their options, offering SMBs with an on-ramp to highly effective and pragmatic advantages. Because of this, based on In SMB Group’s SMB Instructions for the Way forward for Work Survey Examine, 54% of SMBs imagine that it’s essential that distributors embed AI and ML performance into their options.
For instance, customer support options usually embody chatbots that use AI and ML to grasp buyer requests and reply appropriately. Over the course of the pandemic, many SMBs have modified how and the place enterprise will get completed, opened and closed areas, modified schedules, created on-line ordering and pick-up choices, and extra. By utilizing chatbots to deal with frequent inquiries and issues about these modifications, SMBs can release workers to deal with extra complicated points—typically guided by AI-infused suggestion engines that present workers with ideas to finest deal with completely different conditions.
Ecommerce and digital gross sales channels have been a lifesaver throughout lockdowns, partial reopenings, and different challenges to conducting enterprise within the bodily world in the course of the pandemic. On the outset of the pandemic, many product-centric SMBs added and expanded their e-commerce operations to supply clients with extra on-line purchasing alternate options. Equally, service-centric SMBs—from gyms to healthcare suppliers—introduce new on-line providers to switch or increase in-person providers. Companies of all sorts took benefit of digital options resembling video conferencing to switch in-person gross sales calls, conferences, occasions, and courses.
Within the two years for the reason that pandemic started, these digital alternate options have turn out to be mainstream for many clients, and sometimes a most popular channel because of the comfort they provide. With these new preferences now shaped, SMBs might want to proceed to boost their e-commerce and digital gross sales and repair channels to fulfill market necessities.
One of many main modifications that we’ve got seen on account of the Covid-19 pandemic is that an increasing number of companies have been transitioning to on-line distant working. SMB Group analysis reveals that 70% of SMBs now have a distant program; and that SMB workers are about evenly cut up between distant solely, firm location solely, and hybrid workplaces.
Cloud collaboration options have helped many SMBs to higher handle their extra distributed workforces. Because of this, SMBs say that distant working most frequently has a optimistic or impartial impact on worker productiveness and retention. Because the idea of the “office” additional evolves, collaboration options will proceed to supply SMBs with the flexibleness required to adapt and develop.
Contactless funds give buyers a no-touch cost choice to pay for items or providers: no swiping, PINs, or signature required.
Contactless cost options, resembling Apple Pay, PayPal, Stripe, Sq., Google Pay, Venmo, and others had been obtainable previous to COVID-19. However the pandemic accelerated and typically necessitated SMB adoption of many of those options—which turned a lifesaver for a lot of companies in the course of the pandemic.
The recognition of contactless funds amongst clients will solely proceed to rise as a result of, along with being touch-free, they’re usually faster and simpler to make use of than different cost strategies. SMBs want to have the ability to course of funds the best way clients wish to purchase to enhance the purchasing expertise and be sure that clients don’t take their enterprise elsewhere.
COVID-19 compelled many SMBs to shortly shift gears to regulate to the “new regular.” In lots of instances, these shifts would have been subsequent to unattainable to realize with out expertise.
After two years of coping with the ups and downs, it’s clear we’re not going again to the “outdated regular.” Whereas nobody actually is aware of precisely how issues will play out, it’s clear that expertise will play an more and more essential function in enterprise technique and operations going ahead.
SMBs that accelerated expertise adoption in the course of the pandemic have already seen robust returns. Digital options have enabled many SMBs to pivot and broaden their market footprint, create extra versatile work environments, and get the insights they should drive extra profitable outcomes than much less proactive friends. Trying forward, these tendencies will proceed to speed up and strengthen going ahead, creating an crucial for all SMB decision-makers to chart and execute plans to turn out to be digital companies.
© SMB Group, 2022
Supply: Laurie McCabe’s Weblog