Technology makes it possible for business leaders to manage certain aspects of their business with far less effort. Management that makes effective use of technology can obtain unique insight into trends and decisions that affect their business. Some of these insights would have been prohibitively expensive to pursue only a few years ago.
For example, with a relatively small investment, even a one-person company can take advantage of threaded discussions. A threaded discussion is one where a series of correspondences are recorded with the relationship between them preserved as part of the record. Thirty years ago those relationships could be inferred, and the conversations analyzed accordingly, but they could never be plotted on a many-to-many basis like today.
Database technology has now advanced to the point where anyone can design, build and deploy an industrial-strength relational database on their desktop or even on a mobile device. As recently as ten years ago designing a customer tracking system would have required many thousands of dollars in specialized software. Now it can be done in an afternoon at a cost of zero.
Distributing information to a group of employees was a matter of setting up an “intranet” on a company network 20 years ago. Now, a professionally published handbook can be distributed on tablet devices and mobile phones using e-book technologies like the universal EPUB format. While the convenience of a network-based information system is considerable, the presence of an actual book that can be easily transported and which does not require network access is equally considerable, especially if the company is conveying a large amount of information at once.
Servers to manage company e-mail can now be installed and operated with standardized instructions using platforms like Linux, Postfix and sendmail. Because so many of these tools were originally developed on UNIX platforms, deploying and testing them in a standardized server environment is a well-understood and reliable process.
Phones without Phones
Capable and highly flexible voice-over-IP telephony is available at near-zero cost using software like Skype and GoToMeeting. The power of this technology is hard to overstate. The ability to maintain real-time communications with anyone who has a network connection puts even the most far-flung enterprise squarely in the realm of the possible.
Big Company Image
With efficient use of virtual business identity products, online banking and communications and free software, a single individual can for all intents and purposes do virtually anything a large company can do. Since so much of a 21st-century company’s business is done remotely, it is rarely necessary to maintain a physical office. The accommodations of a simple identity package combined with other technologies reduces cost and in some cases, improves a company’s overall image.
In order to make maximum use of the powerful options available, it is always a good idea for aspiring business managers to consider enhancing their education. An MBA in technology is often a good choice. Frequent reading is also a good option, especially for leaders with limited capital.
The more technology advances, the more truth there is to the statement “there is almost always a lower cost alternative.” Continuing education and research is vital to being aware of all your options and knowing how they will affect your business. Effective use of key technologies will only improve your success.