How can you use IT to boost business expansion?

Here are some interesting uses of IT tech that could see smarter working bolstering your business expansion plans.

Does business expansion rely on the greatest business minds applying themselves longer and harder than the opposition?

In reality, it probably doesn’t. Now, that’s not to say working hard won’t get you places – simply that working smart will get you there in half the time.

So, if it’s smart you’re looking for, you’re probably not going to go far wrong exploring what’s possible with IT. From cloud collaboration and global recruitment to opening new location in a matter of days, we’ll run you through some interesting uses of IT tech that could see smarter working bolstering your business expansion plans.

Looking for international talent

What would bringing world class talent to your business do for your expansion plans? There’s every possibility that one or two additions to your team would inject an incredible amount – but does your location allow for this kind of international pull?

If the answer is no, IT has a solution.

Bringing remote or freelance staff onboard can now be done simply, even if their commute would mean a 12-hour plane journey. For the large part, we’ve got ‘cloud working’ to thank for making the world a smaller place. Cloud computing is really just a concept, the idea that data, applications and other resources are stored and accessed centrally, rather than on your site.

With this information stored centrally, there’s no difference between your latest recruit sitting opposite you – or at the other end of a data and video link on the other side of the planet.

In actual fact, there is a difference, but the impact might not be what you’re expecting, as we’ll showcase in our next point.

Collaborating effectively

Which team works more effectively? The bunch of people who share and office, a coffee machine and a favourite local coffee shop? Or the team who’ve never met one-another, potentially working on other continents?

The answer might surprise you – as studies show that we work most effectively with colleagues when we collaborate online, rather than from one desk to the next.

IT is obviously the only way to make this happen – but the tech giants (think Microsoft, Google, Adobe and the like) are well ahead of the game, ensuring that their latest products are delivered ‘as a service’ – that’s to say, online and available to anyone with an internet connection, rather than through bought licenses and individual installations on static machines.

So, when you’re planning expansion, don’t be put off by the fact that you’re putting geographical space between your team members – the chances are you’re going to be increasing effectiveness, even if the Christmas party takes a little more planning…

Opening new locations

Discussion about opening new business locations is likely to lead you down a path of cursing IT logistics, rather than celebrating what’s possible – but try not to be hasty, not all is as it seems.

Your network almost certainly revolves around your internet connection – and when you talk to an internet circuit delivery company (think OpenReach, Verizon, etc) you’re likely to be staring down the barrel of 3-6-month delivery times. In many cases, this makes it downright impossible to move your business.

So how about you run your network with the same technology that delivers the internet to your mobile phones?

Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you power your entire company or location’s network with a single 4G SIM, instead, we’re suggesting you embrace the technology that lets you bond a potentially huge number of these SIMs into a fully workable enterprise level network connection.

This is the technology behind 4G Wider Area Networks – and the ‘network in a box’ style of deployment means a good managed network provider could have your new site up and running within days – a fraction of the time it would take to get a permanent circuit to your new location.

If expansion looked unlikely because of networking logistics delays, 4G rapid site deployment is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. This article gives you some questions to ask any 4G WAN provider to make sure they’ll deliver exactly what you need.

Maximising temporary locations

4G WAN doesn’t just let you relocation your business – it lets you expand into areas that weren’t previously possible without a secure network connection.

Ever wanted to show your company, product or service at an expo or show?
Looked into the benefits of pop-up retail?
Wanted to put a team on-location with an important client?
Needed to set up a temporary office on a site?

If the answer is yes – or at least, you see some expansion potential in doing any of the above, then 4G WAN could come to the rescue. Again, the benefit comes from the ‘in a box’ nature of the technology, so, talk to a 4G WAN provider, tell them what you’re hoping to achieve at your temporary site – and they’re pre-configure a system that you’ll receive the following day, switch on and connect to.

When you work with 4G WAN, you’re likely to be establishing yourself as one of, if not the, most responsive business in your field.

Put people on the road

What would road-based sales people do for your expansion plans? Or consultants that could set up on a client site quickly and easily? Perhaps engineers that use their vans as mobile offices with full connection to your central computer system would mean you could push your service to the next level?

Combine a 4G router with cloud-based applications and a hybrid network – and you’re there.

Those three elements might sound complex, but actually, they’re not really any more costly or complex to establish than a traditional wired network. A road-based staff member carries a small portable router with a 4G SIM within, they use applications that only require that internet to access – and your network is set up to allow it all to happen – safely and securely.

It’s normal to think that your location somewhat hinders your expansion plans – but what if establishing an office in Tokyo, New York or Sydney only required this kind of technology? We already know that international talent can be even more effective when working remotely – and the tech that’s needed to establish an international workforce is readily available and cost-effective.

IT can truly bring global expansion to your business – with costs to finances and time that are reducing every day.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of and from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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