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Three key considerations for Australian SMEs choosing new tech


Digitisation is vital for Australian small businesses, as it allows them to do more with less and punch above their weight. 

New data reveals just how important it is for SMBs to be at the forefront of digital change and customer demand. For example, AI and automation are heavily on the agenda, with 45% of SMB retailers seeing greater employee retention and increased profits as a result of their automation investments, and 67% of customers preferring businesses that use automation over live staff in at least one area. Keeping up with the demands of younger generations, as their purchasing power continues to grow, is also a priority with over half (56%) of SMB retail owners taking a closer look at their marketing tactics for Gen Z – a substantial increase from just 43% in 2022.

But while digital adoption and innovation among Australian SMBs appear to be thriving, there’s no doubt that striking a balance between innovating enough to keep ahead of the competition, and doing so while managing the purse strings, can be an incredibly tricky juggling act. With so many technologies out there – including the advent of artificial intelligence and automation, with different price points and offerings – it’s important that small business owners consider some of the key fundamentals when adopting technologies and building their tech stack. 

Here are some of those: 

Under one roof

One of the easiest mistakes a business can make is by selecting technology solutions from multiple vendors that don’t work well together. Instead, when building a tech stack, businesses should look to consolidate as much from single businesses as possible.

This is much more cost-effective and impactful than paying for siloed technologies, as you’re getting multiple tools under a single or tiered price point, and the technologies have been purpose-built to share data seamlessly and work together. It also significantly reduces unnecessary administrative burden dealing with multiple vendors.

For example, you might look for a point-of-sale system with inbuilt inventory management linked to your payment and sales data, meaning you never run low on stock. Or you might consider adopting an accounting technology which offers inbuilt services like payroll and reporting tools which help you make informed business decisions.

Whatever the technology is that you are looking to acquire, have a look at their proprietary tech stack, consider how it measures up against their competition, and ensure that they are providing a complementary mix of technologies that solve multiple problems for your business. 

The power of integration 

And where your technology partner doesn’t provide a first-party solution, using third-party integrations can be incredibly useful. For example, lean towards platforms that integrate with key technologies already used in your business, or you plan to use down the track. 

For example, you might look for point-of-sale technologies that integrate with your preferred accounting software, or productivity tools and CRM systems that integrate with your preferred communication and collaboration tools. POS software like Square, for example, integrates with the likes of Xero, Intuit Quickbooks, and MYOB; while CRMs like and Trello integrate with the likes of Slack, Gmail, Microsoft Teams and Outlook. 

Whatever the technology is that you’re looking for, take a look at the makeup of their entire platform and ecosystem, and consider whether they integrate with the tools you use in the daily running of your business. 

Look at total cost of ownership

As the cost of doing business intensifies, it’s important to find value in the technology providers you partner with and keep an eye on any additional expenses that creep up.

While some providers may draw you in with low introductory offers, they may then add fees for services that you value, or tack on monthly charges. These can add up, and that’s why it’s important to look at the total cost of ownership. 

One area to look at when ensuring you get the most value is in bundled pricing. Bundled pricing in the payments industry gives businesses access to more value-add software tools – like point of sale, data and analytics, sales reporting, and risk management, PCI compliance, security – while at the same time reducing the complexity in having to manage costs for different card acceptance. 

When considering a new technology, look for those that offer clear pricing structures, with no hidden fees or ongoing charges, and that offer an ecosystem of tools included to ensure you’re getting the most value. Knowing exactly what the pricing is removes ambiguity and enables you to focus on running your business, accurately forecast, and better manage your balance sheets. 

Getting it right

There’s no doubt that operating and growing a small business requires careful decision-making. And with digitisation being such a vital cog in how your business operates and serves its customers, getting that component right is critical. 

While there may not be a certified playbook in nailing it exactly, taking things like quality, clear pricing and the overall tech stack on offer into consideration can really help to put you in the driving seat.

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