By Susan Chive

It was allegedly Francis Bacon who first coined the phrase ‘knowledge is power’ back in the 16th century. Fast-forward a few centuries and the sentiment is as true today as it was back then, if not more so. The rapid acceleration and expansion of Information Technology (IT) has brought greater knowledge within reach of everyone’s fingertips. Nowadays, it’s not just the knowledge, but the speed with which that knowledge can be put to good use that puts one company ahead of another.

The Web is Not Enough

So you’ve got a website, complete with bells and whistles, and customers are flocking to take advantage of your great product or service. If this isn’t the case, then you’ve got major problems. Every company has a web presence and those who buck the trend are likely to face oblivion in the next few years, if not months.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that a mediocre or even satisfactory website is enough to keep bringing in the orders. In order to stand out from the crowd you need your website to be eye-catching, intuitive, informative, relevant and timely. That means constantly updating information and making sure that customers want to visit your site, rather than those of your competitors.

Perhaps you have the best web designers that a good salary and great working conditions can provide, but are they always up to date with the latest skills and trends? Do you set aside a healthy portion of your IT budget to keep your staff informed and their skills current?

Complacency is toxic when it comes to growing and maintaining your business, so make sure your website, your developers and your IT staff are always at the peak of their game.

Imparting Information Throughout the Organization

Whether you are supplying a product or service, you need all of your business personnel to be in possession of appropriate and relevant information at all times. From the sales staff out in the field to administrative staff, your employees should be able to offer customers and suppliers accurate and timely information at any point in the supply chain.

This is why an increasing number of organizations are recognizing the potential gains to be made by implementing a business-wide approach to software. Centralized information that can be accessed by employees from a range of devices, such as laptops, tablets and mobiles, enables all users to confidently access and manipulate real-time data.

Obviously, the implications of introducing this type of software across an entire organization are immense, which is why so many companies choose to outsource the work, at least initially. Specialist companies such as BrightStarr are experts in Sharepoint development, for example, and have all the necessary skills and knowledge to assess your digital communications and software platforms and implement a workable solution.

Integrated and intuitive software allows your personnel to concentrate on their specific roles without worrying about working with out-of-date or misleading data. Working from the office, at home or out on the road, every member of the team can access quality data, manipulating and changing it as necessary, safe in the knowledge that everyone benefits.

Knowledge is indeed power. Make sure that your company has the necessary knowledge to outperform your competitors.

Susan Chive is the former professional editor of Business Owner Magazine, where she worked for over six years. Chive helped develop custom publications, online content and other article products for B2B marketers seeking to reach small-business owners. Along the way, she is learned a lot about everything from publishing, design and manufacturing to project management.