Johannesburg, 16 Feb 2015
It is being thrust on business executives, whether they're ready for change or not. Resistance is futile, it will lead to one's demise as competitors embrace, change and soak up the significant benefits.
Euphoria Telecom CEO George Golding says business owners need to step back, stop working in the business and start working on the business. "This hands-on approach just doesn't work; immediate steps need to be taken to automate, streamline and grow one's business."
Automation is the answer; everything changes when processes pass through seamlessly without the direct involvement of employees. Cloud is here and growing at a rapid pace; the best cloud-based systems offer immense value through automation.
Business priorities have changed significantly over the past decades. Rent and electricity were the top priorities previously, but now it is electricity and connectivity. No business can survive anymore without power and communications.
"SMEs are especially cash-strapped and have to consider the best option. The cheapest option isn't always the best option. Spend money on your connectivity; if a fibre connection costs an extra R2 000 over an ADSL line, pay for it. Your connectivity is now the most important requirement for running your business," he says.
Golding points to modern communications and e-mail as the first step to change. "Using pop e-mail is no longer feasible for business; a hosted exchange service is crucial to business to ensure e-mails are stored and accessible instantly for a minimum of three years. It must be accessible anywhere, any time and on any device. One can consider Google Apps, Microsoft Hosted Exchange or Zimbra Opensource."
He says old analogue telephone systems like Opticon are cumbersome, expensive and difficult to manage. "Based on good connectivity such as fibre, it is a no-brainer to use cloud-based PBX. They are month-to-month services and offer a complete, centralised view of costs, activity tracking and self- management of the PBX. This gives executives control and less reliance on inconsistent outside assistance."
By automating and also integrating one's workforce management system with a CRM system in the cloud, executives can now have activity tracking combined with call tracking and recording at their fingertips.
"With a good foundation of connectivity and cloud services, automation is the answer to every entrepreneur's dream. Everything from lead generation, marketing, operations, human resources (PaySpace) and support and administration," he explains.
Other automated cloud services include contract management and quoting systems. Both are more cost and time efficient, putting one far ahead of one's competitors.
Golding says automation is not only about the executives. If you have a sales person, admin or any person whose mundane tasks can be reduced through automation, you can save many days per person each month.
It increases their efficiency and allows them to work on more meaningful tasks which actually add value and also increase job satisfaction. Of course, one doesn't need to hire 10 project managers anymore, only two, he concludes.