How well do you know your business?

Mobile technology and business intelligence (BI) are fast becoming bywords for good business practice. In a world where stock markets are volatile and economies across the globe are shakily trying to find their feet, companies need to get closer to their organisations than ever before.

Operating in what is effectively a ‘cash flow’ economy, funds are increasingly being guarded by companies who are nervous about where – and where not – to invest their time, effort and money. Partly this concern is about what the future holds but it’s also a reflection on the fact that they don’t have access to the BI on which to base their many choices.

By getting more connected, organisations can start to move from indecision to decision. And technology is the glue that binds everything together.

Having the right BI software and technology, like the iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone and other such platforms, will provide the necessary infrastructure and mechanisms. After all, businesses are often awash with data; BI tools and dashboards simply pull this information together and then present it in a meaningful manner.

And by this, I mean meaningful for the whole organisation not just the Board. It should encompass everyone. Business leaders need to understand exactly what’s happening within their company. What trends are evident? How strong is the cash flow? Should the business transfer £1m from the reserve account to the current account?

For employees, they need access to information that will help them carry out their role more effectively. Everyone should be focused on adding more value to the business. For example, if I meet a customer I need to know what conversation I should be having with them, whether I should be discussing an outstanding debt or offering them a discount because of their strong purchase history.

More and more we’re becoming a networking society where businesses are looking to work with likeminded people – and this applies to peer groups and suppliers as well as customers. Technology can give business an advantage in this respect.

What was once only available as a desktop application is now available on mobile platforms. Business people are returning to base infrequently and spending more time on appointments. Every moment counts at every level within the organisation.

Whilst the economy might be uncertain right now, our focus should be on seeking out opportunities or reviewing the way our organisations operate and the products and services it provides. It’s important to remember that there have been many great ideas and great companies born in such times including Google and PayPal, both of which thrived in a slowing economy. Then there are companies like HP that launched at the end of the Great Depression.

Businesses like these are an example of what can be achieved. Testing times force us to think and respond differently, not to rest on our laurels – and that’s a good thing. The status quo is no longer an option. Using technology solutions intelligently will help us to understand our businesses more thoroughly so we can respond appropriately to the moment and uncover golden opportunities as a result.

Stuart Allsopp has worked with Access for almost 20 years. During that time he’s gone from support engineer to overseeing the development team and has recently been promoted to chief technology officer. For a number of years Stuart owned a reseller business, working with Access. He remains passionate about innovation and technology and has continued to contribute to Access’ growth through ensuring that solutions meet customer demands.