Tuesday, 19th November 2019

Connectivity crunch: how SMEs beat digital transformation with a simple solution

Small businesses sit at the heart of the European economy. However, while they might account for 99% of all enterprises and employ a large portion of Europe’s workforce, in the battleground of digital transformation, SMEs risk missing out. Many are struggling to overcome connectivity challenges that are the enabler of digital transformation. Connectivity which could make employees productive, customers happy, and can bring a vast range of profit-boosting benefits and opportunities. By Steve Johnson, Regional Director of Northern Europe, Ruckus Networks.

At the heart of this bigger challenge of shifting business models is often the humble Wi-Fi network. It’s how employees connect at their desks, how independent coffee shops draw in data-hungry customers who want to stay connected at all times, and how staff at travel and estate agents can connect in store and feel engaged in the buying process.While their bigger competition has internal networking and IT staff who can take the time to install networks correctly, troubleshoot 9 – 5, and spend time looking for the best options, small businesses just don’t have that option.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that it falls to the office manager, receptionist or just the youngest person in the office to fix problems as they crop up, a task often made even more difficult when a business is dealing with multiple branches or shops. Business owners are aware of the problem, however it’s a difficult problem to solve when you’re also trying to run and grow a business, support staff and keep customers happy.

It doesn’t have to be a challenging task, though. It’s time for SMEs to get their networks in order and power through digital transformation.

A bedrock for digital transformation

Despite the challenges of digital transformation, small businesses owners are aware of the benefits and they often have more agility, creativity and passion than bigger competitors which allows them to dream big and see the potential.

Wireless networks are the key which can make this all possible. They’re the foundation which can help bring in more customers to shops, power the in-room experiences which boost TripAdvisor reviews and ensure employees have all the access to the information they need. No matter what the future holds for Europe, Wi-Fi is the future-proofed solutions to help SMEs.

Although the pace of technology has been rapid over the past few years, Wi-Fi technology is adaptable and well placed to evolve as technology adapts around it, so small businesses can invest now safe in the knowledge that their system is future-proof. Rather than being seen as a standalone technology, it’s a tool to power networking, mentoring, management, sales, HR, marketing, and international development and growth.

Wi-Fi woes

Investing in a Wi-Fi network is commonplace; any small business will have a myriad of Wi-Fi connections and devices. But that’s not all there is to it. The ongoing management, troubleshooting and considering the total cost of running a network can quickly add up. This is especially true in the hospitality sector for example, where a network may not be business critical (your hotel can still run if guests don’t have Wi-Fi) but offering a poor network will quickly be met with a raft of complaints. Businesses have three challenges, they need to offer great Wi-Fi performance, minimise the total cost of ownership, get an easy to management system, and invest in a solution which will lasts as they grow.

Great Wi-Fi performance comes from superior kit, which can connect guests and employees no matter the physical environment. Minimising costs comes from choosing solutions which can offer superior performance with the least devices. Simplified management requires a solution which understands how small businesses operate, and which don’t require the technical know-how of a dedicated IT team. Investment protection needs Wi-Fi kit that doesn’t need changing every time your business grows, you add a new branch or need to change the way you do business.

The trick for small businesses is finding a system that offers all of this in one.

Beyond storage – embracing the cloud for business processes

While the cloud has a reputation as being a storage facility, it can be used for much more. The concept of the cloud is simple – fundamentally it just means that you can access your information through the cloud, be that documents, applications or more. Small businesses who are smart are in a great position to take advantage of the cloud for much more than just storage.

You could run your business network from anywhere in the world, keep everything in check and spot problems with a system that let you monitor them online from any location on the globe. Of course, while many small businesses dream of global expansion, even if you’re only running a few different offices regionally you’ll get the benefits.

Every time something goes wrong on a network there is a business cost to fix it. Using the cloud to manage a network makes the process of getting everything back up and running much more efficient. That person, who responsibility for the Wi-Fi falls to, won’t have to drive to check the network status in several offices, they could do it from their phone.

Wi-Fi as a growth enabler, not barrier

You, your employees and your customers need to be connected. There’s no way around that. However, there are ways to make it easier than ever to deliver the connectivity you need to grow.

SMEs are at the centre of Europe’s growth, they have the tools for connectivity at their fingertips to transform their businesses and be better than ever. Now is the time to embrace it.

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