Computers, the internet, robots and artificial intelligence (AI): these are some of the first things that come to mind when we talk about the technology businesses use. There’s no doubt that they can improve the operations of trade and commerce; they create notable advantages. However, even the most advanced technology products are far from perfect. They often have drawbacks or present challenges before they can deliver benefits. What do global businesses gain from adopting technology?
For a company like ours that supports telecommuting, reliable and faster communication systems are essential. Likewise, when talks about new technology began in our industry, employees’ fear that they would be replaced by computers was palpable. Of course, once they understood the tech tools, their fear turned into acceptance. Without any delay, here’s a list of the most important benefits I believe global companies can derive from technology based on my experience using and implementing it. There may not be anything surprising on this list, but it’s worth emphasizing how important these advantages can be for businesses that operate on a worldwide scale.
1. Faster and more reliable communication: For businesses that operate internationally, reliable communication is a must. If telephone lines are not available, you should have readily usable alternatives such as VoIP or live chat. Thanks to the fact that companies have developed numerous methods of communication, global businesses can be sure that their operations will not be easily disrupted. Fast internet connections make it possible to transmit various forms of information across vast distances in seconds. Faster and more reliable communication is also an important factor that enables telecommuting, a work setup that I’ve found offers its own set of advantages — particularly the potential for lower human resources costs and access to high-quality talent in places that are far from the physical address of a business.
2. Enhanced efficiency and productivity: Technology ushers in efficiency and productivity in many ways. Multinational companies can employ accounting, billing, payroll, asset management and other business software to manage their operations more effectively. On the other hand, technology can help companies automate repetitive tasks that don’t require sophisticated decision-making. This can result in greater productivity and efficiency.
3. Cost reduction and profit boost: I’ve found that increased efficiency and productivity from technology can result in a decrease in operating costs (and a corresponding increase in profits). Using technology has also helped me avoid opportunity costs, as systems backed by modern tech may be less prone to breaking down or succumbing to avoidable issues.
Also, using advanced communication technologies makes it unnecessary to constantly travel for meetings and supervisory work, as you can carry out these tasks through live video chat and collaboration platforms. This does not mean you should totally eliminate personal meetings and workplace inspections, but rather that you can reduce the need to be physically present in one location to work with other employees. Cost reduction is also a benefit I’ve seen from the teleworking setup, which is powered by modern technology.
4. Greater transparency and interconnected operations: It’s not easy managing businesses with complex bureaucratic processes and countless types of transactions. However, with the help of advanced business software, you can seamlessly integrate all business processes, even those in locations where you need to use different languages or currencies. When it comes to sharing and processing business data, you can automatically gather, process, and present everything in a form everyone can use.
You can also make accounting, marketing, sales, and other activities of a global business more easily accessible with the right tools. It’s even possible to use multiple types of business software from different developers, as most software nowadays supports integration with third-party software or comes with application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to find ways to integrate other software.
5. Improved security: New technologies such as blockchain can allow businesses to implement better ways to secure business transactions without compromising transparency and creating delaying layers of bureaucracy and security measures. Blockchain could be used to secure financial transactions and the files companies collaborate on, for example.
What are the major challenges of using technology for business?
As I mentioned, the advantages don’t come without hurdles. There are challenges businesses need to deal with, primarily the employees’ resistance to change, lack or inadequacy of training, and choosing the wrong technology.
1. Resistance to change: Some employees simply don’t want to move beyond what they have been accustomed to. They could have a case of technophobia or a fear of trying new things. Either way, it’s something businesses need to address. It may be necessary to conduct demonstrations or seminars to show how technology can greatly benefit business operations and more importantly, how it can make jobs easier. Others may have a fear that technology will take over jobs from humans. Employers can allay such fears by supporting professional development and showing employees that new job opportunities arise as some of the jobs are automated or taken over by artificial intelligence and robots.
2. Lack of or inadequate training: Don’t expect employees to immediately know what to do with the new technology you provide them. To make the most of a tech investment, it’s important to allocate some resources and time for the corresponding training. Some employees may dislike a new system at first but begin to like it after they get properly acquainted with its proper use and the palpable benefits.
3. Wrong choice of technology: This is a mistake on the management’s part. If you pick an inappropriate software solution, platform, or piece of equipment, employees may develop an unfavorable perception of these technological augmentations or the adoption of tech-powered systems in general. It’s important to conduct thorough studies first before deciding on a technology to adopt. Aside from the fact that the wrong technology choice can essentially become a loss or unnecessary expenditure, spending money on the wrong tech choice can also drag down your employees’ efficiency and productivity.
In my experience, going global inevitably means having to rely on technology. Businesses that refuse to do so may be bound for failure. It’s just important to be well acquainted with the benefits and the challenges that come along the way.