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Getting up to speed with real-time business tools

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The ability to instantly share and access data means that tasks which once took days or hours, are now done in milliseconds – in real-time. It’s a power which transforms the way we’re able to manage our organisations.

Because in the pre-digital business world the only real-time information that managers could access was what they could see or hear around them. To get proper detailed information would take time.

If you wanted data on sales or stock levels or customer satisfaction, you would have to wait for numbers to be crunched, spreadsheets to be filled and reports to be completed.

It meant that you could only ever obtain a blurry snapshot of what was happening within your organisation, and one which was permanently out of date – by days, weeks or even months.

The arrival of real-time business tools means that, for the first time, we have the ability to accurately monitor exactly what’s happening within an organisation, as and when it’s happening.

Real-time GPS tracking allows businesses who rely on mobile workers to know precisely where each and every employee is, even down to the street a delivery vehicle is on.

By removing our reliance on paperwork, real-time information is also changing the way we’re able to manage and monitor company costs. Manual processes, which used to take days or weeks, are now done instantly.

Read more from our Accounts & Tax section:

Traditionally, employee expenses were dealt with in a monthly tidal wave of paperwork. With employees sending of piles of paper receipts to be processed by finance teams. Now, employee costs can be updated and tracked as and when they occur.

Instead of finance teams having to unearth nasty surprises in the weeks after a business trip, decisions on whether to approve or reject an overseas expenditure can be made by managers as they occur.

With a digital expenses management system, warnings and triggers can also be set up to provide managers with instant alerts whenever a suspicious or out-of-policy claim is made.

By having access to this accurate and up-to-date information, businesses are able to react in ways not previously possible – to adopt a much more flexible and fluid management style.

It means that minor issues can be identified and tackled before they’re allowed to mutate into more serious problems. It allows businesses to focus on tackling the causes rather than the symptoms.

As the technology improves and costs continue to fall, these real-time systems are becoming an essential tool for effective management. Organisations who don’t harness these abilities are likely to find themselves left behind.

The challenge facing today’s business leaders is no longer about the access or affordability of real-time tools – it’s about having the attitude to use them. It’s about adapting to a new business approach which is in tune with today’s digital world.

Simply having real-time management tools isn’t enough, it requires a corresponding change of approach, moving to a more fluid and adaptive approach to management. With the right mindset, digital tools provide business leaders with an amazing opportunity to push ahead.

Webexpenses provides a smarter way to manage your employee expenses. Find out more here.

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