If you think back to the way things worked 20 years ago, the business world of today would be unrecognizable. A great deal has changed and though some of it is cultural, it has been driven by technological progress. We have now reached a point where no business can afford to lag behind and where taking advantage of the latest technology is essential to getting your organization in shape to succeed.

Business communications
The single most dramatic reshaping of business in recent years has come in the area of communications. The impact of mobile technologies has been considerable, with staff now able to work while out of the office and an ability to handle increasingly large amounts of data with increasing speed. Internal business communications, meanwhile, have shaped the modern office in subtler ways with intranet forums and messaging changing the way staff members talk to each other. This inevitably impacts traditional hierarchies, benefiting bosses who like to engage and inspire rather than clinging to rigid structures and schedules.

Finance software
Improved finance software is making it easier for small business owners to manage tasks such as budgeting and payroll in-house, without having to first undertake special training. Automating these systems saves time, and simply having someone come in occasionally to check things is much cheaper than keeping a finance professional on staff at all times.

ERP systems
Another game changer introduced in recent years is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which is designed to streamline project work or overall internal operations. By taking over many of the routine tasks that use up managers’ time, it can free up time for getting on with the more interesting aspects of running a business. It is also more efficient than you or any other human could hope to be when it comes to keeping track of different employees’ work, making sure people have access to information when they need it, and coordinating different pieces of software. There are a wide range of ERP systems available, including specially tailored ones designed to suit business sectors such as engineering, design, and architecture.

Using the cloud
Extending your workplace to make use of the cloud gives you the freedom to extend your operations beyond your offices and beyond the limits of storage space and security provisions that you can handle directly. Cloud ERP software makes it possible to run a virtual office in which some staff can work from home or continue to keep up with routine work while on business trips. This type of system also makes it easy to outsource certain types of work, cutting down on the number of specialist skills that need to be maintained among staff, which can make things much easier for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

All of these systems are continually being improved and upgraded to expand their potential. They are increasing in capacity; however, importantly, they are also adapting to take into account what users need and to help businesses satisfy the needs of their customers more effectively.