Companies and staff rely on technology to help create efficient business practices. Today’s business managers need to be comfortable learning new technologies and evolving with change, such as communicating by email, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, if necessary. As technology advances, there are progressively fewer non-digital alternatives to the day-to-day activities that allow businesses to operate competitively. Modern technology offers many effective tools and applications that managers can utilize when overseeing communication or managing and organizing staff workloads. With many of these business solutions, staff can train themselves through online workshops and FAQs, making implementation more accessible with minimal downtime and ultimately increasing staff productivity.
Data analytics is the process of selecting relevant data to research and making decisions based on the information it provides. This analysis is done to prove or disprove current business assumptions, improve decision-making in the business environment, and perform maintenance operations on business functions. The amount of data a business has the potential to aggregate and leverage for greater efficiency is staggering – market trends, consumer behavior, demographics, retail sales, and competitor pricing. Additionally, the development of online analytical processing systems (OLAP), such as Oracle’s Express Server, has allowed more access to view and select data to compare it with other reports. Oracle software can also store and report payroll files for each staff member and other HR operations.
An example of a critical area where data analysis can be valuable is enterprise risk management (ERM). With the proper knowledge and expertise, management can eliminate redundant systems and other operational risk factors that can drain the bottom line if left unnoticed. To provide businesses the ability to access information, risk management information systems are used to manage and process specialized data to examine risk control and risk financing. ERM can also identify missing opportunities in a workplace or departments where maintenance costs exceed profitability.
With so many individuals working from home offices now, keeping tabs on employees has become more complicated than simply peeking over the nearest cubicle wall. Only with the use of technology can management hope to have an accurate barometer to measure the output from remote workers or satellite offices. Time Doctor is one example of a program used to track what employees are working on and how much time they have spent on those tasks. To increase collaboration, Time Doctor is used to manage attendance and improve the productivity of an online workforce to help ensure they become highly efficient.
Another alternative is Toggl, an online time tracking tool that is easy to set up and use. It integrates with project management tools such as Basecamp and can be operated from anywhere with internet access. This tool makes it easy to generate reports based on time spent on specific projects or by teams of employees. Additionally, it is compatible with any operating system, and there is an app for iPhone and Android.
Sharing tools are also available for employees to share their screens with managers to add a visual aspect when explaining specific tasks. Tools such as TeamViewer allow managers to monitor progress and the efficiency of their satellite staff. Other well-known methods for online collaboration include:
- TechSmith Capture (formerly Jing): share screen and video captures of desktops that can include voiceovers or annotations to share information, a simple computer application that needs a single install
- Google Drive: online spreadsheets in a central location for multiple individuals to retrieve simultaneously, an alternative to Excel or Word documents
- Dropbox: a simple way to share and store documents that employees can access
- SharePoint by Microsoft: a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device
Project management encompasses a variety of aspects, including budget and deadline management, tracking tasks, and streamlining communication. Regardless of where they are located, teams have technologies available to organize and monitor the lifecycle of different projects. To effectively use technology to manage projects, managers must have the business experience to understand processes and the technical training to recognize which program implementations will save time and money.
The technology used in Basecamp, an online project management tool, has made it easier to manage projects and communication by optimizing workflow in a simplistic way. Managers can also send internal messages, have discussions through Basecamp, and automate specific business processes, which allows for a one-stop-shop in project management.
Managers should also be aware of tools that can help save data, such as automated backup services like Carbonite. It is a product that allows employees to access data from anywhere in addition to backing up every user’s hard drive to the cloud, just in case something happens or an older version is needed.
For today’s businesses, global competition is a topic of discussion. Those who intend to compete must be comfortable using communication technology when a physical meeting is impossible. People can now speak face to face, in real-time, with a team of clients on the other side of the world. Services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other video conference systems help managers keep in touch with remote workers over the internet. These programs have made it possible for managers to have a more personal relationship with staff, rather than using previous methods such as email or traditional phone calls. Other strategies for maintaining communication between employees include chat rooms, discussion groups, and forums.
Whether remote or in the office, maintaining communication with teams is essential for company leaders. Managers have a responsibility to implement the appropriate technologies to encourage collaboration, maximize efficiency, produce the best company results, and direct employees appropriately. In our modern business world, the only way to steer a company toward success is to understand and manage the technologies that contribute to that success and to locate potential pitfalls within that technology.
With a one-year distance MBA program that balances business practices with expanding technology, graduates can have great potential for a satisfying, rewarding career in business management. The University of Saint Mary offers an online degree path that allows students to fast-track an MBA to deliver actionable skills for today’s complex business landscape. Courses can be taken at any time, making them perfect for working managers. With an MBA from an accredited university, managers can help improve their businesses’ competitiveness and efficiency.
1Oracle Free Oracle Database for Everyone, https://www.oracle.com/database/technologies/appdev/xe.html (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
2Time Doctor Build a better workforce by the second, https://www.timedoctor.com/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
3Toggl Track Everything you need in one package, https://toggl.com/track/features/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
4TeamViewer Remote Connectivity Software, https://www.teamviewer.com/en-us/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
5TechSmith Snagit, https://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.html (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
6Google Drive Easy and secure access to your content, https://www.google.com/drive/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
7Dropbox Keep life organized and work moving – all in one place, https://www.dropbox.com/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
8Microsoft SharePoint, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/sharepoint/collaboration (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
9Basecamp The All-In-One Toolkit for Working Remotely, https://basecamp.com/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).
10Carbonite An Opentext Company Say Get Lost to Losing File, https://www.carbonite.com/ (Retrieved April 4, 2022).