My kids went back to school for their first day after the Easter holiday today, I take a keen interest in how they do at school and how the school is performing and as I have technology in my blood a lot of this attention is around the use of technology.

A lot of people are against the increased use of technology in school and from a distance I can see their point of view, however when you consider some of our dearest will be performing jobs which have not been invented yet and that they will certainly be using technology that has not even hit the R& D labs at the likes of big players such as Google, they need to grow up with emerging technology.

Perhaps the schools around the South East are isolated but I have walked into them as a Parent and a Governor and seen amazing use of technology, Smart White boards are everywhere, computers in every room, if not on every desk, video equipment for media production, tablets etc, and its not just the hardware, here in East Sussex they use a Cloud based systems for home/school learning, this means we as parents can see what work they are producing and the feedback they are getting from the teachers all in an adhoc manner. This does not weaken the parental link with school it strengthens it.

This is what can be seen at a normal Primary School, then you have the specialized centers, recently I had a chance to go with the local Chamber of Commerce (@CrowboroChamber) to the new Creative Learning Centre at Beacon Community College in Crowborough a £3.5 million investment, an amazing learning resource using emerging technology such as 3D cinema, rooms capable of projecting video on to every wall and systems that track body movements , a fully immersive learning resource.

Looking at the kids using this centre and other technology, you can just see them engaging in education because this is the same sort of technology they are using at home to play games and socialise. But when they go out into the wide world of work this emerging technology disappears and they are left with old PC’s and obsolete software to do their job, not very inspiring is it.  I don’t blame the SME’s, as the Director of an SME myself I understand cost is an issue, you have to make tough decisions on technology ‘if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it’ comes to mind and this puts technology to the bottom of the funding list. But we should be giving technology an increased position within business, new technology can, if managed in the right way, lead to a number of advantages including increased markets, reduced overheads, agility in change and if it engages your staff and makes you a better employer even better. So what as an SME should you consider:-

  1. Cloud, Yes, I know this is getting boring and tedious, you can’t go to a seminar or event without it coming up but it is a place where SME’s can see cost savings, improve client and supplier servicing and agility in changes to name just 3 benefits.
  2. Mobility, if your staff are on the move regularly make sure they are able to work wherever they are, this reduces cost and improves your ability to respond.
  3. Hot desking, an old term but would it not be good to allow your staff to work from home if they could not make it in. Again improves the businesses ability to respond at the same time improves the morale of staff.
  4. Social Marketing, This not only has the ability to increase your sales but also manage your existing clients and their expectations.
  5. System Integration: Look to get rid of repetitive jobs of moving data from one system to another, this type of function is error pone and boring, its not good for business or the staff.
  6. New PC’s / Hardware, how much time do you waste waiting for your PC to respond, consider new hardware to improve your response time and the ability to take advantage of newer software and ways of working.
  7. Collaboration, use systems which improve collaboration and sharing of work tasks and projects.

These are just a few of the things I am discussing and helping to implement with my clients, get the strategy right and it should make you money, not waste it.