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The 7 finest instruments to digitally remodel your online business in 2021

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The 7 Best Tools to Digitally Transform Your Business in 2021

February 10, 2021 8 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.

Digital transformation is bringing innovation and automation to the workplace and is dramatically changing the way companies work. The trend is to adopt digital processes to replace obsolete, manual and legacy methods of performing routine business tasks.

The ongoing global health crisis has only accelerated the pace of digital transformation as more companies switch to remote working models so employees can stay at home. A 2018 survey by Tech Pro shows that 70 percent of companies either have a digital transformation strategy or are developing one. IDC found that to date, companies have estimated to have spent more than $ 2 trillion on digital transformation.

The result is that companies are using a variety of digital tools to handle everything from communication and collaboration to project management and customer relationship management (CRM).

The number and variety of tools available to support companies on their digital transformation journey is staggering. Here are seven main areas that are well positioned for a digital upgrade, as well as the best tools available for each category of business operation.

1. Communication: RingCentral Office

The proliferation of remote workers, who may be anywhere in the world, removes the need for traditional office phone and email systems. Having a unified communications solution that can be deployed anywhere from any device is critical to running a successful business in today’s remote work environment.

The RingCentral Office solution offers a variety of communication and collaboration functions and can accommodate teams of 10 to 10,000 employees. The offer includes integrated functions for telephone, video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing and task management. All communications are consolidated on a single platform, and teams can also share calendars, files, conversations, and tasks.

Advantages: As a comprehensive solution for cloud private branch exchanges (PBX) and VoIP (Business Voice-over-IP), RingCentral also offers fax functions, integrations with artificial intelligence (AI) and an intuitive user interface. It integrates easily with tools like Google Drive and Box, and works with network infrastructure in the US, Europe and Asia. One of the most popular features is the ability to turn conversations into actionable tasks.

Cons: The main disadvantages include additional costs for hardware such as handsets and video conferencing equipment, and workflows that are not as intuitive as they could be. RingCentral’s pricing is also a little steeper than its competitors, though the company is constantly adding new features and functionality.

2. Project management: MeisterTask

The automation and rationalization of project management is an important part of digital transformation. MeisterTask is a task and project management software solution for companies that juggle complex projects.

The offering was developed for teams and enables users to organize and manage tasks in a customizable environment. It contains Kanban style project boards that make it easy to create optimized and automated project workflows. Features include a timeline for planning and visualizing tasks via a color-coded calendar and Gantt-style charts, as well as the ability to assign roles and permissions for different projects. Users can also track time, create team projects that can be shared among multiple employees, add custom fields, and use reports to generate insights into employee workload and productivity.

Pros: Clear user interface, customizable projects and dashboards, multiple checklists, an excellent user interface and a private customizable agenda board that allows users to easily work on multiple projects at the same time

Cons: The simplicity of the functionality can go too far for project customization needs and is not suitable for users who want to implement a traditional waterfall project management solution.

Related Topics: 5 Ways To Improve Your Startup Project Management

3. Customer relationship management: Apptivo

Apptivo’s CRM software offers a variety of features and integrations that make it the ideal choice for today’s remote and geographically dispersed work environments. Key features include lead capture and conversion, sales tracking, and the ability to customize apps.

Pros: The solution comes with a variety of CRM apps including contracts, sales planning, territory management, work orders and leads. Apptivo CRM integrates with G Suite, Office 365, Slack and RingCentral, as well as with a variety of other applications. It offers a wide range of features that span all aspects of CRM, as well as affordable pricing, an intuitive user interface, and a comprehensive mobile app.

Con: One downside is that it can be a little tricky to set up. On the other hand, due to its flexibility and easy customization, the solution is an ideal choice for SMEs who want to digitally transform their CRM processes.

Related: 3 Key Trends That Are Leading the CRM Revolution

4. Goal and key outcome management: profit

Objective and critical results management solutions, or OKR for short, relate to a goal setting framework for defining and tracking business goals and their outcomes. OKR business tools are used to set, communicate, track and measure goals and results across the organization. Streamlining and automating this process is an important part of digital transformation.

Profit provides OKR software with a hierarchical view of how a team’s goals are aligned with overall business goals and key results. An alignment value is assigned that provides a clear picture of how well a company is aligned with its OKRs. The methodology of the solution enables companies to create, share and assign goals for the company as well as departments, teams and individual employees.

Advantages: The solution can be integrated into Jira, Slack, G Suite, Office 365 and more. Users, tasks and key results can be integrated into the apps and shared. It makes it easier to prioritize goals and helps companies save time and better involve employees. They offer amazing support (100 percent for Capterra’s customer support).

Con: While the tool is fairly intuitive to end users, one reported downside is that it can be overwhelming to set up because of the large number of options. Profit is a great guide to getting users started to navigate through these different options.

5. Team collaboration: LiquidPlanner

While many of the tools described above make communication and collaboration easier, one category of solutions is devoted solely to business team collaboration. LiquidPlanner is a dynamic collaboration tool designed for busy, fast-paced teams. The solution not only offers collaboration, but also automated planning and forecasting when a project will be completed.

Pros: LiquidPlanner highlights include the ability to set priorities at the project and task level, estimate how long it will take to get a task done, and automatically level resources. This allows teams to reassign tasks and work based on the availability of employees and their skills.

Cons: One disadvantage of LiquidPlanner is its cost – it is slightly more expensive than what its competitors offer. It also has a slightly steep learning curve for setting up and using.

6. Email marketing: constant contact

The global health crisis has made email marketing more important than ever, as face-to-face interactions are at best less common. Streamlining and automating the process is an important step toward digital transformation, and Constant Contact is doing all the heavy lifting. It does a number of online tasks, from launching an email marketing campaign to building a website.

Pros: Constant Contact’s features include the ability to upload products to an online shop, increase sales and improve presence on social media. It handles the entire email marketing process, compiling lists, and integrating e-commerce and social media marketing and advertising. It also provides a full set of tracking tools with real-time metrics of which prospects open, click, and share emails.

Cons: While the offering has an intuitive user interface, the bundled templates don’t offer much flexibility. Another downside is pricing, as the starter email plan has a cap of 500 contacts. Companies have to pay more to add additional contacts. However, the offer comes with a 60-day free trial, so it’s well worth looking for a wide variety of features.

7. Idea management: Brightidea

Idea management is a relatively new phenomenon in business, but there are a variety of tools available to digitize and automate it. The practice involves generating, capturing, discussing, organizing, and evaluating insights and thoughts that would not be explored through routine processes.

The Brightidea Idea Box offers a comprehensive solution right from the start. The offer acts as a “always available” digital suggestion box for collecting ideas from wherever the employees are. It includes an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and a full mobile app to make collaboration easy.

Pros: Features include the ability to track return on investment (ROI) and business impact using an analytics engine that provides deep insights. The platform scales easily to meet changing needs and essentially creates a robust innovation pipeline.

Cons: One disadvantage of Idea Box is that the large number of features and applications can make it confusing to use, as well as the large number of widgets and options that need to be configured. Some users have also complained of difficulty customizing the solution.

The way to digital transformation

The above tools are some of the best tools available to help companies on their digital transformation journey. By taking a slow and measured approach to adoption, organizations can add great value by automating and streamlining a variety of their operational processes.

Related topics: Why digital transformation is more about people than technology

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