Transform your business the right way
Saving time, money or space only really matters if you do something constructive with those savings.
It’s no secret that choosing the right technology for your business can save it time and money. Whether you’re replacing a fleet of old printers with a smaller number of new LaserJet and PageWide models, embracing cloud computing or consolidating servers, the biggest drivers tend to be lower costs, reduced TCO, more efficient workflows and a desire to reduce the work of administration. The savings in terms of office space, energy, running costs and cooling can be considerable.
On their own, each one of these drivers means good things for your bottom line, but to make them really work for you takes a little more thought. Take these savings and efficiencies, target them wisely, and you have the power to transform your business. But where should you look, and what should you think about doing?
Needless to say there’s no single answer, but we do have some ideas to guide your thoughts. Think about your business, where it is and where it could be, and you could top one smart decision with another.
Think about your goals and strategy
If you’re serious about transforming your business, then you need to think just as seriously about your goals and strategy. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What will it take to get there? Start thinking about how you can use the cost-savings or efficiencies brought in by your change of IT strategy to do other things that might enhance your business as a whole.
Are there areas where a small investment might bring short-term benefits or long-term rewards? Could the space saved in reducing your printer fleet or server estate be put to better use? If you understand your overall goals and strategy, these questions become much easier to answer.
Invest in your success
If you have more space and operating expense to work with, how can you use it to add value to the business? If you’re, say, a firm of architects or consultants, could hiring in more knowledge workers have an immediate benefit on turnover? Could new software or equipment enable you to offer more services or take on more business? Could an investment in business intelligence help you find new customers or make the most of an existing market? Could a new document management system or 3D printer help you work faster or smarter?
Investment in personalised marketing, social marketing and mobile engagement could all help you find new business or retain existing customers. If you’ve just saved time, space and money, it makes sense to spend it on the resources that are most likely to drive revenue; you can kickstart a virtuous cycle that keeps your business moving upwards.
Ask the team
While employee priorities might not always match those of the company, it could be worth brainstorming with your teams to see if they have any good ideas. They may be aware of customer needs that you’re not answering, issues that affect productivity or opportunities you’re missing out on, all of which might be addressed by reallocating the resources and money you’ve just saved. The company’s leaders have to make the final decision, but it’s a poor general that never listens to the troops on the ground.
Make use of the time you’ve saved
So many new products or services save us time, but that just makes it all the more important to use that time wisely. If your IT teams are spending less time managing your printers or handling your infrastructure, it makes sense to think about other projects that might address your core business needs.
If your sales teams are spending less time waiting for marketing materials, could the extra be used productively to generate new leads or find out what existing customers are looking for? Don’t let this time saving disappear into the ether; make every saved minute count.
Revamp your IT strategy
Transforming one part of your IT strategy can be the catalyst for a wider transformation. Can the savings you’re making on your printers or IT systems inspire further savings elsewhere? Could the one change free you from other dependencies that it’s time to lose? Is it time to trim your in-house IT and bring in Cloud-based software and services? Could hosted infrastructure or smaller, faster servers help you do more while using and costing less? Don’t let your drive for innovation stop here – think about the technology that could help you do even more.
Take a more flexible approach
In fact, you can take this idea further, applying disruptive thinking to the whole way the business operates. If you’ve just saved time, space and money with your printers, couldn’t you look at other ways to function more efficiently? It could be time to look at business mobility or more flexible working practices, giving your teams the equipment and support they need to work from home or on the road. This in turn could drive improved productivity and reduce operating costs.
What’s more, it could empower a more agile approach. Could you use the resources saved to build more freedom to innovate or more responsiveness into the business? Could you enable a team to bring some start-up spirit into the organisation? Nobody wants to save money just to risk and lose it, but sometimes playing it too safe is the biggest risk of all.
Splash out on your team
No, we don’t mean lavish corporate junkets or bonuses all round, but investing what you’ve saved in your staff. In some cases that means using the space and money saved on new hires to drive revenue. In others, it might mean spending money on equipment or training that will help your existing team do more. Either way, investing in the workforce can bring tangible long-term rewards.
Improve your workflows
You’ve made one part of your business more efficient – could you apply the same treatment to others? Are there old-school, part-analogue workflows that you could replace with streamlined digital workflows? Could reducing your reliance on paper help you save more time, cut further costs or free up office space? With secure scanning to the cloud built into modern MFP devices, those rooms stuffed full of document boxes could be user for something far more productive!
Do it the right way
By now you might have a dozen good ideas as to how the money, time and space you’ve saved might be used for better things. Just don’t forget that the ideas and the vision are just the first step in the process, and that it’s in the execution and ongoing support that you make them work and pay.
Be realistic about schedules, costs and any initial impact on productivity, and about the challenges any transformation creates both for your company and your staff. Be prepared to meet these with new structures, training and rewards. Get ready to demonstrate how these changes will enhance your business and help your teams in their work.
Yet while business transformation always takes leadership, that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Work with the right technology partners and you can benefit from their expertise, too.