We live in a world where technology plays a pivotal role. From ordering food supplies to luxury items, from getting raw materials to finished products, from communicating with friends and colleagues to interacting with clients over long distances; we have either already adopted new technological methods or are on our way to do so. Many technological luminaries, world-renowned economists, and industry-experts have repeatedly announced that the future belongs to those who effectively blend human potential – creativity, teamwork, leadership – with automaticity and lightning-fast speed of machines. The real question is are you a technology-centric organization or planning to become one? Are you future-ready? Do you keep a bird’s eye view to know what is happening in the industry? Are you lagging or leading the technology realm? This article discusses 3 important points that will help you check how you are performing against your competitors.
1. Competitor Analysis
The first step to see where you stand versus other businesses in the industry is to do a full-fledged competitor analysis. This takes note of a lot of factors to check your competitive edge – such as critically analyzing your unique selling point and those of your competitors, unearthing your inefficiencies and redundancies, and discovering the strong and weak points of others. In effect, it gives you a solid idea of what position you hold in the market, the areas where you are underperforming, and those where you are ahead in the competition. The second step is to conduct industry-wide research to know what your competitors are doing – What technology products have they implemented in their premises, how has it helped them overcome their problems, and what are they planning to do in the future. Ask the following questions:
- What technology products are they using?
- How are they using it to solve their problems and serve customers better?
- What are the merits and demerits of those products?
- Have you gained first-hand experience with the competitor’s product?
- How can you tweak those products and use them to solve your problems?
- Are there any alternate solutions available in the market?
These questions will help you build a competitor analysis report and show what you lack, what can be improved upon, and how you can become more technically sound than your competitors.
2. Automaticity in business functions
When it comes to finding out-of-the-box solutions or solving tricky problems, nothing comes close to a human mind. But in the case of performing repetitive tasks quickly, this magnificent piece of work fails to deliver. This is where machines come into play. Machines can automate trivial tasks at superfast speeds, which makes them quite useful in a business setting. Today, businesses of all sizes – small, medium, large, and conglomerates – are using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in single/multiple department/s to speed up their processes. Here are a few quick facts that will explain to you the importance of an ERP system:
- They automate your business processes making them super fast
- They automatically place an order for raw materials in case the stock falls below the set threshold
- They suggest vendors based on set attributes
- They create a list of secondary vendors that you can talk to in case the primary vendor is unavailable
- They prepare Bills Of Materials (BOM) automatically
- They create receipts/bills automatically
- They handle cash payables and receivables
- They forecast trends and suggest what products will be in demand in the future
- They take government norms and laws of land into consideration and alert in case of any discrepancy
The above points indicate the wide benefits that an ERP system brings to a business. Are you a tech-savvy entrepreneur who already has an ERP system installed in his workspace? Or are you a technophobic who relies only on human workforce? If you belong to the former category, then you are well on your way to establish an authority in your industry. But if not, you don’t stand a chance against your competitors. An ERP system helps you become more technically sound than your competitors, a major requirement in the current times.
3. Customer Relationships & Employee Productivity
The days of customer relationships as a non-core activity are over. Today, it’s a wide topic with thousands of books written and hundreds of management courses running on it. Unlike a decade ago when customers could get in touch with companies only in two ways – either a voice call or an email – today, there are multiple communication channels to do so. But the one that has completely revolutionized the way customers and companies interact is social media. It allows customers to get in touch with service agents at any time, anywhere, and on any device. Thus, it eliminates the limitations of time, place, and portability. This is where CRM software comes into the picture. It integrates all communication channels and creates a freeflow between customers and businesses. It allows people to raise questions on-the-go and receive real-time responses from customer care agents. It provides the facility of chatbots that impart solutions to trivial problems and note the customer’s pain points. This saves the time of care agents to make formidable customer relationships. Have you invested in CRM technology? If not, then you’re putting your business at a high stake.
In the times of cut-throat competition, not investing in the right technology can prove disastrous for your business. Your competitors will benefit from this immensely and will turn into industry leaders. This article helps you realize the importance of being technically equipped and why you need to do that for rising the ladder.
About the Author:
Nishant likes to read and write on technologies that form the bedrock of the modern day and age like machine learning, data science, AI and robotics. His expertise in the content marketing audience has helped grow countless business opportunities. Nishant works for Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of ERP and CRM software to small and mid-sized businesses in India.