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Is the digital age passing you by?

ARTICLE

Smartphones. The cloud. Social media. Mobile apps to conduct banking and order everything from dinner for the family to clothing on demand. Technology has changed significantly in recent years, making our lives easier from both a personal and business perspective. But are you keeping up? How can you better leverage technology to save time and make your daily tasks easier?

The following eight behaviors can help you understand how digitally mature you are and where technology can enhance your business processes:

1. Do you still hail a taxi, or use a ride-sharing application (Uber or Lyft)?

Transportation has changed drastically in the last decade, with ride-sharing services disrupting the industry. Uber, Lyft and other similar applications provide more insight into arrival times, trip duration and driver information, and they give the consumer more power over the type of vehicle they ride in and how they pay for rides. 

2. When flying, do you print a paper copy of your boarding pass to show the flight staff?

Generally, paper processes are becoming extinct. All major airlines have now introduced mobile apps that allow passengers to check into flights and generate boarding passes that can simply be scanned directly from a smartphone or mobile device. This new process is more efficient and environmentally friendly. 

3. Do you pay with cash, credit card or check instead of mobile payment services?

Many consumers no longer carry cash and have not carried a checkbook in quite some time. In fact, the smartphone is well on its way to making the wallet obsolete. Mobile payment solutions including Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have created efficient payment delivery to businesses, friends and colleagues. These have become the preferred payment method in many situations, as money can be transferred from your account by simply tapping a sensor at checkout or clicking a button in an app.    

4. Are you still leaving voicemails?

Some people still use voicemail, but it is not as effective of a communications tool as it once was. Today, your friends and coworkers are much more likely to prefer text or email communications, because they allow for immediate feedback and response. In addition, these methods provide documented communications that can be referred back to if necessary.

5. Are you using attachments instead of links in communications?

Documents and files often need to be shared in the office to collaborate and gather input from multiple sources. Sending attachments is an outdated way to transmit files, because it lacks version control. Without a single source of information, compiling data can be difficult and necessary changes can be lost. Sending links enables your employees to always view and contribute to the same file without taking up email storage space.

6. Do you use local storage instead of cloud storage?

The cloud has become a key asset for many middle market companies, creating more efficiency and accessibility for key data and applications. While companies were apprehensive about the cloud in the past, it has now demonstrated effective security measures and increased functionality. Information can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, lessening the burden on internal personnel and enhancing mobility. 

7. Do you still use 4:3 PowerPoint slides?

PowerPoint remains an effective communications tool, but how you use it should change as technology evolves. Many people still use older 4:3 sized slides that are not maximized to fit today’s widescreen monitors, ultimately not using the amount of space available. Using this older orientation can create a perception that your technology strategies are outdated and that you may not be an innovation leader.

8. Do you still hold conference calls?

Again, many people still use conference calls, but several collaboration tools have emerged that provide a higher level of functionality. Many platforms can enable remote work sessions with screen sharing and video capabilities to allow for more immediate feedback with customers and employees. These technology solutions give employees the flexibility to work from anywhere and collaborate at any time, providing the potential for greater mobility and productivity outside of the office.

Many people do not realize how much technology has spread throughout our lives and how quickly new solutions become available that can improve our daily lives. Just as landline phones and dial-up Internet connections were replaced by modern innovation, many technology solutions that were widely utilized just years ago are quickly becoming outdated. If you struggle with adopting new technology in your personal life, that challenge may also extend to your business technology decisions.

Nobody is still using Zip drives or CD-ROMs for storage in a business environment, but many organizations still rely on conference calls and local storage solutions. And some companies seem like they will never relinquish their grasp on Excel spreadsheets to manage and store key company data. However, emerging technology exists that can enhance each of these—and many other—business processes, and you may be missing potential opportunities for greater efficiency, productivity, and customer and employee engagement. 

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