Many SMEs shy away from the latest available technologies because most of them are comfortable in doing business the conventional way; not keen on spending more money on software and tools, believing that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. After spending many years in this business, I learned that it wasn’t easy for customers to switch from one solution to another, let alone wanting to do it voluntarily. Most were reluctant to pick up on new things, holding on to the motto that familiar is always better, when more often than not, it proved otherwise. When FingerTec decided to change the bundled software from the ‘primitive’ FoxPro TCMS V2 to the more advanced TCMS V3, it was a struggle for us to persuade our customers to switch over. The process took us over a year and still, many hoped that the previous system remains. In fact, if SMEs are confident enough to deploy technological advancement in their daily processes, it would bring about a lot of advantages to their business operation for various obvious reasons.
I lived through the 90s and the early 2000s when telephone lines and facsimile were the two major communication tools in the office and companies spent a huge sum of money paying the bills. Communications with clients were limited to conversations over the phone or face-to-face meetings which proved to be even more costly if the distance between you and the potential customers is great because it adds other costs into the equation such as hotel expenses, meeting rooms, meals, and etc. Let’s face it, the recent technology does not only improves communication, it does so much to improve business’s operations for SMEs and more. Instead of being indifferent and having a nonchalant attitude towards technology, SMEs need to warm up to technology in order to carve a better future. How so? With so many readily available communication tools in the market, technology has changed communication in a big and inexpensive way possible. When in the 90s and early 2000s, the cost of one very short SMS was close to USD0.10, nowadays you can communicate for hours without having to take the cost into consideration. Physical presence is not required anymore when the team can be connected via the likes of WhatsApp, Skype, Quip; making it possible for businesses to be effective, and be able to break that barrier of conducting a ‘formal meeting’ because what’s more important for the SMEs is to get things done quickly and correctly, rather than the formality of things. Technology can also assist SMEs in keeping things organized, sharing resources and assigning responsibility in a more systematic way by deploying project management software for example or simply utilizing Google Drive for easy collaboration and sharing of resources in real-time and increasing productivity in a major way. On the other hand, deployment of Software as a Service, SaaS like TimeTec TA for Employee Attendance Management or TimeTec Leave for Employee Leave Management simplifies and makes an operation more effective. SaaS usually is designed to promote automation and by having these tools in the workplace, the operation cost can be reduced significantly thus saving more costly and important resources for the company. In terms of the workers, they can likewise be tasked with different and more difficult tasks which can’t be accomplished via automation. On top of that, automation provides more accurate results and contains audit trail for easy tracking of information whenever the business requires. In short, SaaS tools do not only reduce the overall operation costs, it also provides efficiency that many SMEs are in dire need of.
Advancement in security technology is another breakthrough that provides advantages to the workplace with the adoption of smart card and biometrics for access security. The biometrics technology only allows authorised personnel to enter restricted areas by having their credentials verified, and all the verifications come with accurate records that are kept in the system for the longest time. Apart from access control, biometrics has penetrated other areas as well as PC access, time clocking and many more. And when the transaction data can be stored in the cloud, the tampering of the data is not possible, providing businesses with comfort over its security issues.
Another good thing that technology brings is its customizing option. Let’s face it, not one commercialized solution is designed to fit any company like a glove, but with a little tweak here and there, companies can further exploit the technology to better serve their businesses. With the right cost and development time, customization option could benefit SMEs tremendously. The availability of technology presented to us in this time and age has enabled remote working, teleconferencing and co-working space which has completely reshaped the workplace. Everything is literally at the tip of your fingers with the availability of mobile and cloud technology. Who would have thought that now I could communicate with my client in India or Germany or Lebanon without having to spend a bomb on phone bills? On top of WhatsApp, occasionally we do ‘face-to-face’ Skype video conferencing as well as share resources online accessible across the world by our customers.
All in all, the impact of technology in the workplace is amazing and rewarding, and it changed the conventional way workplaces used to run. Businesses cannot shy away from or ignore technology, the leaders need to keep up and warm up to it in an efficient manner. Implementation of new technological solutions such as TimeTec and FingerTec biometrics can ensure optimal profitability and productivity at their workplace, hands down.