optimisation and collaboration

The ingredients of businesses that outperform

by Angus Jones

As macroeconomic pressures continue, even the largest businesses are bearing the brunt. However, small businesses are disproportionately affected because they lack the resources and financial reservoirs of their larger counterparts. In fact, small businesses are entering administration at far higher rates than bigger businesses.

Against this background, it may be easy for Australia’s 2.5 million small businesses to splash out on costly new products and services or even use high-risk strategies to survive. Yet, two of the most cost- and time-effective ways of driving incremental revenue and growth opportunities in the new fiscal year are actually the most straightforward: optimisation and collaboration.

For the many small companies with remote workers, optimisation and collaboration helps them work as efficiently as possible while preserving a flexible and asynchronous workplace. This means businesses no longer need to worry about the impact of varying time zones and working hours on their operations because they have laid the groundwork for connected teams.

Keeping processes simple but efficient with optimisation

For small businesses with limited resources, optimising operations is key to growth. This means cutting back on unproductive or duplicate tasks and finding better processes. The first step is for a business to articulate goals clearly, like higher basket numbers or a stronger supply chain. Then obstacles are identified and a roadmap with action items is created, including technology implementations.

For instance, an online retailer might set up dynamic optimisation of their inventory to prevent overstocking or understocking, both of which result in lost earnings. The power of technology and data can help them measure sell-through rates to track potential issues like poor sales, bad forecasting or mismatched products. Doing this enables businesses to build more efficient supply chains and improve customer experience, which are both crucial for small retailers.

Brick-and-mortar retailers face many of the same challenges as their online counterparts. For offline sellers, optimising their operations might look like installing mobile point-of-sale technology to make checkout faster. This not only reduces the length of queues, but also frees up time for team members to engage with shoppers. A streamlined, optimised point-of-sale system not only enhances the customer experience, but also builds loyalty.

Removing roadblocks to success through collaboration

Four years after the pandemic started, businesses of all sizes are still working on remote or hybrid models. This flexibility attracts talent, but it also creates challenges, especially for small businesses under pressure to optimise their operations. It’s not an either/or scenario, however, just one that underscores the importance of collaboration.

Strong collaboration not only leads to better business outcomes, but also boosts employee morale. The right technology is essential to execution. One of the most important things is to ensure that tools are not siloed. When multiple pieces of software are siloed, that means it is difficult, if not impossible, to share information between them.

In an ideal scenario, collaboration tools are integrated and work on platform-layer services like AI, unified search and process automation. A business’ project management software, messaging platform and note-taking app should all be able to “talk” to one another to minimise friction. This reduces the time spent on managing collaborative tasks and increases productivity.

Unfortunately, that is often not the case, and many businesses say they face difficulties with their current software. To address these issues, Zoho has announced major enhancements to our four core collaboration tools, which can optimise even the smallest of businesses. These include new AI capabilities to perform contextual information extraction and other tasks, and Blueprint, our powerful visual workflow automation technology.

Ultimately, taking the fullest advantage of collaboration tools results in seamless, optimised workflows no matter where team members are located or what times they work. This results in businesses that are more productive and efficient, and better set for strong financial performance, no matter their size.

Contributed by Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho

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