Is your business ready for the digital economy?
Do you have a digital strategy in place?
mobileFX™ Digital Strategy Checklist covers 9 key components that should be part of your on-going business planning. Your digital strategy is your roadmap for how you will use digital technologies to enhance your business practices, increase your productivity and grow your revenue.
Your on-line presence refers to how and where the community and other businesses see your business on-line. Your on-line presence includes your business website, mobile website or a campaign mini-site, social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), corporate advertising profiles (e.g. on sites such as Yellow Pages Online), links, information, reviews or articles appearing on other businesses' websites.
Digital marketing is the promotion of your business using on-line resources and tools. Tools used in digital marketing include websites, micro-sites, mobile apps and social media platforms. These may include on-line banner ads, search engine marketing, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, blogs , guest blogs, newsletters, email marketing, mobile banner ads and e-books.
Using on-line selling in your business allows customers to buy from you whenever they want, even when your shop doors are closed. Selling on-line typically helps reduce processing times internally, enabling you to focus staff elsewhere in the business.
Customer interaction is about giving customers access to your business through whatever means they prefer - a mobile device, desktop computer, traditional phone call or social media. It should require minimal effort from the customer to find the information, service or product they are looking for.
Online security is particularly important for small businesses and consists of four integral requirements: privacy: information exchanged must be kept from unauthorized parties, integrity: the exchanged information must not be altered or tampered with, authentication: both sender and recipient must prove their identities to each other, non-repudiation: proof is required that the exchanged information was indeed received.
Being active in a digital economy means you have access to global and national markets to establish potential supplier relationships, as well as the capability to undertake supplier interactions more efficiently and effectively. Your business can profit from sourcing suppliers on-line - particularly if your suppliers have also embraced digital solutions to provide their products, services and quotes on-line.
Integrating mobile-based solutions into your business may include strategies such as: mobile commerce: giving customers the option to transact via their mobile phone or tablet, mobile websites: responsive websites that scale down to a mobile phone's or tablet's screen size, mobile applications: purpose-built mobile applications (apps) to help users complete specific tasks. Applications can be either external (aimed at customers), or internal (i.e. aimed at staff, to help them carry out business more efficiently), or both.
Efficiencies through Technology
Using the right digital technology for the right purpose, be it hardware (tablets, computers, smart phones, servers, etc.) or software (email marketing, CRM systems, business management software), can decrease your business overhead by providing your staff with the capability to undertake their work more efficiently and effectively. Efficiencies include the ability to process data faster, retrieve information more easily and even downsize your business through the complete automation of suitable tasks. Consider how your business operates and determine which technologies will benefit your business to save time and increase your bottom line.
Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of on your computer's hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It is one way to increase capacity or add capabilities as you need them without investing in new infrastructure, training new staff, or licensing new software.
Is your business sofware cloud-ready?
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is the most common form of cloud computing for small businesses. You can access Internet-hosted software applications using a browser, rather than traditional applications stored on your own PC or server. The software application host is responsible for controlling and maintaining the application, including software updates and settings. You, as a user, have limited control over the application and configuration settings. A typical example of a SaaS is a web-based mail service or customer relationship management system.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS typically means buying or renting your computer power and disk space from an external service provider. This option allows you access through a private network or over the Internet. The service provider maintains the physical computer hardware including CPU processing, memory, data storage and network connectivity. Examples of an IaaS include Amazon EC2, Rackspace and Windows Azure.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS can be described as a crossover of both SaaS and IaaS. Essentially you rent the hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity that IaaS provides, as well as the software servers and application environments. PaaS offers you more control over the technical aspects of your computing setup and the ability to customize to suit your needs.
Multi-tenant or Single-tenant cloud?
A private cloud is where the services and infrastructure are maintained and managed by you or a third party. This option reduces the potential security and control risks, and will suit you if your data and applications are a core part of your business and you need a higher degree of security.
A public cloud is where the services are stored off-site and accessed over the Internet. The storage is managed by an external organization such as Google or Microsoft. This service offers the greatest level of flexibility and cost saving; however, it is more vulnerable than private clouds.
A community cloud exists where several organizations share access to a private cloud, with similar security considerations. For example, a series of franchises have their own public clouds, but they are hosted remotely in a private environment.
A hybrid cloud model takes advantages of both public and private cloud services. By spreading your options across different cloud models, you gain the benefits of each model.