If you’re not digitally connected, are you even in business? That’s the question facing practically every business in South Africa right now, from large enterprises down to micro-businesses working from converted garages.

By Shelley Brown, channel sales manager at Itec SA

Fact is, connectivity goes way beyond telecommunications: it’s the access point to a world of technology that’s allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

The good news is that in 2019, high-speed internet connectivity is relatively cheap and freely accessible to all. With connectivity no longer the exclusive preserve of big business, suddenly we’re seeing SMEs reaping the benefits and efficiencies of greater connectivity: higher productivity, improved customer service, better communication, and smoother e-commerce.

What this means is that connectivity is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s an absolute must. If you’re not digitally connected, you will almost certainly fall behind your more tech-savvy competitors. Why? For a start, today’s technologies take away a lot of the effort previously required to run a business. Technology is streamlining operations, automating time-consuming processes, and putting information at our fingertips faster than ever before.

This is giving business owners two precious commodities: time back in their diaries, and new insights into their operations and their markets. Combined, time and insights allow you to grow your business much faster than you could ever have dreamed.

More importantly, though, connectivity gives you the ability to serve your customer better, faster and more accurately. If your people are all connected, on any device at any time, it’s easier than ever to be super-responsive and deliver the kind of service that keeps your customers delighted.

But how do you enter this brave new digital world without having to spend inordinate amounts of time and money on creating your own infrastructure? And who do you trust to navigate this unknown road for you? The short answer is that you don’t have to do much yourself. There are service providers who do it faster, better and cheaper than you – and you should be talking to them.

That’s the magic of the new generation of managed business services providers, which don’t only provide businesses with technology that meets their specific needs, but take care of the headaches like support, maintenance, compliance, security and encryption as well. This doesn’t just mean lower costs, but instant access to the latest technologies – which allows you to bring new business services online quickly as you need them.

The main thing to remember is that digital connectivity isn’t an event: it’s a journey. You can start with the basic phone network and infrastructure, and work your way up the value chain from there as your needs evolve. Suddenly, the digital world isn’t so scary anymore. You just have to jump in.