The tech powering digital businesses in 2021

team in the office wearing masks

Written by Victor G. Snyder, Consultant at BossMakers

COVID-19 forced the pace of digital transformation, requiring enterprises to move beyond websites, to reorient entire organizations around digital processes and digital services. 

The need for deeper digital transformation is urgent. Only 27% of CEOs are confident that revenue will grow in the next 12 months, while consumer growth has plummeted. What’s more, 36% expect to cut their spending over the next 12 months, up from 19% who gave the same response before the pandemic. 

For the foreseeable future, digital is the way forward. Surging demand for digital interactions originated from a desire to reduce personal contact and infection risks, as the shift to WFH necessitated new digital solutions to manage the remote workforce. But 2020’s jump to digital isn’t temporary. 

There’s no going back to the “old normal,” so businesses must acquire the technology needed to support increasingly smooth digital business processes. Fortunately, there’s a number of options available. 

 

Tech to streamline customer support

Customer demands have risen. Today’s buyers expect fast, personalized responses, with 51% seeking a response in under five minutes on the phone and 28% seeking the same on live chat. 

Today’s digital businesses are also likely to serve customers in multiple time zones, requiring “follow the sun” support that’s available in real time wherever customers are based. 

Chatbots are one solution that can provide fast, 24/7 responses while also integrating with other helpdesk and customer support systems. They also allow human employees to pick up seamlessly where chatbots leave off, without requiring customers to repeat the information they’ve shared along the way. 

 

Digital payroll for a blended workforce

Workforces have become more complex in multiple ways. The move to remote work opened up a global talent pool, as enterprises aren’t restricted to local employees. This new permanent trend towards a cross-border workforce means coping with differing employee statuses, benefits and compensation regulations and tax requirements for multiple countries. 

At the same time, the employment basis of workers has become more varied, including not just full-time and part-time employees but also contract workers and job-sharers. The demand for gig workers is expected to rise from 77% to 94% for support services, and 63% to 94% for corporate staff, in the near future.

Enterprises are now eager to find automated payroll management solutions that can handle such a complex workforce while easily adapting policies for paid sick leave and overtime to meet unusual circumstances like a global pandemic. Advanced solutions also handle compensation and benefits for remote workers who set their own hours, while integrating with time tracking software to make the entire process more efficient and transparent. 

Transparency is especially important in remote work situations that raise the risk of misunderstandings between employees and HR over hours and compensation formulas. 

 

Self-service data analytics

Data powers every part of a digital business as well as underpinning new and better digital products for consumers, such as self-serve portals and online applications. 

Data analysis is an organization-wide concern that spans finance, marketing, product, sales, and more, so that everyone can access reliable data insights for better decision making, demand forecasting, and strategizing. 

Today’s cloud-based data analysis platforms work to break down data silos and offer versatile data visualizations that enable both a high-level overview and the ability to drill down to a granular level. 

 

Easy and secure digital file management

It’s no longer possible to assume that all your employees will share the same physical location, let alone the clients, partners, and other third parties you may need to deal with. Physical filing has long been outdated, but cloud file management still hasn’t reached full adoption – at least not in a standardized manner. 

Cloud-based file management makes all your files available everywhere and at any time, so you can easily share them with external bodies without compromising security. It improves employee productivity, because they don’t have to disrupt their concentration to request project resources from a colleague. 

Digital file management with advanced keyword search and tagging also raises employee engagement by removing frustration at having to spend ages hunting for data that’s been mis-filed. 

 

Frictionless internal communication

Digital businesses need to replace physical nearness with digital connections. The biggest challenge currently cited by remote workers is handling collaboration and communication from afar. 

You need to keep all your conversations in one place to ensure that everyone is on the same page about your business goals and improve a sense of unity, even when physical distances are involved. 

Communication and collaboration platforms support features such as secure messaging, which helps draw a line between business and pleasure conversations and protect your business assets. But the Harvard Business Review champions the rise of “mixed reality” apps, like virtual workspaces, virtual whiteboards, and virtual sticky notes, that go far beyond Slack or Zoom to help bring remote workers together into a virtual office. 

 

The right tech solutions underpin digital growth 

For businesses in 2021, going digital is non-negotiable. The only question is how to find the best types of tech to support your digital needs. With the help of tech solutions for customer support, payroll management, file management, internal communication, and data analysis, your business can support employees, enhance workflows, and delight customers to drive success in 2021 and beyond.

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