Businesses have faced unprecedented challenges during the past year. Their responses and strategies have varied widely. Yet, a consistent theme among many is the realization of the primacy of technology in staying relevant and competitive.

A 2020 study by the Beagle Research Group revealed that 52 percent of employees felt their company’s computing system did not meet their needs. More to the point, 51 percent of employees working remotely during the pandemic reported that their systems did not support company needs during that critical time.

In other words, the pandemic likely served to highlight a problem that was imminent. And if entrepreneurs want to continue growing and adapting to this evolving landscape, investment in the right technology is key to their success.

Of course, as with all investments, business owners must strike a delicate balance. The investment should ultimately save time and money, help the company to compete, and spark growth. But it must do these things at a reasonable cost.

As entrepreneurs weigh the pros and cons of increasing innovation, these four questions can help narrow the options:

  1. Which tasks can easily be automated? Automating a bit of the routine workload frees up mental energy and allows time for more complicated tasks.
  2. Which tasks really matter? Some low-value tasks can, and probably should, be handled by machines.
  3. What does the company need from others? What tools are needed to accomplish these goals, and who should handle them?
  4. How does this innovation impact the customer experience? A good customer experience will make the switch a success. A bad customer experience however, puts the company back at square one, or perhaps worse.

The emergence of Zoom throughout 2020 provides an excellent example of these lessons. As demand for remote conferencing exploded, Zoom found itself perfectly positioned to provide for customer needs. And indeed, Zoom’s year-over-year revenue increased by 169 percent in the first quarter alone.

In 2021, technology cannot be ignored. Expansion and innovation in the right areas will help companies respond to demand. Those that fail to address these concerns will quickly fall behind.

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