New Microsoft research suggests that two trends are converging and changing the market landscape for SMBs. These are:
- SMBs are accelerating their digital transformation journeys
- SMBs are turning to platform solutions to help them do more with less
For Microsoft, these trends stem from an overarching truth: SMBs recognize that they must adapt and evolve to survive.
Indeed, economic uncertainty, supply chain constraints, and cybersecurity threats have somewhat muddied the bright outlook many SMBs once forecasted.
Thankfully, Microsoft shines a light on the potential solutions, highlighting four pillars that will allow SMBs to focus their transformation efforts:
- Enhance digital security
- Grow the business and innovate
- Improve business efficiency
- Empower talent
The first likely requires investment in an end-to-end solution for security, compliance, and identity management, alongside managed services to ensure remote employees work safely.
However, the other three may require less funding, with an analytics solution often the ideal tool to help businesses advance each area.
Unfortunately, this approach is sometimes dismissed in SMBs, as analytics seems an intimidating venture. Yet, Colin Gill, Head of Product and Solutions at Akixi, suggests otherwise. He says:
“At Akixi, we think insights, not analytics. Our product is set up to surface opportunities for SMBs to increase revenues, maximize productivity, and enhance customer and user experiences in real-time, from the moment the user logs on.”
As a result, SMBs do not have to employ expensive data analysts and systems integrators. Instead, they can harness quick insights to grow the business, improve efficiency, and empower talent. Here’s how.
Growing the Business and Innovating
An insights engine enables SMBs to monitor and act on changing customer behaviours. Such an approach allows businesses to shape innovative strategies that larger enterprises lack the niftiness to adapt quickly.
The concept of “intelligent creativity”, as put forward by Forrester, takes this idea to the next level. It is a problem-solving technique where strategists conceive, develop, and launch solutions with the guidance of data.
In doing so, it suggests that businesses follow a three-step process:
- Define the problem to solve with algorithms and insight
- Develop creative solutions to these problems with the assistance of intelligent software3
- Verify and then scale solutions with machine precision and accuracy
As an example of how this process could help an SMB grow and innovate, consider a business that harnesses Akixi Insights for its metrics engine.
Through the Lost Calls report it generates, the business may recognize it is missing lots of customer interactions at particular periods of the day. This is a missed opportunity to grow its revenues via increased sales and retention rates.
As its solution, the company changes particular schedules, and segments lost calls going forward, adding these numbers to an outbound campaign to re-engage customers.
How many large businesses do this? Very few because they are not agile enough.
Yet, SMBs can more easily verify and scale their strategies by tracking lost call trends, contact volumes, and correlations with various CX metrics within their analytics engine.
Improving Business Efficiency
Microsoft’s advice for improving business efficiency is choosing a central platform to run the end-to-end business. Doing so may help to cut down complexity, costs, and overheads.
Another significant benefit is that the move opens up a marketplace of APIs to best-of-breed technologies, like Akixi.
Nevertheless, ripping and replacing technology is not the only answer. Reimagining business processes is critical, and an insights engine shines a light on how companies can do so.
Consider the Serve More Customers report, available within Akixi Insights. The data within allows users to quickly see when customers typically call. As Gill says:
“By understanding patterns in call traffic through visuals, you can ensure the team is available to take calls when needed.”
Each of these calls counts, whether it’s the start of a sales conversation or the chance to generate customer loyalty. As such, this report can drive new business while maximizing efficiency.
In terms of the latter, Akixi’s Increase Productivity report may also help. The video below demonstrates how it works.
Yet, true empowerment also gives employees more control over how they work.
There are several tactics to do so. For instance, giving employees a voice in how the business measures their performance and rewarding new ideas to tackle tricky challenges can work well.
To support such a three-pronged approach to agent empowerment, Microsoft suggests that:
“SMBs will continue to invest in collaboration solutions to support working from home, building on the solutions that many have put in place over the past two years.”
The addition of analytics may help these businesses rejuvenate and enhance their hosted voice and collaboration portfolio, supporting empowerment in the processes.
Indeed, an insights engine helps to spot trends in remote employee performance, allowing relevant, timely feedback that inspires the team to do more for customers.
Consider Akixi ONE as a final example. It offers a real-time view of individual and team performance, which helps employees self-manage, stay connected, and control their workload.
Navigating the New World with Akixi
According to Microsoft, more SMBs are trying to eliminate redundant solutions, simplify IT management, and protect the digital worker to navigate the current business climate.
In doing so, SMBs crave trusted advice, industry expertise, and customized solutions from the vendors they choose to work with.
Akixi recognizes this and harnesses its specialist knowledge to serve oven-ready, tailored insights to the SMBs it serves.
To find out more, visit Akixi.