Your business can benefit from using digital tools and software. For example, you might want to streamline your processes, stop manually updating spreadsheets or boost your online customer service.

Using online tools and software can help your business:

  • automate operational tasks
  • improve efficiency and productivity
  • keep your customers' information safe
  • connect with employees.

Things to do before you start using digital tools

The digital tools you choose should support your business goals. Common business goals include:

  • increase your revenue
  • increase your profit
  • make better use of your assets
  • improve your business processes
  • offer a new product or service to your customers
  • speed up tasks
  • allow staff to connect and communicate better
  • improve the skills of your staff.

Find out how to set business goals

Before you start using digital tools and applications, you need to protect your business from cyber threats.

To keep your business safe, you can:

  • install a good antivirus solution
  • install updates to programs and operating systems as soon as possible to fix security issues
  • ensure your wi-fi connection is encrypted and not open for anyone to connect to
  • change your router login and password
  • use a company virtual private network (VPN) ⁠when you conduct work activities outside your office network
  • always lock your devices when you leave them alone
  • look out for suspicious email messages and malicious file attachments or links.

Read more about how to protect your business from cyber threats

Work out how much money different digital tools will cost to put in place and save you in the long term.

You do not have to buy something expensive. There are low-cost tools that can improve your processes and save you time. Make sure you explore your options.

Introducing new digital tools and software has a better chance of success if you bring your staff along on the digital journey. 

You can do this by:

  • explaining to your staff how the new tools will help their work and benefit them
  • involving staff in decisions about digital tools and software
  • training your staff to use the digital tools before they need to use them
  • easing staff into change gradually. Remember that changing to new digital applications is a journey, and people respond better to small changes over time. 

Find out how to manage the change with your employees. 

Digital tools to run your operations

Using digital tools and software in your business's operational tasks can increase efficiency, reduce paperwork, improve security or open up new opportunities.

Accounting systems store all your financial details. They can help reduce the amount of paperwork you need to complete, saving you time and effort.

Benefits may include:

  • real-time visibility over your full financial position
  • less paperwork for your business
  • more efficient processes
  • flexible cost structures such as pay-as-you-go or tiered pricing.

A customer relationship management system (CRMs) records interactions between you and your customers. With it you can build and maintain stronger customer relationships.

CRMs allow you to:

  • stay more connected to customers by managing all your interactions through one platform
  • have a single view of a customer
  • share access across accounts, giving all employees the ability to record and see client interactions
  • learn from client interactions to improve your sales and client retention strategies
  • uncover customer behaviour patterns and insights from different demographics and segments
  • have flexible cost structures such as pay-as-you-go or tiered pricing for cloud-based systems.

An inventory management system allows you to track, monitor and locate all your inventory in the same place.

Inventory management systems can help you:

  • manage all your inventory more efficiently
  • do advanced reporting and forecasting
  • reduce the amount of stock write-offs
  • reduce storage costs
  • better process returns
  • manage shipping and other logistics
  • integrate with other online systems in your business
  • ensure online orders, payments and product tracking works across your organisation.

A job management system runs all your projects from one platform.

Job management systems may help you to:

  • run projects more efficiently
  • reduce paperwork
  • store files across your project
  • see job data
  • integrate with your other systems to streamline invoicing
  • have visibility across an entire project include quoting and task management
  • connect with staff
  • see individual job statuses.

A learning management system allows you to:

  • create training courses
  • store course information
  • deliver courses
  • track participants’ progress.

Learning management systems can:

  • keep all your learner content in one location
  • provide unlimited access to learning materials
  • track learner progress and performance
  • reduce learning and development time through direct, flexible access for participants
  • update and expand courses (essential for maintaining compliance requirements).

A practice management system helps health professionals operate healthcare practices.

You may be able to use it: 

  • create and manage patient appointments
  • schedule administration
  • organise patient records
  • capture data to make more informed decisions for better patient outcomes.

Rostering software helps you to manage your employee information. This could include rostering, recording time, and completing payroll and payment summaries for your employees. Rostering software may integrate with your accounting systems for a more seamless process.

Rostering software may help you:

  • save time on payroll
  • have more visibility over the hours your employees are working
  • improve communication with employees
  • have accurate timesheet reporting.

Time management software helps you:

  • track time spent on each project or client
  • get better reporting on how you and your staff spend their time
  • work out which projects and clients are most profitable
  • set reminders for people to record their time.

Marketing tools and platforms

Marketing tools and platforms can help you promote your business online.

Streamlining your marketing with digital applications can help you:

  • retain customers
  • keep customers and clients up to date
  • track your customers' purchasing behaviours
  • personalise messages to your customers.

Email marketing systems are platforms that can help you send and schedule emails to your customers.

Use an email marketing system to:

  • stay connected to your customers
  • target email messages to specific customer groups or demographics
  • measure the success of your email campaigns.

Find out the rules when promoting your business by email.

You can use marketing automation software to promote your business through:

  • email campaigns
  • social media
  • websites
  • text messages.

Marketing automation software platforms can help you:

  • market through multiple channels at the same time
  • automate repetitive tasks  
  • send and track all your marketing messages from one platform
  • create a targeted experience for your customers, such as sending them a message on their birthday
  • have all your platform data and information in one place.

A social media management system lets you manage all your social media channels through one application. It will help you plan your social media communication and maintain consistency when speaking to followers.

You will be able to:

  • schedule social media posts ahead of time
  • respond to comments and direct messages
  • analyse the effectiveness of your posts.

Learn more about social media for your business.

Online tools for team collaboration

There are many digital tools available to help you connect and communicate with employees online

Online collaboration software can help you:

  • work with staff across offices, venues or sites
  • keep good records
  • have oversight and visibility across key projects.

Video conferencing software and platforms offer an alternative to in-person meetings. Presenters can provide visual information by sharing their screen or a presentation. 

Participants in a video conference usually find it more engaging than an audio call and may feel more connected with their colleagues.

A team messaging platform lets users send and receive messages instantly. Employees can use it to easily ask questions and share information with each other.

Project and task management tools give you and your employees visibility of all your projects and tasks.

They can help you:

  • plan your project
  • manage workloads
  • get an overview of remaining work.

To store digital files, you can either maintain a server on your work network or use a cloud-based file storage system.

Maintaining your own server requires:

  • ICT support
  • physical space in an office
  • hardware upgrades
  • additional backup sources. 

A cloud-based file storage system can:

  • reduce your reliance on physical hardware in your office 
  • reduce the ongoing costs of file storage
  • help you maintain and manage versions of your documents
  • make it easier to access files from outside your workplace.

Many cloud-based storage platforms have built-in collaboration tools. This lets more than one person create and work on a document at the same time, often showing changes in real time.

Was this page helpful?