It wouldn't be wrong to say that small businesses form the backbone of the Indian economy. Consider this - according to the World Bank, small businesses account for about 80% of total industrial enterprises (as of 2017). Another research (by toppr.com) shows that 65-75% of innovations in India come from this segment. This is significant given that small businesses are typically laden with a number of business constraints including financial, managerial, marketing and also when it comes to procuring raw materials.
Each of the above constraints are better managed when decision making on the move is enabled and technology is leveraged. There are two reasons for this:
1) Small business owners often end up wearing multiple hats what with their financial and managerial constraints. It is not uncommon to see them fulfilling the role of a Marketing Head and Business Head all rolled into one. This being the case, technology driven decision making comes to the fore as the key in helping small businesses stay agile and responsive. This leads us to our next point.
2) Technology plays a central role in tying different functions together and presenting a single, coherent picture of where things stand within a business. With technology, one is also relying on more than just intuition. Decisions are data driven and, therefore, more precise.Above all, technology is constantly shaping the modern workforce.
There is a popular saying that goes, "The data and the decision-maker must work together to produce groundbreaking innovations and business insights."
We take a look at what goes into making a business responsive, innovation driven and proactive when it comes to addressing and solving business issues. If you are a small business owner, we have two simple mantras of success for you to draw from.
Mantra 1: stay connected on the move
As a small business owner, you would know that mobility has become the new normal. As a business leader, you naturally expect easy, secure access to the information you need, as and when you need it, wherever you need it, and on any device of your choice. So how can you bridge the gap and stay connected on the move?
A mobile/BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) solutions strategy focused on mobilizing two things - people and data - is the answer. Companies are working towards integrating solutions across devices and applications to give employees the best tools for their job while enabling data to move in a secure, managed and reliable way. Uninterrupted internet connectivity is the other pre-requisite in boosting overall productivity.
Superior security, versatility and the right supporting hardware empower you to work the way you intend to and let you maintain productivity irrespective of where you are.
Mantra 2: Apply a two pronged strategy for speed and precision
i. Create a reliable Decision Support System
The concept of a Decision Support System is not new. In simple terms, intelligence systems built around smart technologies and business applications like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Business Intelligence (BI) etc. form the core of an organization's DSS strategy. DSS systems work primarily by compiling raw business data to help organizations foresee problems that a human alone cannot predict or provide for.
Over the last decade, large organisations have successfully been able to create the right infrastructure and environment for their Decision Support Systems (DSS) to work with. There is no reason, you can't adopt the possibilities of accessing such niche tools and technologies for your business. The rapid advancement and innovations in hardware and enterprise wide applications together with widening connectivity channels, have opened up possibilities for small business owners.
Cloud systems are one such application. A Cloud environment allows the use of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than having local server(s). So, you as a user only need a basic computer and a sturdy internet connection to start accessing multiple business applications from the cloud (with some being freeware and based on open sources).
ii. Leverage self-servicing solutions and tools
Gartner, Inc., the world's leading research and advisory company has rightly predicted that in the coming years, most business users will have access to mobile self-service tools to help them prepare data for analysis and powerful decision making.
In the same vein, hardware/tools are now being built to process the vast amounts of data available. These tools support decision-makers in analysing, presenting, and, in some cases, responding to events as they happen by showing a truer picture of the business variables at play.
Many product development companies like Dell are tirelessly working to bring in more mobile/self-servicing devices and solutions that could bridge the gap between possibility and reality. The endeavour is to target the small business segment and work towards providing integrated solutions across multiple devices, applications, data and network.
The primary objective is to match the best mobility strategy to unique IT requirements, business goals and user group needs to create self-servicing tools and solutions that could help small business owners overcome any barriers to mobility for the evolving workforce of today.
Anytime, Anywhere Access to business information/data is bound to improve the productivity of a user and organisation as a whole. With this approach, mobility can become an engine for growth which empowers you in decision-making and aids you in ensuring optimal business performance. Business leaders who tend to be predominantly on the move, can be greatly benefitted by the usage of such hardware (mobile devices and tools) which would keep them 100% linked to back office/inhouse computers for updated information or, in fact, taking any business call without compromising efficiency.
Taking the cue, Dell has come up with series of computing devices based on 'Go-Anywhere Productivity'. These include very sleek and powerful laptops, purpose-built tablets, notebooks and powerful fixed workstations under the range of Vostro, Lati and Precision. The said series comprises of sturdy hardware which can withstand the harshest environments while maintaining the highest level of security, performance, and ease-of-use.
Here's what you stand to gain by implementing the mantras for success:
Managing and accessing critical business applications, data, preferably through mobile devices and tools can support your business in the longer run. The advantages are :
1. Faster delivery of services with a better delivery on customer expectations
2. Employees who are more flexible, efficient and responsive in their routine jobs
3. Enabling IT control and innovation by providing comprehensive solutions to decision makers
4. Mobility with full access to business applications and databases that helps eliminate unnecessary delays and reduces administrative costs
To sum up, as a small business owner, you can always work around your constraints smartly. What will help you achieve exponential success is finding the right combination of devices, tools and applications that would enable faster and more effective decision making. Nowadays, there are many options available to help you right from investing in multi-dimensional computing devices to storing or processing business data on the cloud.
Also better coordination between man and machine can result in getting actionable business intelligence, speedy answers to problem statements, the power of taking decisions in real-time, and in creating exceptional visualisations and easy data integration for story telling - that too ON THE GO.
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