“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
Assuming you own a smartphone – which is a fairly safe assumption these days – how long have you owned one? According to the innovation adoption lifecycle – also known as Roger’s bell curve – if your current smartphone is your fourth or fifth one, you would be classified as an innovator or an early adopter.
If you’re still clinging to that flip phone, you would probably be classified as a laggard, which kind of seems like a demeaning societal tag, doesn’t it?
What’s wrong with her? Oh you haven’t heard? [Lean in and whisper] She’s a laggard.
Small business technology is no different. Like people, most small businesses fall into the early or late majority categories of technology adoption. But then you’ve got your innovators, your early adopters and of course… your laggards.
You’re about to learn about some small business technology practices that would classify your workplace as a laggard. Do these laggard-like practices still exist in today’s workplaces? Or have they gone the way of the abacus?
Let’s play a game of small business technology fact or fiction.
Fact or Fiction: Do people still…
Unless you’re a court stenographer (apparently they still use these), using a typewriter at work is a surefire way to catch the ire of your coworkers, and you won’t find these users anymore. Taptap…taptaptap…taptap…DING! Taptaptaptap…taptaptap…taptaptap…PUNCH!
Joking, of course – just say no to workplace violence.
Verdict: FICTION (mostly)
Use fax machines
Fax machines are like VCRs these days. Almost everyone owns one but hardly anyone actually uses it. Will it still work after you sweep the layer of dust off it? Who knows?
You keep it around because some people still prefer to send faxes, and when they do, you need a way to receive them. But if you’re the person who says, “Can I have your fax number so I can send you something?” Expect a delayed response because you just blew someone’s mind.
Verdict: FACT (for now)
Use on-premises software
Yes, businesses still use on-premises software, meaning their software is installed and run on computers within the building of the organization, and those that do are on the verge of slipping into the laggard category – especially with all the advantages cloud-based solutions and mobile apps can provide.
In the case of expense management software, expense reports can be submitted and approved from mobile devices and real-time visibility is achieved from anywhere. There’s no need to keep paper receipts because they can be captured via smartphone and uploaded on the spot. Compliance is a snap because it’s easy to use and employees understand and prefer it. Isn’t small business technology grand?
Verdict: FACT (for now)
Bring notebooks to meetings
This is a preference thing. Some people still like the feel of pen and paper, but offices are increasingly going paperless. More small businesses are switching from the standard desktop computer to mobile devices like laptops and tablets. When you take notes on your digital device, they can be easily copied and pasted into whichever application you are using.
Use spreadsheets for expense reports
The clunky, error-prone expense report form is still hanging around some of today’s offices, and those who use them are doing unnecessary manual work. Expense management software lets you say ta-ta to spreadsheets. If your line-item data is not uploaded automatically, you simply enter it once and you’re done. And unlike spreadsheets where you only have data, software gives you data and intuition. Rules, limits and automatic reminders that are specific to your business eliminate the need to perform mind-numbing recurring tasks. The ability to quickly analyze your data allows you to leverage small business technology to save money and spend more wisely.
Verdict: FACT (But only because not everyone has tried expense management software yet!)
Small business technology doesn’t change itself, it’s on you. Expense reporting affects every part of your business. Learn why shouldn’t wait to be asked to fix it.