When it comes to a successful digital transformation, it’s important to have a strong purpose and strategy to propel your business forward – and in your strategy, you need the right tools to guide you through the process.
From free file sharing websites to integrated blockchain technology, there are thousands of software systems and tools you can introduce to make the shift to digital processes.
SMBs don’t have the same resources or budget that enterprise-level organizations have to invest in expensive digital transformation. That’s why we’ve assembled a roundup of free resources to help pave the way for your digital business.
File Storage and Sharing
Using the cloud for file storage is an easy way to organize all your team’s content, tune out distractions and get everyone coordinated. Using the right tool allows you to protect your valuable files in a way that’s still accessible online to everyone on your team. With the right platform, you should be able to access, edit and store your files from anywhere, whether you’re on the road or in the office.
For example, Microsoft OneDrive offers a free plan that allows for 5GB of storage with all of the same security measures as their paid subscription. According to OneDrive, “Microsoft engineers administer OneDrive using a Windows PowerShell console that requires two-factor authentication. We perform day-to-day tasks by running workflows so we can rapidly respond to new situations.”
Another option for cloud sharing and file storage is DropBox, a leader in the industry. Dropbox’s infrastructure includes multiple layers of protection and support for standards and regulations like ISO 27001 and HIPAA, but unfortunately, they don’t offer a free version for businesses.
Stripe builds economic infrastructure for websites, which allows businesses of all sizes to safely and easily accept online payments and run their financial operations. Web developers can use Stripe to create customized checkout experiences that support your brand and streamline customer experience.
This platform is also created to keep valuable financial information safe. All transactions are SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protected, and Stripe is a PCI Service Provider Level 1 (highest grade of payment processing security.) And, most important of all, all credit card numbers are encrypted and stored in Stripe's state of the art data-center.
Stripe is $0 to start up, has no monthly fees or cancellation fees and, unlike another competitor, Square, has no in-person payment processing fees. Plus, if you’re using other popular platforms used by small businesses, like Shopify or Squarespace, Stripe easily integrates into your current programs.
According to Stripe, “Because we eliminate needless complexity and extraneous details, you can get up and running with Stripe in just a couple of minutes.”
If your team is tired of deciphering long email chains or someone is constantly getting left out of the loop, it may be time to give Slack a shot.
By their definition, “Slack is a collaboration hub, where the right people and the right information come together, helping everyone get work done.” With this workplace messaging tool, you can easily get in touch with your whole team in an instant, whether you’re all in the office or working remotely.
Slack isn’t just for messaging, either. You can also share files with one or multiple members of a company and create different groups to stay organized for specific projects.
For small teams, Slack is absolutely free, and if you choose to upgrade for more features, pricing starts as low as $6.67 a month (billed yearly.)
If you’re looking for a way to digitize your contact information and keep track of your customer interactions and deals in a more accessible way, it may be time to try out a CRM (customer relationship management) like Salesforce or HubSpot.
With CRMs, you can easily organize and segment your contacts, create lists and add notes for each lead for reference in the future. You can also monitor their visits on your website and get deeper insights on their usage. Salesforce’s platform requires a paid subscription, but the HubSpot CRM is free to use and includes a free email marketing tool to help you connect to your audience.
Customer experience should be prioritized through your digital transformation and one of the best ways to automate and streamline their website interactions is to implement a chatbot.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence that engages in a conversation with visitors to your website. They are often easily customizable and can be used to offer product support, connect potential customers with sales representatives, schedule meetings or simply qualify potential leads. Chatbots allow for your employees to focus on higher-level tasks and can notify them when it’s time to respond to inquiries.
HubSpot has a free chatbot builder that allows you to create and customize website bots yourself, with no coding experience required. Simply choose a template based on the goals for your bot and use the visual editor to match your brand’s design, voice and tone. After that, your bot will be ready to field inquiries from leads and hand them off to a live agent once they’re ready.
Start Your Digital Transformation Today
As you’re beginning to gather tools for your digital transformation, our final recommendation is working with someone to help guide you through the process. By investing in a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) to help plan and oversee your progress, you can rest easy knowing that the new digital aspects of your business will all fit together easily and that there’s someone there to keep an eye on your business’s security and productivity.
The experts at Switchfast would be happy to help you implement the digital transformations that can increase lead generation, help save you money and modernize potentially costly processes. Contact us today to learn more about our vCIO services.