In today’s UK business climate, what are they key drivers for change and improvement?
Today UK businesses not only face competition from companies of the same size in their sectors, but companies of all sizes from all over the world. Thanks to the internet, competition is tougher than ever before. With this in mind, businesses of all types constantly have to find ways to better themselves, implementing changes and improvements in a bid to become industry leaders.
In this Grant McGregor guide we look at the driving forces behind change and improvement, let’s first examine the common business goals that the majority of UK businesses share.
Common Business Goals
Improving workforce productivity
All businesses seek to improve workforce productivity. The greater their output, the better chance they have of meeting their customers’ demands, increasing their competiveness and improving their profits.
Reducing operational costs
UK businesses are constantly striving to reduce their operational costs in order to improve efficiency and increase their revenue. With commercial rental prices soaring, many UK businesses are opting to change the way they work in order to keep their costs to a minimum.
Improving the effectiveness of sales and marketing
The more effective a business’s sales and marketing strategies are, the more money they will make. As we mentioned before, UK businesses not only have to compete with each other, but businesses all over the world, making effective sales and marketing operations essential.
Today there is increasing pressure on UK businesses to operate in a more environmentally friendly manner. Consumers are savvy; with many now wanting to know how green a company’s operations are before they are willing to give them their business. In order for UK businesses to remain competitive, there is an increasing need for them to reduce their carbon footprint.
IT – The Driving Force For Change and Improvement
In order to meet the goals outlined above, UK businesses are increasingly relying on their IT systems to drive change and improvement. In fact, many businesses would not be able to operate without their IT infrastructures.
It is certainly true that technology greatly assists businesses in improving workforce productivity. Computers, laptops and even mobile devices like digital tablets and smartphones allow employees to carry out their jobs far more quickly and efficiently than they would be able to without them. Thanks to IT they have all the information they need at their fingertips, as well as the means to communicate with others instantly.
IT can also help UK businesses to reduce their operational costs. Just about every process can now be automated, helping businesses to reduce admin and staffing costs. IT solutions like the cloud (something we will go on to discuss later) enables companies to outsource key operations to third parties, again helping them to keep their operational costs to a minimum, whilst benefiting from expert assistance.
Without IT, UK businesses would struggle to implement successful sales and marketing strategies. Today the majority of businesses are online, utilising everything from social media to search engine marketing to generate sales and ultimately profits. Without access to the internet, this would not be possible.
Whilst you may not think of technology being particularly green, it has helped businesses to reduce their carbon footprints. More and more UK businesses are now able to give employees the option to work remotely, thanks to IT. This not only reduces their emissions in car fuel (saved on journeys to and from the office) but also reduces the amount of energy they use too.
With IT and increased workforce mobility being the key drivers behind change and improvement for UK businesses, there is a great need for IT solutions to support them. Below we have outlined some of the key IT solutions used or sought by UK businesses today and how they benefit them.
Back-up & Disaster Recovery
Seeing as the majority of UK businesses now store their most important data on PCs, laptops and tablets, there is a great need for effective back-up and disaster recovery plans. If a disaster strikes a business and they do not have reliable back-ups of their data or an effective plan to help them manage the situation, they may find that they never fully recover.
Today there are a wide range of cloud back-up solutions and other recovery services available. Businesses can even outsource the management of their data back-ups and disaster recovery strategy testing to specialist IT companies. For more information about this, get in touch with Grant McGregor.
Virtualisation of Resources
Everything from your IT infrastructure to the software you use can now be delivered as a service. The virtualisation of resources like software and applications can significantly help businesses to reduce costs associated with software licensing, maintenance and upgrades. Instead of paying for the software, UK companies can now pay a small monthly fee to providers who deliver the software, with services like patching and upgrades included.
Thanks to the virtualisation of resources, UK businesses can now access IT resources much faster than ever before. They also have far more flexibility in the software they use and are therefore able to adapt to change easily.
It’s not just software than can be delivered as a service. Many UK businesses are now benefiting from using virtual desktops too. Virtual desktops require all files, software etc. to be stored on a provider’s servers so the desktop can be delivered to the end user via the internet. The great thing about virtual desktops is that they can be accessed from anywhere with a secure internet connection. They facilitate remote working and therefore help UK companies to reduce operational costs, increase productivity and operate in a more environmentally friendly manner.
An increasing number of UK businesses now rely on cloud-based storage or online back-ups as part of their disaster and recovery plans. Cloud storage allows businesses to keep copies of their important files and documents off-site and ensures they can access it from anywhere via the internet, should a disaster strike their work place.
As well as storage via the cloud, many businesses can benefit from cloud-delivered IT security management. Today IT companies are able to access and manage their clients’ systems remotely, performing a wide range of tasks including patch management, email filtering and security and 24/7 monitoring. With businesses relying more on IT than ever before, these services are essential to keeping their systems healthy and free from things like viruses and malware, which could be detrimental to their operations.
Using cloud services also prevents small and medium sized businesses from having to hire more in-house IT experts, helping them to keep their operational costs to a minimum. For larger businesses, cloud services free up internal IT staff to perform other core business tasks, such as developing new solutions and services, allowing them to increase productivity output.
Managing Mobile Devices
Mobile working is on the rise, making it essential for all businesses to implement software and strategies to manage mobile devices such as digital tablets and smartphones. Not only do they need to ensure that their staff have access to the IT system via their mobile devices (using software like Microsoft Exchange Server), but also that their devices are secure and capable of keeping data safe using anti-virus software like VIPRE.
The solutions and services outlined above are playing increasingly important roles in today’s UK business climate and are the key drivers for change and improvement. If you are interested in discussing any of them further or for help finding the best IT solutions for your business, feel free to contact Grant McGregor on 0131 603 7910.