The pandemic changed everything about our daily lives, one of the unexpected consequences of it was a deeper convergence of business and technology. 

Many companies scrambled to get employees working remotely and update their current IT infrastructure. The businesses whose systems were highly outdated had the hardest time with this change. 

The days of manually emailing quotes and updating Excel trackers are over, to remain competitive, small businesses should implement more automated systems. Many service industry businesses updated their websites to offer online ordering and delivery. Other industries had to integrate video consultations and remote technical support options. If they are willing to make these changes to keep revenue flowing, why not consider implementing software to optimize the business like an ERP or CRM?

Invest in the Customers

Every business should know that maintaining relationships with customers is a key part of success. If your business has multiple sales people and doesnt have a customer reslationship manager (CRM) software implemented, there are many advantages you are missing out on.

While Outlook contacts may get the job done to store a sales person’s leads/relationships, it doesn’t give a full view. A CRM can give valuable insights into the relationships with your customers that you would never think of.  Every sales person has their own way of doing things but when it comes to recording data, there needs to be some ground rules which a CRM sets. 

With remote work becoming normalized, there will likey be more interactions with customers that are done remotley after the pandemic is over. To compensate for the lack of in-person engagement with the customer, it is important to make sure everything about the relationship is recorded. Many businesses closed down forever due to the pandemic, the ones that will replace them will have a high focus on technology. These newer businesses could undermine their competitor’s partnerships if the newer business has a CRM implemented and their competitor does not. 

Optimize Operations

Another type of software that the most competitive small businesses use is an enterprise resource planning system (ERP). Just like CRM software, if your company is using excel spreadsheets/paper for recording finance and inventory, it’s time to consider an ERP.

ERPs put the operations of your business all into one program, it combines finance, inventory, marketing, and much more. Combining all of the data from each department gives you unique insights about the health and productivity of the business. The old way of doing things may keep the business afloat but it is likely putting uneccesary stress on employees and profit opportunities are being missed. 

The pandemic forced many retail companies to start selling online if they weren’t already. Ordering and shipping adds a different dynamic to the business rather than just strictly in-person sales. Going forward customers will expect online ordering and delivery options from retail. Implementing an ERP with a CRM is highly advantageous for this type of business, this allows you to keep track of orders, inventory, finance, and maintain the customer relationships. 

Strengthen Cybersecurity 

One of the biggest lessons we have already learned in 2021 is the importance of updated and continuously tested cybersecurity. The colonial pipeline attack that caused gasoline shortages for thousands and the government data breach in 2020 forced us to face a grim reality; the hackers are winning. 

Black-hat hackers were quite happy with seeing companies go into a mad dash updating their IT infrastructure and systems. Things done in a rush often times aren’t done correctly, which leads to holes in the network for hackers to enter.

If your company has data, an investment into cybersecurity is an insurance policy for it. When a business gets caught in a ransomware attack like the colonial pipeline, the monetary costs are tremendous, as well as the loss of customer trust. It is best to have routine network penetration tests done by independent parties to ensure maximum security.

If you’re a small or medium sized business, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has ERP capabilities worth exploring. With just a few clicks, you can access real-time insights into the status of your project as well as its level of profitability and resource utilization. If you are interested in adopting a CRM system we offer Salesforce Essentials, an affordable and powerful tool for small to mid-sized businesses.

Contact us today for a free consultation! 

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