It’s time to start a revolution!

4 tech hacks every business needs to know

Noriaki Noto
Noriaki NotoMarketing Director Japan
Experienced Marketing Director with a demonstrated history of working in the IT industry. I’m a strong marketing professional skilled in Advertising, Enterprise Software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Go-to-market Strategy, and Strategic Partnerships. Currently I’m head of marketing for Lenovo Japan.

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Can you avoid knowledge? You cannot! Can you avoid technology? You cannot! Things are going to go ahead in spite of ethics, in spite of your personal beliefs, in spite of everything.—Jose M. R. Delgado

Whether you are coming from an individual’s perspective or a business’ perspective, there is no way around adopting new technology. You can hold off for a while. Maybe a few months. Maybe even a few years. But eventually, the traditional method for anything is not only replaced but completely abandoned. This is especially true for any business. If it wants to keep customers and compete effectively against competitors, it must keep up with advancements. Unfortunately, many of these advancements are complex and difficult to learn and implement. Thankfully, though, there are a few technology hacks available:


1. Freemium

In past decades, software was pricey for businesses. They had to pay for a hard copy to be shipped to them. They had to pay for the software itself. They had to pay for the licensing. Typically, acquiring the right software was not a cheap process. Now, however, with the advent and spread of software as a service, or SaaS, businesses can easily get their hands on software that is being regularly improved and updated. And, in order to keep up with the competition, many SaaS companies have a free version of their software. It might be a limited-time free trial. It might be a free version of the software that only offers some of the software’s capabilities. It might be a free tier due to the business being under a certain size. Whatever it is and however long it lasts, businesses should jump on this opportunity.

The free model gives every business a chance to explore the software and see if it is right for them. Maybe it makes processes more efficient or effective. Maybe it does not. Maybe it is too confusing or glitchy to use. Maybe it is not. This test time is ideal for any free SaaS that has an expiration date. For freemium models that remain free for an unlimited amount of time, it is just a good deal. Either way, businesses can test it out with their processes and operations. If it works, great. If it does not work, it is easy and cheap to switch to another option.


2. Single Messaging Channel

One of the biggest productivity wasters is when a workforce is not using the same technology, especially when it comes to communication platforms. When it comes down to it, communication is vital to any business moving forward. The entire workforce must be on the same page, whether there are two employees or two thousand employees. If multiple communication platforms are being used, this not only creates confusion when certain employees need to communicate but are not on the same platform, but it also creates silos where employees who are on certain platforms refrain from effectively communicating with employees who are using a different one.

Two great business communication platforms are Skype and Slack. Both of these can be used both on mobile and desktop devices, as well as being available on different platforms and operating systems—a great deal for companies that utilise a bring your own device mentality. Whether the business decides to go with Skype, Slack, or another platform, the biggest deciding factors should be what most employees are comfortable with and which platform is the easiest to deploy.


3. Notifications And Alerts

Every business needs to stay up on the news about what is going on with their competitors, vendors, and customers. New information about any of these groups can heavily affect strategic business decisions and daily operations. Unfortunately, setting up multiple social media accounts to follow all of these individuals and organisations is far too time-consuming. There is just too much information for one person to sort through effectively—and still glean anything of value. A much more efficient method for collecting essential information is Google Alerts and social media activity emails.

With Google Alerts, users can set up Google to send them a notification any time a keyword that they have specified is mentioned in the news. This means you can be the first to hear about anything newsworthy that includes competitors and vendors. And when it comes to your customers, LinkedIn and Twitter have excellent daily emails that can be sent directly to you that update you on who and what you want to hear about. So instead of searching through endless newsfeeds, a business can find out what is important when it happens, while getting to skip over all the unnecessary time-consumers.


4. The Cloud

It may sound silly to rank using the cloud as a hack. It has been around for years and everyone knows about it. However, many businesses simply use the cloud to store their data in. They do not use it as a business tool. And it can be a great one.

One way the cloud can be used as a tool for business processes is by relying on it as a single file storage mechanism—meaning that all necessary documents get stored in it. But it is not just left as a storage place. The files that are current or key can also be synced with the on-premises machines, allowing the workforce to have access to them in case they are offline.

A second excellent way to use the cloud as a tool is by utilising it as a sharing device. Whether it is contractors, outsourced labour, vendors, or clients, the business can share files with them that are both password protected and have an expiry date. In other words, when the partnership is over, the file expires and the client, vendor, contractor, or outsourced labour no longer has access to it. And if a business really wants to get it right, they can automate all of these processes and train the workforce in them so that it becomes part of the company’s culture.


Tech In Asia

These tech hacks, without a doubt, will be the most useful in Asia. The reason for this is simple: Tech is booming in Asia. IT stocks in Asia are up by nearly 40% since last year and they are outperforming the broader market by 14%. And this is no bubble. No analyst is expecting it to pop. Tech is simply too integrated into everything we do now. It is not just a side industry that provides hardware and software. It is on every trip to the grocery store. It is in every car. It is most forms of communication.

And it is this integration of tech that is drumming up more and more excitement across Asia. In India, Nandan Nilekani, a tech billionaire, has launched The Fundamentum Partnership. This fund, which has an initial corpus of U.S. $100 million, is an effort to help startups during their growth stage. This type of faith in all of the tech companies that are going to pop up over the next few years is exactly why businesses in Asia need to be prepared to adopt technology on the fly. And the only way to do this, due to the unending list of technological advancements, is to find tech hacks that work and implement them.

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