Your business may benefit from using a range of digital tools and software. You may want to streamline your processes, stop updating manual spreadsheets, or boost your online customer service.

Using online tools and software can help your business:

  • automate operational tasks
  • improve efficiency and productivity
  • increase security of your customers information
  • connect with employees.

Steps you need 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 will need to make sure you protect your business from cyber threats.

To keep your business safe, you can:

  • Install a good antivirus solution to help protect against viruses infecting devices.
  • Install updates to programs and operating systems as soon as possible to fix security issues.
  • Ensure that 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 from outside your office network.
  • Always lock your devices before 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 you 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.

If you have employees, then the transition to new digital tools and software will have a better chance of success if you bring your staff along for the digital journey. 

You can do this by:

  • Communicating to your staff how the new digital tools will help their work and benefit them.
  • Involving staff in decision making about digital tools and software.
  • Making sure your staff receive training in how to use your 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 to run your business's operational tasks can increase efficiency, operate more securely or find new opportunities.

Accounting systems store all your financial details. It 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
  • efficiencies in your processes to save time
  • flexible cost structures such as pay-as-you-go or tiered pricing.

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

CRMs allow you to:

  • stay more connected to your customers by managing all your interactions through one platform
  • have a single view of your customer
  • share access across accounts, giving all employees the ability to record and see client interactions
  • learn from your client interactions to improve your sales and client retainment 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 system may allow you to:

  • manage all inventory more efficiently
  • do advanced reporting and forecasting
  • reduce the amount of stock write-offs
  • reduce storage costs
  • have flexible cost structures such as pay-as-you-go or tiered pricing
  • 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 to staff
  • see individual jobs 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 with direct and flexible access for participants
  • update and expand courses (essential for maintaining compliance requirements).

A practice management system assists health professionals operate healthcare practices.

You may be able to: 

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

Rostering software enables you to manage your employee information. This may include rostering, recording time, completing payroll and payment summaries for your employees.

Rostering software may help you:

  • save time on payroll
  • have more visibility over the hours that your employees are working
  • improve communication between employers and employees
  • have accurate timesheet reporting
  • integrate with your accounting systems for a more seamless process.

Time management software helps allows you to:

  • 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 conduct your online promotional activities.

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 you customers.

Use an email marketing system to help you:

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

Find out the rules when promoting your business by email.

You can use marketing automation software for:

  • 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 out and track all your marketing messages from the one platform
  • create a targeted experience for your customers, such as sending out messages to customers on their birthday
  • have all your platform data and information in the one place.

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

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 communication online with your employees. 

Online collaboration software can help you:

  • work with employees across offices, venues or sites
  • maintain strong record-keeping practices
  • have oversight and visibility across key projects.

Video conferencing software and platforms can offer an alternative to in-person meetings. Participants in a video conference may find it more engaging compared to an audio call.

Presenters may also provide visual information using a presentation or by screen sharing. By seeing others in the meeting, staff may feel more connection with their colleagues.

A team messaging platform allows users to send and receive messages instantly. Employees may find it easy to share information or data with each other to complete their work. Your team should find it easy to use, as it is like using text messaging on mobile phones.

Project and task management tools allow you and employees to have visibility across all your projects and tasks.

It can help you:

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

To store the digital files, you have have two main options. You can either maintain your own server within your work network or you can use a cloud-based file storage system.

Maintaining your own server requires:

  • ICT support
  • physical space in an office
  • hardware upgrades
  • additional back-up sources. 

A cloud-based file storage system can:

  • reduce your reliance on physical hardware in your office space
  • reduce ongoing costs associated with file storage
  • increase your ability maintain and manage versions of your documents
  • make it easier access files from places other than at your work.

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

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for sharing your feedback with us.

Why not?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.