Our research shows that more than 80% of managers in small and medium-sized businesses still use pen, paper and spreadsheets as their primary tools to handle workforce management. Those tools might seem like easy solutions but the reality is that SMBs end up spending a great deal of time on internal administration rather than on business development, resulting in lost opportunities and money.

While consumers and large enterprises have been quick to adopt modern software solutions and mobile apps as means to get a better overview, save time and to optimize their business, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been reluctant to scratch the old-fashioned, manual work processes.

There are many reasons for this. A few years back, IT and software solutions were often related to heavy investments in tech departments and local installments. Consequently, it was primarily simple consumer software or large scale enterprise solutions that were embraced by the market.

However, cloud computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and mobile apps have completely changed the game. SaaS and app solutions focusing on SMBs are quickly emerging, offering great value for little effort. Today, small companies can find simple, low-cost, easy-to-implement and no-maintenance-needed solutions to cover almost any part of their business. For instance, there are tools focusing on marketing automation, sales optimization, social media, document and data storage, booking and reservation, workforce management, inventory management, commerce, and billing and finance. If the right tools are implemented correctly, they have the potential to help managers claim more time and resources to build their core business faster and better.

Read more: How to choose the right workforce management tool

Though, with that said, we are not claiming that every single SMB without these tools are failing miserably. But we do believe – and we have experienced – that the ones who are having great success and high growth are to a large extend the early adopters of smart SaaS solutions, automating manual processes while also improving business processes.

What is the excuse?

So, why do more than 80% of small and medium businesses still rely on pen and paper to cover the aspects of workforce management? When we talk to our customers, they all mention the huge time and money savings they are experiencing after having adopted a SaaS workforce management tool, and they report back to us saying that their staff absolutely love that they can access important work information right from their phone – anytime, anywhere.

After talking to thousands of small business managers, we noticed a pattern in the way they operate. The answer is to be found in their habits. Often these businesses are run by entrepreneurs who are used to getting things done right away. If no one else does it, they simply do it themselves with whatever means they have at their immediate availability. And what they find is pen, paper and spreadsheets. They build something that works and move on with their business. And we get that. Often, that’s exactly the way businesses are built. One step at a time.

Read more: Why we need mobile employee scheduling

However, as many of these companies grow, they lose track of the amount of hours they actually poor into staff planning and staff communication, including shift swaps, vacation requests, tardiness, finding extras, etc. In addition, they have the headache of keeping track of actual work hours to calculate payroll. And what about the hours spent on running all the other parts of their business which are also based on manual processes such as marketing, sales, inventory, bookings, billing, finance, etc.? We are talking hours and hours every single day away from their primary focus. If all that time is spent on fiddling with spreadsheets then how much time is left to actually optimize and build the company?

The solution is right in front of you

When we are out testing the market, we are met by an increased interest in modern SaaS workforce management solutions – which is great. But we still need to get over some hurdles like “Technology is way too expensive,” “We would need an IT guy to support us” and “We don’t have the time to get started.”

The beauty of SaaS is that it’s extremely user-friendly and you can work with it online on any device, anywhere, anytime. Most services even include a highly qualified support team, ready to help with any questions or problems arising along the way. No in-house IT guy needed!

And now for the best part. The cost of having a SaaS solution is being kept on a low as you don’t exactly buy into a heavy piece of software. SaaS solution providers only charge you a low monthly subscription fee for the bits that you need, allowing you to get the benefits without it hurting your cash flow. For most SMBs, these benefits by far exceed the cost. As an example, our customers report 75% saved administration time, 5% saved on payroll and a significant increase in staff satisfaction.

We expect that in the next five years almost all SMBs will move away from Excel and papers, and adopt a modern SaaS solution. The benefits of doing so are simply too great to ignore! We still meet SMBs reluctant to make the shift to a modern SaaS solution, but more and more take the jump. Right now, there is a window of opportunity, as the early technology adopters gain significant competitive advantages compared to the ones who are waiting. Do you dare to wait?

Would you like to try to work with a SaaS product? Have a free go right here.

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Christian Jørgensen
Christian Jørgensen