Technology forms the core of most business operations today, even when it’s not obvious to see. From digital tools that enable communication, to those that help organisations manufacture, sell and promote goods and services; technology is ever present in day-to-day business. These tools fall under the umbrella of business technology, and in order to best leverage it for your own business’s success, its important to understand what this really means, and the components that work together.
What is business technology?
Business technology is the overarching term for the application and integration of information technology within business operations. This goes beyond having an IT department – it’s the integration of technology within the business context. It includes:
- Management practices
- Organisational structure
- Technology governance
All designed to optimise the use of technology across your operation for competitive advantage.
The growth of business technology
Since information technology first started finding its place in business over 30 years ago, businesses have seen it evolve to have true value in streamlining, improving and enabling:
- Communication flows, both internally and externally
- Processes that enhance operations, rather than slow it down
- Systems that support processes, practices and people
- Continuous improvement and efficiency across all parts of the organisation
- Customer service, quality and compliance activities
- Knowledge management and intellectual property security
While IT departments were established to control the growing demand for integration of information technology in businesses, business technology has bloomed to the point where IT departments now must work actively alongside business functions to meet the demand for technology in all parts of an organisation, in order to deliver true business value and growth.
Integrating business technology within your organisation
An integrated approach to business technology starts with understanding the impact technology has on all touchpoints in your organisation. Strategy helps you define your management practices and organisational structure to support the use of technology to optimise your operation, and what infrastructure and tools you’ll deploy to best utilise it. It also outlines the steps you’ll take to govern and secure the use of technology and data, to get the most value from your expenditure.
Taking a strategic approach to business technology within your organisation will allow you to fully optimise, leverage and scale your technology to give your business the edge over its competitors and enable growth.
Examples of business technology
Computer and Mobile Devices
Since mainframes were replaced by PCs and Mac computers many years ago, computers have been the physical enablers of information technology consumption in every kind of business.
Whether you’re sending emails, creating proposals and presentations, analysing financial reports, entering key information into databases or researching the web: your computer provides you with access to the tools you need to manage your business.
Interesting though, in the last couple of years with the rise of more powerful and mobile options, desktop computers are no longer the mainstay. Laptops, tablets and smartphones have become the more popular hardware options in many businesses, and certainly for personal use.
Internet based phone systems
Standard phone technology was reliant on the Private Branch Exchange (PBX) for analogue voice calling over copper or optic fibre cables. IP PBX technologies, such as 3CX, utilise Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and have revolutionised communication, allowing audio, video and instant messaging which are now, for many businesses, the norm.
Software as a service
Software as a service (SaaS) has transformed how businesses use software. No longer are on-premise installations of software needed, and there’s no more time-consuming ongoing maintenance and upgrades that take significant internal resources to manage. Cloud based, subscription model software allows you to purchase the access you need, and scale up as your business grows.
Common SaaS solutions utilised by businesses include:
- Accounting and payroll solutions – MYOB
- Productivity tools – Office 365
- Customer relationship management systems – Salesforce, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Active Campaign
- IT help desk ticketing systems – Zendesk
- Collaboration tools – Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint
- Knowledge management and storage – OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive
- Project management – MS Project, Halo PSA, Asana
Sales and marketing
The sales and marketing functions have been transformed by technology, with digital tools enabling everything from online marketing to cashless payments and e-commerce stores (vs traditional brick and mortar store fronts). These days, business technology provides the world with access to what your organisation has to offer through websites, social media and communication channels that let your business communicate with customers in a wide variety of dynamic channels.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices that are interconnected via the internet using a range of technologies. These devices can be anything from shipping labels and speakers to cars and planes, and might include smart sensors, lightbulbs, security systems, and heavy industrial machinery. They are all items that communicate back to the internet and work with it collecting and monitoring data on behaviour, processes, and other conditions. Many IoT devices can take action to correct, improve, or otherwise use this data to facilitate some kind of change.
Optimising your business technology
Business technology is the all-encompassing term for the digital tools that allow businesses to apply, integrate and optimise the use of information technology for growth and competitive advantage. Taking a whole-of-business strategic approach allows your organisation to best integrate and leverage the technology tools available to it, and advice and support from professional information technology specialists will help you achieve the success, growth and competitive advantage your business is looking for. Here at SouthEast IT, we can help you get true value from your business technology, with a range of managed services, technology solutions and expert IT consultancy services available for businesses of all sizes. Call us today to find out more – we’re always here to help.