Since the start of the third industrial revolution – also known as the digital revolution age – in the mid 20th century, businesses and corporate organisations have always adopted improved ways to function digitally.
The rapid adoption of digital tools by businesses didn’t begin until the late 90s at the height of the internet boom. This golden era heralded the rise of digital products like cloud software which have transformed the way businesses and organisations store important data from meagre physical hard drives sizes of the 60 to the 90s to powerful giant servers housed by software companies like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud Platform.
Using efficient and innovative digital tools has many advantages which include customer satisfaction and retention, improved internal and external communication, time optimisation, low customer churn out rate, information centralisation, etc.
The Rise of GAFAM
Most businesses and organisations that have transformed or are in the process of transforming digitally have adopted the use of some digital tools owned by Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft also known as the Big 5. From cloud storage, collaboration, security, to communication tools, these tech giants have it covered.
The Right Digital Tools
Beyond joining the digital transformation wave, It’s imperative that businesses choose the right digital tool that works for them. For example, an upcoming fashion brand will quickly improve its operational process digitally with a Customer Relationship Management tool like Zendesk, while a Logistics company will prioritise the use of several management tools.
Some tools remain very necessary to integrate across industries and we’ll take a look at 21 of them. Here are 21 digital tools businesses should promptly adopt this year if they haven’t:
Microsoft Teams is one of the most effective digital tools out there for businesses that want an all in one package. It gained prominence during the pandemic last year. The collaborative software, replacing other Microsoft messaging and collaborative platforms like Skype and Classroom, consist of a chat feature where users can chat seamlessly with other users both one on one and as a group, file sharing, meeting, live event and a video/audio call feature.
Microsoft Teams is itself an online workspace where Team members can get work done.
Zoom Video Communications
The Zoom app was pretty much an inconspicuous digital tool that gained so much traction as the go-to social distancing tool during the surge of the COVID 19 pandemic last year. This led to Zoom being the fifth most downloaded mobile app worldwide in 2020 at 477 million downloads.
The video conferencing platform is best used for remote working, distance education (usually known as webinars) and all those boring Monday meetings.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple app store and Google Play Store and also on desktops.
For most individual businesses, especially on social media, the Whatsapp Business app is the go to digital tool. With features such as a business profile, catalogue to show your products and services, auto messaging, QR codes to invite new customers and other features, Whatsapp business allows businesses to enhance operations and provide them with a professional and personalised way to engage with their customers.
The messaging app was created by Facebook as a standalone application for business owners and can be downloaded from the app and PlayStore.
Interfacing with a lot of old and new customers seamlessly can be a hassle if your business has yet to integrate with the right customer service software. This is where Zendesk comes in. The tool helps optimise your customer relationship with features like messaging and live chat, ticketing system, voice, answering bot and so much more.
Sage Cloud Accounting
One of the best accounting software out there, the Sage business cloud accounting platform is a truly transformative digital tool for any business that has adopted it. The software comes fully fitted with advanced inventory, stocks management, invoicing, debtor management, etc and can be used across all industries.
Social media has increasingly become a very important medium used by companies and organisations to communicate with customers. But managing several social media accounts at the same time will require social media management tools like Hootsuite. With Hootsuite, you can manage, plan, schedule and analyse all your company’s social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube) and contents in one place.
The platform comes in 3 different plans; Professional, Teams and Enterprise and can be accessed on the web and downloaded from the app and Play Store.
Arguably the most used digital tool by businesses and individuals due to its simplicity and seamless integration, the Google Workplace, formerly known as Google Suites is a powerful digital transformation tool. The collaborative suite includes well known digital tools like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Slides, My Tasks, Drive and a number of others that employees can use to share real time information.
The digital tools under the G Workspace package can be used independently or jointly.
Before its ban, Twitter was one of the most favourite online tools used by Nigerian businesses for the quick dissemination of information about their offerings.
Its disposition to capture a lot of audience in a matter of minutes makes it a go to affordable marketing tool for small businesses.
Another popular collaborative digital tool businesses can use to work remotely is Asana. Created by a former Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams organise, manage and track their work.
Unlike Microsoft Teams and Google workspace, Asana is a bit limited in features that include automated workflow and reporting, but it’s still a great option especially for small scale businesses and startups.
