Technological innovation is progressing faster than ever and technology itself is becoming more integral to the private and public spheres. In terms of running a successful business, you’ll need to be aware of developments within all areas of tech; from artificial intelligence and the ‘internet of things’ to 3D printing, renewable energy, and remote working potential. If your company isn’t up to speed on the latest developments in these areas, you risk falling behind the pack.
The all-encompassing integration of the internet into quotidian life, enhanced connectivity across the world and increased smartphone usage have completely altered the way we live, work and play. A 2018 report from GSMA (the trade body representing interests of mobile operators worldwide) revealed that while in 2016 mobile technologies and services generated 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in Asia Pacific ($1.3 trillion of economic value), by 2020, this will have increased to $1.6 trillion, or 5.4% of GDP in the region.
What’s more, according to research by American Express, IT now accounts for 19% of business expenditure. Technology dictates so much, from how businesses operate and how employees engage with customers to the way consumers buy products/services and how data is managed. Embracing or failing to take advantage of this reality has been the making and unmaking of many businesses over recent years. Upgrading existing technology can offer serious returns for both small and large businesses, with a Deloitte report claiming businesses that have conquered the digital world have revenue growth four times higher than less engaged companies.
Investing in technology is a great way to save time by taking a process you already undertake and making it more efficient. It can also help with automating, simplifying or even eliminating certain tasks that would otherwise take employees days to complete.
Additionally, if your business requires consistent and quick communication between staff and customers, investing in laptops for remote work or mobile technology could be a productive move. Alternatively, if your budget is limited, most of your employees will most likely already have access to such devices anyway. Therefore, setting up an online content management system which they can access via the internet rather than a completely separate device could be a good solution. There is a reason why cloud storage companies and team management apps like Asana, Pipedrive, and Trello do so well. One report suggests that investment in such technology can increase productivity by 20% and that employees who spend 60-80% of their time working remotely have the highest workplace engagement.
Investing in information technology security is important for any successful company. Data breaches will render your public opinion as untrustworthy and could potentially put you out of business altogether. We lock our cars when we go shopping and secure our front doors when we head out to work, so invest in the same measures when it comes to your business. Investing in this area will keep all your employee and customer information safe and protected from unauthorized access. Install security software or perhaps consider having someone trained in this area on site if you have the capacity.
Stand out from the Crowd
Technology and innovation go hand in hand. If you don’t keep ahead of the curve, you run the risk of being outperformed by your competitors. You want to set yourself apart and by using tech as an integral part of your business. With new technology, you'll be more likely to succeed, surpass your competition, and provide the best products or services to your customers. Plain and simple.
Better interaction with customers
Customers are getting smarter by the day. They love and are up to speed with technology and you need to be on the same wavelength to interact and connect with them. For instance, if your customers use Instagram to send you complaints and order queries, but your company checks its Instagram account once a week, you’re going to alienate current and future customers. Everyone else is doing it, so you should too. In fact, 84% of small businesses in the U.S. use at least one social media platform to provide information to customers, and 80% of small enterprises use digital technology, such as instant messaging apps, to communicate with vendors and customers.
Chatbots on company websites are a hit with younger generations too, with 60% of millennials having interacted with a chatbot at least once in their lives. For many of us, waiting on hold and then trying to explain an issue to someone takes far longer than an instant message which can be picked up in seconds and addressed. Indeed, the chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion globally by 2025.
As Nick Bawa, CEO and Co-Founder at Convintus states: “Businesses that didn't pay heed to the internet at the start of the 21st century had a hard time keeping up with the competition. The same holds true today when it comes to technology. Whether you're part of a startup or an established small business, you should always be on the lookout for the next big innovation - not just to stay in the game but to build the next billion-dollar business.”
Investing in technology can help your business thrive in 2019. Whether you’re on board or not, it is the way of the present—and future. With the correct utilization, your employees will spend less time on manual tasks, your data will be safer, internal and external communications will be improved, and you’ll have an edge over your competitors.
Before you jump in, do your research and remember to invest in tech based on your unique business needs and budget. Don’t invest in a new technology just because it is new and innovative. If it isn’t for your business, don’t go for it. Find what will work for your company and your customers, and prepare to succeed.
If you enjoyed on technology in business trends then you should check out our other article on whether all this technology is making our lives easier or more complicated.