The conveniences technology brings to the world seem to be everywhere. Consumers and businesses can use gadgets and programs that make daily tasks a breeze. But with so many different types of tech out there, availability doesn’t guarantee adoption. If someone doesn’t know the technology exists or understand its value, they’re not going to rush to implement it.
Business owners, in particular, are bombarded with tech-related choices. Advances in machine learning, automation, and AI are driving new developments and tools. Devices are also becoming more tied to online connectivity and mobile commerce. The sheer volume of changes and developments in the tech landscape makes the selection process overwhelming.
Narrowing down your company’s options involves learning about what the latest software programs and devices can do. But the process also entails knowing what technologies you may have previously ignored or missed. Below are some of the more helpful types of tech you didn’t know your business needed.
Tracking paychecks and benefits is something most employees want to do. But having to constantly verify direct deposit details or vacation time allowances with a human resources rep is a hassle. Without self-service platforms, you could be overburdening your HR department and putting your employees at a disadvantage.
Web consoles and apps that let your staff check on and change their company perks provide ownership and control. Employees don’t have to consult with HR to update details of a small business 401(k) or submit a request for paid time off. The platform records all paperwork digitally and routes requests to the correct person. Any changes to benefit plans and PTO approvals can happen on the same day, often within hours.
If your business partners with other companies in the community to offer discounts, your staff can also learn what’s available. They can browse offers and sign up through your benefits platform or get a promo code and instructions. In short, self-service options provide flexibility and instant confirmation for a wide range of employee benefits. Insurance plans, 401(k) investment options, and PTO requests are just a few of them.
All business owners have documents and data they need to store for legal or record-keeping purposes. Maintaining files containing intellectual property, procedures, and evidence of work is also a commonsense practice. However, keeping paper copies and storing data on physical hard drives or servers can quickly take up space. And there’s the chance those documents will go missing or be destroyed if something happens to the hardware or building.
Switching to cloud-based backup services eliminates those worries and helps rapidly facilitate disaster recovery plans. Since the company’s sensitive information is digitized in the cloud, employees can retrieve documents wherever there’s an internet connection. If a natural disaster strikes your facility, you won’t lose years of records to storm damage. That’s critical, as research shows 94% of companies don’t recover from catastrophic data loss, and 51% close within two years.
Cloud-based services also provide the option of automating file backups. Those backups can sync files from network folders, laptops, and other devices the team uses throughout the day. When you create new documents, they automatically go into storage. Hard copies of older files are easy to scan or transfer into the cloud. From there, you can organize everything into folder structures that replicate traditional filing cabinets.
You might think the options to pay cash or by credit and debit card is enough for your customer base. But digital wallets and in-app payments are on the rise, with 82% of U.S. consumers using them in 2021. This represents an increase from the 72% adoption rate of five years ago.
Alternatives to conventional cash and cards include digital wallet services and money loaded on loyalty cards within an app. On-demand credit that lets customers buy now and pay later, cryptocurrencies, and peer-to-peer services are additional alternatives consumers are embracing. Businesses that don’t give customers the options to pay with digital currency could be missing out on sales. That includes in-store, online, and mobile purchases.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to accept payments through every type of digital wallet service out there. Ask your customers about their preferences and whether certain services would give them the flexibility they’re looking for. Observe their behaviors after you’ve implemented a new payment option. You don’t want to alienate potential clients who don’t use traditional banking services. Yet you do want to be strategic and recoup your costs.
Drone devices aren’t simply the high-tech version of flying a kite. While drones can be fun to play with, they’re also becoming an important tool for businesses in a range of industries. Many businesses are starting to experiment with drones as an efficient way to deliver products. Companies are also using drone technology to help capture videos and photos from hard-to-reach areas.
Instead of relying on fleet vehicles and drivers to navigate traffic, businesses are sending drones up in the air. These devices can carry packages and boxes containing everyday household products and even pizza. Drones are able to fly over congested roads and take faster routes to consumers’ homes. While drone delivery isn’t fully mainstream yet, it’s a cost-effective method that’s expected to gain traction.
When it comes to capturing the shots companies need for advertising, though, the use of drone tech is more prevalent. Marketing and ad agencies use drones to record images from heights that typically require a helicopter or small airplane. Examples include videos that pan over a landscape or show a worker climbing a cell tower. Drones make the process of capturing these images safer for employees and keep production costs under control.
Adopting business-related technology involves tough decisions when there are so many options out there. Selecting the latest devices and programs to hit the market can be exciting, but they don’t always prove useful. Sometimes basic and overlooked tools, such as employee benefit platforms and cloud-based document backup, can be just what your business needs.