How startups can use smart tech to scale
As companies embark on the journey from startups to fully-fledged organizations, scaling business efficiently and sustainably can result in higher profit margins, a better-skilled workforce, and more contented customers.
When operating with razor-thin profit margins, this approach to growth can be pivotal to a company’s early success and, in most cases, careful and selective use of technology plays a big part in realizing it.
For teams to be on board with the adoption of digital solutions, understanding the big picture and why certain tools can play a crucial part is key— and that relies on open collaboration between department heads and IT personnel to ensure technology works in tandem with the organization’s plotted trajectory.
Below we discuss four ways emerging technologies can be wrapped into your startup’s growth strategy.
Machine learning and automation
Machine learning solutions are being used to reduce the need for employees to do monotonous admin-based work, as software and automation can execute these tasks in a speedier, and often much more meticulous, fashion.
Rather than getting bogged down in scheduling tasks, for example, startups can subscribe to email-based ‘assistants’, who— given access to the company calendar, along with information such as location— can sit on CC and book in meetings or set reminders on command. More complex tools can work with historical performance data, automating key design decisions based on the parameters that have been set in project-based work.
Ultimately, while subscriptions to these kinds of services will add up, return on investment comes in time and resources freed up from menial work. Monotonous tasks such as manufacturing assembly, purchasing and billing can be handled by software and automation. Employees can instead focus on adding value and creativity— the real recipes for startup success.
Human resources and technology
In fast-growing companies, software that allows the human resources team to create a more fluid on-boarding process can lead to new team members completing tasks like paperwork and introductions even before they show up for work.
These technological solutions are a gateway into providing new team members an in-depth look into the company’s culture, communicate agendas and even provide objectives for them. Apps are now available that can automatically add employees to Gmail lists, Slack channels and other applications while connecting with HR systems.
The HR function of a business will have a top-down view of a company’s staff structure and workflow, meaning they are in the position to be technological ‘change-makers’. “The function can compare the cost of a human with the price of, say, a robot with all the ancillary training of both employees still employed […] – not to mention the costs of displacing human effort,” says the Institute of Employment Studies, Peter Reilly.
Maintaining client relationships
As companies grow, it’s only natural for customers to feel like they are not getting the care and attention that they use to have. Client-relationship management (CRM) tools can help keep a record of conversations and business development activities as well.
Tools like this ensure close and consistent communication which aligns goals and expectations between parties, thereby fostering connections and enhancing accountability in terms of managing client communications from one designated center.
According to Nucleus Research, having immediate access to consumer data can shorten sales cycles by up to 14 percent. So, offering accessible, real-time data on customers and leads can help startups improve their customer service and refine marketing and sales strategies.
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Chatbots to the rescue
When a company’s customer base starts to rapidly increases, chatbots can be an efficient solution to meeting customer inquiries around the clock. Equipped to answer your company’s most common FAQs, chatbots are capable of figuring out instances where customers may need to communicate with your limited pool of human customer service (or sales) representatives.
Additionally, advanced chatbots also create an immersive retail experience, and are particularly powerful on mobile devices. Some startups have even built their businesses around the technology, such as Messenger-integrated banking or budgeting apps.
According to Gartner, 21 percent of enterprises plan to install some type of conversational interface in the medium to the long term. CEO of startup Digital Genius, Mikhail Naumov, told Forbes that every company in the world will have some form of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning embedded in their contact center in the next couple of years.
If businesses can bring together strategic planning with the tactical use of smart technologies, there will be long-term performance gains and scale achieved as a result.