Unsurprisingly, many companies are worrying about the ongoing effects of inflation on their business. And with SMEs employing over 16.3 million people in the UK and accounting for 99 per cent of all companies doing business, it is fair to say that their successes and failures are critical to the country’s economy. However, IT budgets are currently being stretched and teams are increasingly expected to meet greater business demands with fewer resources. Consolidation of tools is essential, but not at the risk of lost time, security, and efficiency.
In order to survive this economic turbulence, IT leaders need to make smart, cost-effective decisions that empower their teams to do more with less. Streamlining is the name of the game. Consolidating technology, automating workflows, and pooling resources can save companies time and money. However, taking the right approach is crucial to avoid losing the good with the bad.
Consolidation – the not-so-secret weapon to success
Consolidation among SMBs has become increasingly popular as decision makers start to acknowledge its many benefits. The main advantages being increased productivity, lower costs, and ease of management.
A recent report on IT Priorities sees 83% of businesses considering consolidation of communication and IT management and support tools an important initiative for 2023. Crucially, this consolidation helps to alleviate the burden on IT, a key goal for 92% of the report’s respondents. It can do this by providing greater oversight and control for less money whilst increasing employee productivity – a golden triangle of outcomes amid the current economic headwinds.
Consolidation of tools is even more valuable when IT teams are provided with a comprehensive view of operations. Unifying status updates, performance insights, and more information in a single dashboard to control and monitor processes can dramatically improve workflows and enable quick resolutions without overburdening IT teams.
Automation, not commiseration
For smaller businesses that do not have dedicated support staff to handle administrative, customer service, or other time-consuming tasks, automation can be the difference between growth or stagnation. Automating tedious tasks frees up time for teams to focus on projects that require detailed human attention and move the business forward, allowing companies to allocate resources more effectively. It can also serve as a morale boosting tactic, helping employees to tick more off their never-ending to-do list by giving them valuable time back to focus on more fulfilling tasks.
Furthermore, automating certain business practices helps to alleviate the stress put on individuals and avoid bottlenecks at the same time. Simplifying tasks and responsibilities means that teams aren’t left in limbo if colleagues are out sick or away from their desk – knowledge and workloads can easily be shared and managed without direct management.
For all these reasons, built-in automation features are considered absolutely critical when choosing new business solutions. Moreover, integrations with new generative AI technologies like ChatGPT are introducing even more valuable automation capabilities across applications like customer engagement, generating and running programming scripts, and more. AI chatbots can also aid in IT ticket deflection and resolution which would otherwise need to be opened and worked on by support staff. All of this means that AI tools are increasingly handling even complex tasks with minimal time and resources required from human team members.
The final piece of the puzzle is complete when companies can make the most of the resources already available to them. By eliminating the limitations of a traditional in-office mindset, businesses can combine resources by region and empower IT teams to offer support from anywhere, anytime. A company with multiple offices around the country can still effectively operate with one shared IT team to look after different regions. Additionally, implementing unified problem management processes across teams and employee locations can ensure faster resolution times when incidents do occur, and significantly reduce the potential for subsequent disruptions. Sharing resources and practices in this way can save significant costs, reduce downtimes, and improve efficiency. And with 50% of businesses still using hybrid workplace models, IT management needs to reflect this flexibility.
This is why features such as unattended access and multi-session handling are now considered essential. Remote access can not only minimise operational downtime and ensure continuity, but also save on travel expenses and office costs – allowing IT teams to support customers and colleagues from anywhere in the world. Additionally, when companies no longer need to worry about providing support in close physical proximity to their employees, this also means that companies can recruit and source the top talent for the job they need, regardless of their location.
In times of uncertainty, budgets are squeezed, and workloads are stretched to capacity. Ultimately, the keys to success during such times are streamlining technology and prioritising the people that make up a workforce. By looking for ways to consolidate their technology stack, automating menial tasks where possible, and pooling resources, companies can reinvest money into employees and customers instead. A definite upside all-in-all.