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5 Technologies SMEs are Using to Increase Productivity

Companies that employ fewer than 250 employees are widely considered to be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Surprisingly, many of these organizations face greater challenges than those encountered by large corporations because they’re still in the stages of optimizing operations and developing systems to promote productivity. However, there is typically a noticeable difference in the amount of technology being used when you compare the average small business to a burgeoning medium-sized enterprise, so there is a large classification gap that many feel inaccurately categorizes tiny startups alongside medium-sized enterprises that are on the cusp of becoming large corporations.

With that said, here are five of the key technologies enterprises are using to reach the higher end of the SME spectrum:

1. Unified Communications

Most businesses have their communications segmented between various software, devices, and platforms. For example, you might use an app to have a chat, open your email inbox, and then pick up the phone to ring one of your in-house employees. Now, normally all three of those tasks would require you to open a different interface or retrieve a calling device. Businesses that understand the importance of lost seconds and minutes prefer to centralize correspondence efforts within a unified communications platform like Cisco Business Edition 6000. Many businesses contact Cisco dealers like KBZ to implement a system that will advance their productivity in the communications and inventory tracking departments.

2. Project Management and Collaboration Platforms

In addition to simplifying the process of communicating with other employees and updating inventory data, many businesses also choose to utilize a collaboration platform like Basecamp to perform project management. Others choose a simpler route by employing spreadsheets within a cloud-oriented platform like Google Docs. These tools are particularly useful for creative agencies and online service providers that are trying to accommodate a high volume of work requiring collaboration and innovation.

3. Voice Recognition

The power of voice recognition is often underestimated in the corporate space because it can be difficult for some employees to retrain themselves away from the typing mentality. Many people find that using voice recognition takes longer than typing because they struggle to find the words while speaking and are more comfortable typing at a fast speed. However, even if you’re a master typist, there are certain tasks that can be facilitated with voice commands, and using this technology to assist with incoming calls is also worthwhile. Plus, someone who becomes proficient in using voice recognition can input an extraordinary number of words per minute (WPM) when compared to the average typing speed of a business professional.

4. Task Automation

If repetitive, tedious tasks are consuming a significant portion of your employee’s workday, consider implementing a task automation tool like RoboTask or the Actions app. Identifying and streamlining common workflow interruptions are essential steps in achieving ideal productivity in any endeavor. If you notice that you’re having to repeatedly open a browser, visit a certain website, and then login, you can automate that task with a single command to turn three or four clicks into a single hotkey combination. Automating small daily annoyances like these can do a lot to minimize the menial burdens associated with performing mission-critical duties on a regular basis.

5. Time Tracking and Scheduling

Of course, if making the most of your time is a top priority, it makes sense that you’d want to use time tracking and scheduling tools like Toggl, Everhour, or Timely. Another great example of a time-tracking productivity software would be The Action Machine. These tools help you keep track of the amount of time spent on each task throughout the day, making it easier to map out each day’s agenda with precise accuracy. As long as you set reasonable time limits for each task and stick to the schedule, you should have no problem doing as much as feasibly possible within the confines of your designated work hours.

Bring it All Together for a Balanced Tool Set

As we move forward in the 21st century, the difference between industry leaders and the rest of the pack will undoubtedly be marked by their ability to adapt and utilize cutting edge technology. Using any one of the above technologies by itself will only provide limited benefits if all other areas are not addressed simultaneously. Thus, taking a multi-faceted approach to building an ideally functional tech tool set should be high on the list of priorities for any small business to trying to climb in the ranks of SME stardom.

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