Google Marketing Platform
This is one of the best digital marketing tools for any B2Bs or B2Cs looking to gain visibility and traction.
The Google Marketing Platform offers solutions like Data Studio (check below for more information), Analytics for reporting, Optimize to test your app or web products and Surveys for fast and reliable opinions from your customers for both Small businesses and Enterprises comes loaded with a lot of rich offerings.
Google Data Studio
The first data analytics digital tool on the list, the Google Data Studio is a data analytics tool like no other. Simplistic in its usage, the tool is used for converting data into customisable and visualisable informative reports and dashboards.
A product of Google Marketing Platform, the Data Studio features include Data Connectors for seamless integration with other Google platforms like Google Sheets and Google Ads, Data Transformation to transform raw data into meaningful information and Data Visualization.
As the name implies, it’s a box where you can drop stuff. Well, it’s a little more than that. It’s a gigantic, remotely accessible box where you can drop and access any of your files.
With Dropbox, you can easily share different files, no matter how large or small, with the rest of your teammates, making it easier to collaborate and co-create. Dropbox can be easily accessed from any computer, mobile device or web driver and its creators assure users of optimal security during file transfers.
Build applications to meet customer demands using AI and machine learning. Test, deploy, manage and scale applications up and down depending on demands.
Do all of this and even modernize your existing applications with Microsoft Azure.
Do we even need to go deep into this one? I’m guessing no. But we’d do it anyway for the sake of those who aren’t still in the know. One of the most important tricks with marketing and digital marketing is understanding where exactly your customers are and meeting them right there.
With this in mind, think of who your ideal customers are, think of what they’d most likely be doing during the day at every moment when they get a breather from work. If you can picture them scrolling through Instagram feeds, then you already know your business page should be one of those feeds they’re feeding on. (hmmm. So that’s why they call them feeds. Oh! you just learnt something extra. I should get a tip for that).
If you also sell furniture, clothes, tech gadgets or just about anything, Instagram has a shopping feature that allows you to sell directly to your customers right from your device.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems. As of May 2021, 41.4% of the top 10million websites around the world uses WordPress.
This tool enables users to create websites or blogs for any purpose and helps manage the contents deployed on the website after creation for great SEO ranking.
TalentSoft is a cloud based HR software that enables Human resource managers to have better interactions with other managers across the organization as well as employees. The tool has a wide range of features that caters to different HR functions like, recruiting, employee engagement, onboarding and more.
TalentSoft adapts to HR practices across different countries and organizational structures, making the tool effective for talent management on a global scale even whilst it respects local requirements.
DT Assessment tool
Businesses that adopt digital technologies with no other strategy than the sheer aim to compete have found themselves in a puddle 9 out of 10 times. This underscores the importance of the digital transformation assessment tool for businesses.
This tool, which is to be released a month from now, will enable businesses to look inward and find out how ready they are to adopt technology, based on their current operational process and also provide recommendations to help businesses understand what technologies they need to adopt. Ultimately this will help to ensure that businesses can guarantee high returns on their investment in technology solutions.
Your business is incomplete without an email marketing tool. One of the most popular digital email marketing tools out there, MailChimp is virtually used by any business – including news platforms and podcast hosts – with a moderate or large customer/audience base.
The MailChimp features which include Audience Management for segmentation and targeting, Creative Tools for content creation, Marketing Automation and Insights and Analytics allow for seamless and faster interaction with customers and integration to other digital tools.
Very few digital tools offer so much comprehensive digital interaction for businesses the way HubSpot does. The HubSpot platform packs a big punch; it combines customer relationship management solutions, inbound marketing solutions and other digital solutions into one package and can be integrated with other popular digital tools.
The platform also offers easy to use free features to help businesses grow their audience base online.
Trello is a visual collaboration tool where users share and manage projects. Unlike most collaboration tools on this list, Trello’s unique offering is in its powerful visual perspective to remote work.
Not considered as a go to option for most businesses due to its limited features, it’s still an attractive option for users who want a fun and simple interface to work on.
A list of digital tools for businesses is not complete without a payroll management tool like PayFit. The tool completely takes away the hassle of manually preparing and processing payment of employee salaries and entitlements from Human Resources managers by automating the process using various features like employee portal, onboarding and reporting and exports.