how your business can enter 2017 as a modern brandAs we enter 2017, now is the perfect time to consider whether or not your business is current with the times. Nothing holds businesses back quite like outdated technology and processes, so take the time to reevaluate what you’re doing.

Three Practical Ways You Can Modernize This Year

Outdated processes can feel comfortable, but they’re ultimately more cumbersome than anything else. They slow the rest of your business down and prevent you from maximizing efficiency and creating a positive brand image that reflects progress. With that being said, here are some important, yet practical ways your business can take a step forward in 2017.

1. Move Everything to the Cloud

Most businesses are familiar with the cloud in some capacity. Many use it for email, file storage, and enterprise software. However, you probably aren’t fully maximizing the cloud. Instead of using it for an application here and there, your business could benefit greatly from fully transitioning away from on-premise solutions and towards total virtualization.

For example, are you still using a traditional phone system in your office? This is the sort of area that you may not realize has cloud potential, but the benefits are well worth it. According to Craig Walker, CEO of Dialpad, more than 25,000 companies have already eliminated desk phones and instead opted for cloud solutions.

“By embracing a cloud-first strategy, these enterprises have significantly reduced the IT resources associated with managing on-premise infrastructure,” Walker mentions in this blog post for Dialpad. “For Motorola Solutions, eliminating 100% of desk phones has resulted in over $1 million in cost savings in less than six months.”

This is just one example of an area that can be modernized through cloud technology. Review your current processes and seek out additional opportunities. Not only can you save money, but your reputation as a progressive brand will also be bolstered.

2. Establish Remote Working Policies

Thanks to advances in technology and shifting attitudes towards work, the idea of remote working (or telecommuting) has garnered some attention and is no longer seen as taboo. It’s not even very progressive anymore – it’s simply something employees expect.

If you want to attract and retain top talent, you’d do well to permit remote working. The key is to create a policy that helps everyone stay on track.

“As your company grows, it’s a good idea to put a formal telecommuting program in place to help you keep track of employees who choose to work remotely, and make sure everyone is performing at their peak, regardless of location, ” says Nicole Fallon of Business News Daily.

3. Put the Customer First

From marketing to advertising, the concept of customer-centricity is one that’s gaining a lot of steam and becoming increasingly necessary in a marketplace that demands personalization and attention. As marketer Steven MacDonald puts it, “Customer centric is a way of doing business with your customer in a way that provides a positive customer experience before and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.”

In other words, being customer-centric is all about putting the customer first and tailoring all messaging to the individual in an attempt to make them feel special. While you may feel like this is overkill, it’s what the marketplace is demanding and it’s important that your business evolves to account for this shift in attitude.

Now’s the Time to Move

There’s never been a time in history where innovation has occurred at a more rapid rate than right now. In fact, it’s a dizzying pace and businesses like yours must be prepared to respond. If you don’t, then it’s possible that you’ll miss out on some big opportunities to scale business processes in an efficient and modern manner. A few suggestions have been highlighted in this article, but dozens of additional opportunities for progress exist. Seek them out and always look for ways to move forward with the times.

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