Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria
In recent years, the global economy has faced and continues to face numerous challenges, including a pandemic, war, climate change, and inflation. Businesses have had to adapt and find new ways of working to tackle these challenges. Nigeria is no exception.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, the annual inflation rate accelerated to 24.08% in July 2023, the highest since September 2005. This has affected everything from electricity tariffs to transportation, all crucial to the performance of Nigerian enterprises.
Fortunately, by adopting the right technologies and using them the right way, enterprises can ensure that they’re in the best possible position to tackle these challenges head-on. Technology does not only enable enterprises to cut costs, find efficiencies, and unlock higher productivity levels; it also allows them to engage with customers better and find new avenues for growth.
Hybrid work model backed by robust collaboration tools as a means to cut costs
Embracing remote and hybrid work models can exponentially decrease the costs associated with maintaining an office space. Think reduction in the costs of diesel or fuel, WiFi, office leases, facility management, and so on.
Collaboration and communication tools have also substantially evolved to support distributed workforces, helping enterprise teams stay connected from afar and sustain efficiency and productivity. Video conferencing, project management, and various collaboration tools help ensure that team members can work together regardless of their physical location.
Remote and hybrid work can also make it easier to expand into new regions. There are, for example, companies in Nigeria that now work with team members in Kenya, South Africa, and other parts of the world with ease.
Embracing cloud-based storage
Another factor to consider is the ability to work and save more information to the cloud, eliminating the need for excess paperwork and large machinery that often leads to extensive hardware maintenance. Moving paperwork like payroll processing, salary disbursement, customer records, and support inquiries to the cloud opens up further potential to analyse available data and automate repetitive tasks where necessary.
This can significantly reduce the manual labour of data entry for staff, thereby making them more efficient and productive. The cost benefits that emerge from cloud-based storage and software are numerous, ranging from reduction in material (like paper) costs, cost savings from clearing up office space, and cost optimisation by proper resource utilisation towards important tasks rather than monotonous labour.
Understanding what the customer wants
Most businesses also deal with retail and distribution in one form or another. As such, there is a need for businesses to maximise their online presence to reach out to target audiences and have access to a wider customer base while reducing the costs and labour associated with physical marketing. Data analytics and similar tech tools can help determine the level of attention that a campaign or product is getting and what type of audience demographic is engaging with it. Analytical tools will further help track relevant information and lead to better decision-making as well as allocation of resources.
From customer relationship management to energy efficiency, and improved cybersecurity to financial management, cloud technology has played a huge role in establishing a better work environment, and it is definitely the way to go in today’s business world. Cloud technology vendors have also adapted and modernised their offerings across multiple business areas to suit today’s landscape and help companies scale and improve efficiency. Zoho, for instance, has over 55 products as part of its cloud portfolio, which caters to an array of business needs from sales, marketing, and business intelligence to employee collaboration, HR, and finance.
To implement these technologies successfully, Nigerian enterprises should additionally consider conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis, investing in training employees, and ensuring that their IT infrastructure is secure and well-maintained. These are equally crucial for achieving long-term competitiveness and cost optimisation through technology.