Posted by Vodafone Business Team, September 2018
As new tools and services transform the traditional workplace into a digital one, the scene is set for what many commentators are calling a fourth industrial revolution. Treasa Doran, Head of Small Business in Vodafone talks to us about how this impacts Irish SMEs and how these companies can use new technology and communication systems to flourish in this new industrial age.
What trends are you seeing in the small business landscape/market?
Technology uptake by businesses in Ireland has facilitated a profound shift across all industries and changed the commercial landscape beyond recognition in recent years. New business models have emerged causing a digital disruption that has reshaped production, consumption, transportation and delivery systems. Smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi devices are all being deployed by staff that are working remotely, whether in sales or deliveries or working from home. Embracing technology has also been an important enabler to SMEs for activities such as; digital marketing, order processing and customer services.
We’re moving towards a single technology ecosystem where 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020. This connectivity is changing working patterns. The digital or smarter workplace is the next major evolution in the way we work, fuelled by these broad changes in technology, but also workforce preferences, habits and demographics. I believe that nurturing and facilitating a digital workplace is the next frontier for SMEs.
How can becoming a Smarter Workplace benefit SMEs?
While technology adoption by SMEs has the clear benefit of improving everyday processes, it is also critical to attracting and retaining talent, keeping employees engaged and productive, fostering a culture of innovation and staying ahead of competitors – many of whom were born digital. In my view, a key driver for SMEs to integrate digital practices is better operational agility. With the help of a more connected workforce, you can make better decisions faster and the cloud gives you this flexibility to scale digital resources up and down, as you see fit. Moreover, managed services take the effort out of maintaining and administering technology – so you can focus on more important things like building your customer base.
Have you seen any examples of Smarter businesses embracing technology and change?
From a small business point of view, I really admire one of our business customers, Firetrade.ie who are an established Irish SME, providing market-leading fire-fighting products and services for the past 20 years. They are constantly evolving and adapting to market trends and customer needs and believe that technology is a key enabler for them being ready for the future. They have partnered with us on our unified communications solution, One Net Business, which has transformed the way they work – by allowing staff to collaborate more efficiently when out of the office and ensuring always-on responsiveness to customers.
What role is Vodafone playing in creating smarter workplaces?
No two workplaces are the same, but in a typical small business multiple tools and solutions come together to create a workplace with similar characteristics. Unified communications and collaboration tools provide a simple platform for the kind of anywhere, anytime teamwork that helps to drive innovation. We understand that to make the digital workplace a reality, businesses are searching for communication service providers that offer them reliable connectivity and cloud-based services. Access to data is also vital and Vodafone has built a portfolio of solutions to allow you stay connected to one another, to customers and to data, regardless of location. For example, our One Net Suite of Unified Communications solution offers SMEs a cost effective way of combining all of their communications tools into one solution hosted on the cloud, here in Ireland.
For more information please visit https://n.vodafone.ie/business/products-and-solutions/unified-communications.html