Despite a focus on IT infrastructure investments over the last two decades, there are still businesses in the UK market that are finding it difficult to update and maximise their digital technological potential.
Investment in digital transformation was predicted by analysts to rise in 2020, but the ongoing effect of the Covid-19 has changed the focus and speed of these investments.
As a result, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), estimated that the UK’s GDP had fallen by 20.4% during Q2 of 2020 (Apr – June) after Q1s 2.2% decline (Jan- Mar).
Now whilst the focus has shifted to reactive upgrades to remote working and cloud computing to cope with restrictions, trends prior to Covid-19 saw digital transformation as a key investment area for future business growth and expansion.
SaaS illustrates some of the most significant features and benefits for greater productivity, expansion and adaptation to a new normal.
Despite however, consistent IT spending over the last two decades; according to a BT study, many UK businesses have found themselves lagging behind the evolution of digital technology across the market.
What’s holding you back?
BT tested around 1000 UK businesses (from SMEs to large enterprises), on their knowledge of 14 new technologies, among others it included hybrid or multicloud SaaS solutions, The Internet of Things (IoT) & predictive analytics.
More than 50% of business leaders and CIOs, were only familiar with half of these. Implementation of cloud and hybrid SaaS peaked at 20% and predictive & augmented analytics, another area found to have international recognition as the future of operations upgrades, had just a 13% adoption rate in the cohort of UK businesses tested by BT.
“Only 20%* of UK businesses had implemented any cloud-based services.”
*Of 1000 business tested by BT
For some, swift digital solutions with unfriendly technical jargon has scuppered more advanced technology adoption.
As remote working becomes the new norm for manyindustries with this capability, the activities sector has seen a boom in personal online and even group activities.
For UK sports organisations and coaching, search trends for online live session rose in the March to April period and sales of home gym equipment skyrocketed.
Not only does this indicate the industries flexibility and adaptable structure but that in the UK at least, there was a clear enthusiasm for keeping active.
SaaS applications are excellent for growing businesses as they are fully configured, your team need only decide which features are best based on your business’s current and possibly future needs.
Files are saved on to the cloud, so for example timesheets are available to your finance team, and registers are available to your coaches, all in real-time with real-time amendments.
With an internal platform for your staff and an external one for your customers, parents or guardians can follow their children’s progress, explore your activities, book and all without long-winded processes that keep your team from maximising their productivity.
Finding your SaaS activities partner
Breaking the barriers for implementing cloud computing, starts with a strategic partner with a strong background in your industry.
It’s essential for the activities sector that your SaaS partner, has a clear understanding of the importance of coaching and customer retention as a path to reducing admin.
Digital transformation through cloud technology should also be incremental, with consistent feedback, guidance. Flexibility should permeate these relationships for strategic evidenced choices.
If your coaching method changes, then your SaaS partner’s platform should be flexible to adapt to those changes.
To find the right partner, you need to ask the right questions.
From the outset you need clarity on your cloud services policy so discuss your stance on cloud hosting with help from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), user experience and internal training & guidance in these conversations.
Make sure any partner is aware of you service level agreements (SLA) and response times – arm yourself with the right knowledge to make the right decisions.
Secure the future of your activities business
SaaS applications can be safer than traditional IT platforms.
Allowing you to create contingency plans for the continuity of your business through unforeseen circumstance, both natural and digital.
Increased connectivity through mobile devices and an increase in targeted attempts to diverge companies of their private data has led to a 10% increase in businesses seeking information on cyber security risks in the UK.
69% of businesses, up by near 10% from 2 years prior, are now backing up their data on cloud servers.
With increased remote working, cloud computing provides a much safer universal access for your team to your platforms’ data, decreasing human error from a proliferation of personal device use.
Running archaic systems with paper registers and spreadsheets is one of the biggest threats to productivity and retaining staff in the activities sector.
Passion for this sector can wane in the face of top-down IT upgrades, that provide them with little geographical flexibility, with lengthy clunky updates and training processes that takes coaches off the field.
Focussing on growth becomes costly and unwieldly, where coordinating between a growing team and greater responsibility for activity-based development puts a huge stress on resources and customers.
The most efficient targeted digital tools can have the most effective inclusive results.
Consider Sport England’s estimation that around 900,000 people work full or part time in supporting, coaching or other roles pertaining to sports or physical activities.
According to recent research, at-risk groups are not hard-to-reach, there is actually a good spread of activities across the country.
In fact, it suggests that coaches need to have access to personal growth and education, so that they can provide the best care and attention to these and all other groups.
Intelligent reporting functions and internal feedback through SaaS, is a pathway to understanding where development needs to be focussed as well as managing logistics like time and costs.
Common Myths about Digital Transformation
Cloud computing solutions don’t actually require every area of your business to commit to being online. Neither is it necessary to have a complete remodel of your internal IT operations systems.
What it can include is an incremental move or a hybrid solution that is calculated to be the building blocks of your cloud usage.
“An estimated 900,000 people work in sports or physical activity.”
As your needs change, or you seek other alternatives to legacy technologies as a precursor to complete removal, you can build on existing systems and explore evolving technologies.
IT infrastructure upgrades especially a SaaS solution in an industry as dynamic as activities, should not be left to stagnate in an IT department or with the sole tech-orientated person in the business.
Building solutions with feedback from your team ensures that solutions have accountability, solve actual problems, and evolve at a speed that makes it easier to absorb.
SaaS applications offer ample latitude for customisation, whether it is tracking staff hours, monitoring usage for funders or allowing parents or guardians to book, follow progress and buy equipment – paperless, automated, quick and efficient.
Achieving the best relationship
Create the types of cloud processes that can be A/B tested by your team as the foundation of your IT structure.
This provides you flexibility in two main areas; the first is providing you with space to reduce your admin by having a clear idea of where automation can take place or which systems effectively.
The second, is where technology evolves, an infrastructure with some element of hybridity is better able to keep up with the speed of change.
As a configured platform, being open to change and using your system actively for your business, is really all that’s required to reach optimum usage.
Hubspot for example, uses Starbucks as a great indication of customer retention, creating a system that ‘empowers customers with convenience’, through a Mobile Order and Pay Feature.
Readily available information gives customers the convenience and control they need to maintain their relationship with your business.
Choose Coordinate Sport
Coordinate Sport has designed its SaaS services specifically to suit an interactive, activities industry.
Designed to be accessible for multiple devices across your team, its functionality is designed to protect your customers and your business from human error and encourage flexibility.
An easily navigable timetable with interactive features to manage and amend bookings, tracking employee payroll and provide insights into usage and optimisation.
All enabling you to have less work but more impact.