Content coordinator Jackie Roberson discusses the various digitisation opportunities available for entrepreneurs and the benefits of moving to web-based services.
The drive toward digitisation continues to gain steam. Now more than ever, digitisation offers businesses of all sizes opportunities to be more efficient and competitive in a technology-driven world.
Many entrepreneurs are still learning about their options in the digital realm. Indeed, without a formal IT education (or at least several years of self-guided tech study) the world of web-based business services can be a challenge to navigate. However, with dedication and access to the right resources, smart entrepreneurs can start the digitization process smoothly.
Like many new developments in the digital world, the term ‘web services’ isn’t exactly well defined. In fact, there are at least a dozen definitions accepted by a variety of well-regarded tech sources. Some of the most popular explanations claim that web services include:
There are plenty of terms that novice web users likely aren’t familiar with. For example, XML messaging is essentially the sending and receiving of data fields between software applications, and modular applications include software that is divided into functional units that can couple to form larger applications.
There are hundreds of pages of information regarding web services architecture – including components like WSDL, UDDI, REST and SOAP – but the typical business user rarely needs to understand such complexities. More important is to understand where you can find the services your business needs.
THE POTENTIAL PROVIDERS
Because the meaning of web services is so broad, there are hundreds of business solutions that fall under the umbrella, including trendy software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) options. Businesses can find web services that simplify intra-office communications, like Yammer, or that digitise receptionist duties, like GenBook. There are thousands of potential providers of web services, and it can be a significant chore to sift through them and determine which services are valuable and which are not.
… web services facilitate contact between businesses and consumers as well as among employees
Generally, businesses might find the most benefit in web services providers that offer dozens of services bundled together, like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Depending upon the tier chosen, businesses can use AWS for cloud storage, data analysis, mobile services, digital security, application development and hosting, and much. It makes financial sense to pay a single provider for a bevy of features rather than to seek out dozens of providers for equivalent services.
If your business is just beginning the move to digitisation and you opt to go with AWS, it’s best to have your IT team select at least one employee (or several, depending on the size of your company) to undergo AWS training or hire someone already experienced. Having at least one employee who thoroughly understands the process will ease your office’s transition into the digital world.
THE BIG BENEFITS
The question remains: Why digitise? If a business has survived for decades without web services, what is to be gained by moving everything online?
The most obvious answer is that using web services keeps businesses on an even playing field with their competition. The vast majority of businesses have digitised at least one of their processes, and many have moved completely to the web. Across industries, there are examples of analogue industries losing business to new, digital upstarts: yellow cabs and Uber; hotels and Airbnb; traditional retail and ecommerce. Though digitisation might not be the only solution, it is proving to be a viable way for established businesses to continue turning profits.
Though most experts expect web services to change continuously in the coming years, it is smart for businesses to begin adopting web services now
In short, web services facilitate contact between businesses and consumers as well as among employees. They improve collaboration, which boosts productivity and innovation, allowing businesses to make better products and gain happier clients. Basically, digitisation is a new way to more effectively accomplish an old task, communication, while offering a number of unexpected features, to boot.
Though most experts expect web services to change continuously in the coming years, it is smart for businesses to begin adopting web services now. The more users know about this revolutionary business strategy, the better they can implement it in their own enterprises, and the more they can benefit in the long run.