In both the business and natural world, what adapts, thrives. Something that remains static and unchanging in its niche is one that will be driven into extinction once the circumstances change. A business to adapt to new situations and competitors and one viable strategy to do this is to adopt new technologies and integrate them into how things operate.
One of the ways a business can adapt to the new order of things is to use networking technologies. Interconnect and interlink everything. Of course, this can seem like a huge expense and a great deal of work involved, and for a boss who doesn’t have much experience with this sort of technology; they may not be clear on why they should do it. However, there are benefits to networking a business, many of which improve other processes.
Improved Internal Processes
Coordination and file-sharing become more cost-effective if you network your business. By creating a network, you have the option to share existing hardware. An example of this is when you connect one printer to the network so any computer with access can print. You don’t need a dedicated printer per device anymore. You are still paying money for setting up the network, but that is a fraction of the cost of buying multiple printers.
The network also makes sharing files between employees easier. They simply have to move or copy the file into the right places, where colleagues can access them. This improves efficiency, as there’s no longer that delay as someone prints the files and hands them to the other office physically. With the right software, it is possible to have people working on the file simultaneously, allowing for smoother, more coordinated efforts.
The “Assembly Line”
Since your employees can now coordinate and cooperate regardless of distance, as well as get updates in real-time, inter-office work becomes much smoother. It allows for an easier “assembly line” approach, where departments pass along a task to complete each stage of the necessary work. This would be time-consuming without a network that makes communications and file-sharing so easy.
Communications across branches or offices are also made easier. You can have an internal network that allows for sending emails or chat discussions. This allows for rapid, real-time communication between offices, even if they’re on different continents.
Of course, even if the business is small and localized, it can still benefit from better communications. Removing the need to walk away from one’s station just to clarify something may not seem like much, but that adds a little extra productivity and reduces wasted time. In the end, these small increments add up.
Whether you go with a LAN patch cable or wireless, a network also lets you centralize important data. This makes it easier to retrieve and review. You can access that data from any computer or device that has the right authorization and modify it. It makes updating and reviewing much simpler, allowing you to spend more time on making use of the data to improve operations.
Networking improves efficiency and allows for the sharing of ideas. This smoother process makes people more productive, which in turn can generate more income. A networked system also allows for better service, since every department can better coordinate with each other to handle a customer or client’s concerns. This, in turn, can help a business grow because the positive word of mouth good service generates can turn into new clients.
Computer networking also improves interoperability in the office. Networks make it possible to start up a document on one device, present it on another, and make adjustments on the fly on a portable one. This means that in theory, provided the devices are granted access, you can have people working from anywhere and still get the job done.
One issue people had in the olden days was that network compatibility was limited. Only certain hardware and software supported these features. Nowadays, this is no longer the case and your business has the freedom to choose what hardware suits its needs and still create a centralized network. There are far fewer restrictions, especially if you decide to have a wireless component so portable devices like tablets can get in on the action.
Networking also cuts down on some software costs. Developers offer networked versions of software, which means that you only need one instance of installation on the network. Anyone can still use all of the features without issue, even if you only have one “copy” of the program. These versions are a little more expensive than average, but they’re far cheaper than buying multiple licenses to install on separate devices.
Communications technology and networking have changed the way businesses work. While not every business is going to tap into all of the benefits above, all ventures can get better efficiency and communications with a network setup. It can help them grow and improve, making the investment in the network hardware one that pays for itself with time.