Leveraging the app ecosystem to achieve fast and affordable scalability
- Emerging digital ecosystems is the future of software and may account for revenues of over US$60 trillion by 2025
- Businesses can use complementary apps to increase operational capacity without affecting their bottomline
Unlike large enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often have to operate with a lean team, especially in their early years.
For instance, digital solutions enable staff to spend more time on activities that directly add value to the business. They can also empower SMEs with insights into business performance and trends when they digitise data storage which feeds into data analytics tools.
Software creators thus need to recognise that competitors or players in other industries may become their partners. According to McKinsey, this “emerging set of digital ecosystems could account for more than US$60 trillion in revenues by 2025, or more than 30 per cent of global corporate revenues”.
Check out some ways in which businesses can leverage app ecosystems to achieve business success.
Inventory and e-commerce apps
SMEs in the retail and e-commerce spaces can integrate apps for inventory management, sales, advertising, customer service and accounting. By leveraging the app ecosystem, businesses can streamline the management of inventory, warehouse, and fulfilment processes and sync data on sales, purchase orders, shipping information, receipts, payments, profits and taxes.
There are also tools that help businesses automate accounting for e-commerces sales, fees, inventory and cost of goods sold. They can automatically sort and aggregate data from invoices and transactions and send these to an accounting platform to populate financial records.
Payroll and HR efficiency
Administrative and human resource (HR) personnel can use digital modules for managing payroll, staff data, leave, claims and attendance. They can use apps that automate the calculation and uploading of staff contributions and taxes, and use APIs to automatically push payroll details to the company’s financial accounts.
Faster financial services
Financing is one major concern for SMEs. In 2017, the global trade financing gap stood at US$1.5 trillion. This gap is especially pronounced for SMEs and fintech platforms have stepped in to meet this underserved market by offering alternative financing methods with faster, less complicated processes compared with that of traditional loans.
By leveraging these kinds of app integrations, businesses need not go through the time-consuming process of preparing financial reports and documents. They simply have to authorise the sharing of selected data from their cloud accounting platform with the lender to facilitate loan assessment.
For example, SMEs that are applying for invoice financing can link their accounting tool to relevant platforms that are API integrated. This allows the lender to assess the invoices that the business can put up as collateral in order to secure funding within 24 to 48 hours.
Preparing reports is a tedious task, but using APIs to connect reporting and accounting apps is not simply a matter of saving time. Such integrations enable businesses to have real-time reports, which gives them full visibility into their financial data.
Integrated payment system
SMEs use online payment platforms for a variety of reasons, such as payroll for remote teams and accepting payments from overseas.
Streamlined customer operations
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools allow sales, marketing and customer service personnel to get a bird’s-eye view of their customer operations. They help streamline information and tasks regarding potential, current and past customers.
If your business has found that the use of a CRM system increases your efficiency, you can further optimise and streamline your processes by integrating it with other software you use. Integrations include tools for marketing, content publishing and website analytics, which will allow you to understand where sales leads are captured.
Benefits of app ecosystem