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Practical Tech Upgrades for Your Small Business in 2014

TMCnet Feature

January 23, 2014

Practical Tech Upgrades for Your Small Business in 2014

By Drew Hendricks

2014 is here, which means it’s time to take a look at your business and make sure it’s up to date with current time and money-saving innovations. One of the most popular changes for small businesses is the adoption of new tech, or tech upgrades that improve and simplify business workflow. If you’re hoping to find one of those cost-saving tech ideas, there's good news; 2014 will be filled with them. Here are several key solutions to look for.

Mobile Logistics Adoption

Are you keeping up with mobile device-usage trends? 2014 is the year for small businesses to stop dipping their toes in the mobile pool and start taking action. This doesn't mean checking your phone for emails or swapping documents wirelessly – it means adopting mobile programs that actually have a direct impact on logistics.

For example, the iPad has enabled interactive menus and mobile payment options for restaurants. Mobile invoices allow for real-time, on-the-spot invoicing, inventory control, and ordering decisions. Mobile workflow allows managers to pass on specific tasks and accomplish projects more quickly.

BYOD Policies

BYOD, or ‘Bring Your Own Device,’ was a strong trend in 2013 that influenced nearly half of small businesses in the U.S. If you haven’t yet implemented a BYOD strategy, or if you allow BYOD but it hasn’t turned out the way you’d hoped, 2014 is the year to take action.

BYOD allows employees to happily use their own mobile devices and laptop devices for work, which can be a win-win scenario if handled correctly. However, you need a robust security policy that limits app use (such as Facebook (News - Alert)) and imposes certain levels of control over those mobile devices. For a better idea of what BYOD solutions you can use at the workplace, see this article.

Remote Work Setups

Some companies have resisted the rising trend of remote working (looking at you, Yahoo!), but others have adopted the strategy, which has helped solve scheduling issues, increased globalization, and  helped achieve productivity goals.

Thanks to the growing number of remote desktop apps and solutions, along with the ease of communicating through web interfaces like messaging, social media and web conferencing, there are few barriers remaining to remote work setups. Remote work allows companies to work around employees’ personal lives, complete projects faster, and accomplish a wider variety of on-demand tasks, all while increasing employee morale.

Content Management Systems

Content management systems are designed to help companies manage the content they create and where it goes. At first, these were made for larger corporations that published a vast amount of content across different channels because of their industry or marketing efforts. Now, social data vendors are busy creating content management applications that can be used easily and affordably by small companies with light content loads, too. Use these applications to schedule your social media posts, and create better content. Even if it is something simple like using Storify or scheduling your Facebook posts, it is time to start adopting new content management.

Any Vendor Applications

Social data is actually just one piece of the vast array of new vendor applications now available through the Web. 2014 is the year to examine your operations and compare them to the number of services available through vendor applications, on demand. IT, for example, is growing into a diverse and customizable field that allows you to pick a specific solution for a single task without creating an entire department. Vendor outsourcing is easier than ever, and the amount and variety of vendor solutions is larger than ever. I’ve found Tech Page One, Dell’s tech news blog, to be an excellent source of news and information about new vendors and SaaS (News - Alert) applications.

Better Cloud Solutions

Using the cloud is unavoidable in today's tech world. But 2014 is the year of better, more secure cloud solutions for even more activities and processes. So if you’re not yet onboard with the cloud, look into options for cloud-based phone management, cloud-based data management, and cloud-based server management to make your life and your employee tasks much easier.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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