There is much talk of delayed productivity in Quebec. This problem should not be taken lightly, since, in the current context of globalization, it has become important for Quebec to increase its exports and efficiency in order to get ahead in the game. This is particularly true for small and medium-sized businesses, the engine of our economy.
One of the safest methods for improving organizational productivity is to utilize information technologies (IT) to optimize business processes. Now, due to the omnipresence of the Internet, technology is within everyone’s reach, and small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of this.
There are a number of ways to use IT, but let’s look at four advanced concepts which, in our era, are virtually indispensable.
By opting into a program of using personal devices for business (Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD), an organization allows its employees to use a mobile device to access company data at any time. Such a possibility provides enormous advantages in terms of productivity. Just think of all of the representatives or technicians who spend a lot of time outside the office. While traveling, these employees can still access the company information they need and update it in real time.
These operations are completely secure. Some solutions can establish a virtual private network from each device used. Small and medium-sized businesses can also use smart network platforms (in particular, the Cisco Unified Access platform, which make it easier to connect people, devices, and data, and thus facilitate the management of the BYOD program.
According to a study published last year, the wise worker spends 28 hours a week writing e-mails, searching for information, and interacting with their colleagues. In addition, 48% of workers around the world accomplish at least half of their weekly tasks remotely.
In the age of information and mobility, collaboration has become vital. Various tools – voice communication, web conferences, video, unified communications – allow workers to easily access expertise and essential information at any place and time. For example, the Cisco Jabber solution allows connection to the Presence platform, instant messaging, data, voice, voicemail, video, and screen sharing from any other device. Therefore, small and medium-sized businesses can not only save money on travel costs, but also improve their productivity, all while fostering the spirit of initiative and innovation.
IT consumption patterns are rapidly changing. In lieu of deploying IT solutions at its own locations, a small or medium-sized business can now do it in the cloud, which greatly streamlines its infrastructure. It has thus become possible to significantly reduce the costs of funding and managing IT, allowing more money to be spent on more essential company activities.
For a smaller organization that is struggling to allocate resources for IT operations, this concept is very attractive, perhaps even revolutionary. This is especially true since cloud computing solutions have developed comprehensive, tight security mechanisms. Small and medium-sized businesses can find affordable solutions on the market – such as Cisco Meraki – that simplify architecture and allow management of different elements – specifically wireless communication, switches, security and devices – through the cloud.
These companies are not mistaken; Cisco predicts that in 2017, nearly two thirds of workloads around the world will be carried out in the cloud.
According to Gartner, there will be over 268 billion mobile app downloads in 2017. To improve agility and productivity, reduce costs, and fulfill the wishes of the users, small and medium-sized businesses must be able to run applications quickly.
To this end, it is essential to have a virtualized, secure, and scalable infrastructure to optimize information assets. In this regard, there are architectural models based on experiences of other small businesses that can be used to run the necessary applications in an ideal environment – in the cloud, shared, on company property, etc. Cisco’s Flexpod Express solution includes reference models intended for small and medium-sized businesses.
The four elements that we just discussed are interconnected. They can assist small and medium-sized businesses in taking advantage of opportunities to increase their revenues and stimulate growth. These days, successful organizations have chosen to invest in advanced technologies. IT solutions are now affordable and appropriate for small and medium-sized businesses, and small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec have a strong interest in adhering to this model to remain competitive.