If you aren’t aware of the latest technology trends, you could end up playing catch-up to the competition. Your company’s success is closely aligned with a willingness to embrace the new tech frontier.
Maybe you’re taking a “wait and see” approach. Despite customer demand, growing businesses are sometimes slow to invest in emerging technologies. You may also think only large enterprises have the resources to take a chance on leading-edge solutions.
However, these solutions are readily available to companies of all sizes and are often customized to meet the specific needs of small to medium businesses, even with limited resources. Let’s take a deeper dive into the up-to-the-minute advances in new technology.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Although in existence for decades, software as a service is only starting to reach its full potential. The range of SaaS tools increases daily. And many SaaS companies have specifically targeted small to medium businesses with big ambitions.
SaaS is an umbrella term for a wide variety of tech options available on a subscription basis, including cloud computing, digital sales, Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, accounting, payment processing and more.
The benefits of SaaS for growing companies include:
- Lower total cost of ownership
- Easier management and maintenance
- Complete accessibility on any device
- Scalability and flexibility
- Seamless third-party integration
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new concept. There’s a definite buzz about it, and both businesses and consumers are beginning to recognize its possibilities.
Simply put, the IoT connects any device with an on/off switch to the internet and/or each other. In doing so, it accelerates complicated tasks and cuts costs, streamlining operations and opening lucrative revenue streams.
Potential benefits for growing businesses include everything from remote monitoring and inventory management to improved mobility, security and overall efficiency. Here are several ways you can leverage the power of this technology:
- Add virtual assistants.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can improve productivity. These tools can answer payroll questions, schedule meetings, reorder office supplies and help control inventory.
- Reduce costs.
IoT devices that help homeowners save money can also be used by businesses. For example, smart light and temperature controls decrease energy consumption and dramatically cut costs.
- Manage equipment.
IoT sensors can ensure regular maintenance and quick repairs to minimize downtime.
- Access detailed business insights.
With customers’ permission, you can receive direct information about their preferences.
5G technology promises to revolutionize the way we compute, connect devices and interact with machines. It enables faster mobile network speed, higher bandwidth, power and cost efficiency, and greater reliability.
This next generation of mobile networking will allow users to fully harness the power of cloud computing and take digital transformation to new heights. It could also open exciting profit opportunities.
Customers will benefit from the technology’s ability to stream high-resolution video, audio and images with practically no latency. Incorporating 5G into business processes could help organizations be more resilient and competitive.
Marketing and sales automation
Advances in marketing and sales automation are moving at lightning speed, and the business world is taking notice.
Marketing automation nurtures leads with informative content and personalized communications as customers move through the sales funnel. Automation software seamlessly integrates with existing systems to speed a variety of tasks, including advertising, lead management and reordering.
Many companies use automation to enhance customer loyalty. Growing businesses may see quick improvements by adopting automation tools that eliminate much of the time and resources wasted on repetitive but necessary tasks.
The world creates millions of bytes of data every day. Fast-moving businesses often don’t have the time and resources to sort through, understand or take advantage of all this data.
Customized analytics platforms can streamline the process. They generate actionable insights and give businesses the power to leverage, understand and simplify data from various external sources.
The importance of advanced analytics was confirmed by the 2019 Insight Intelligent Technology Index. According to the study of 400 IT decision-makers in the U.S. and Canada, half of the respondents said advanced analytics enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, machine learning and deep learning have been critical to their transformation over the past two years.
Looking ahead, 44% anticipate AI and machine learning will significantly impact the future of IT.
Advanced analytics solutions can benefit growing businesses in five major ways:
- Business dashboards — highly interactive, visual displays that allow others to view, share and explore key data
- Data set creation — an easy, code-free, drag-and-drop interface that pulls data from different sources
- Interactive exploration — helps IT staff manipulate and examine data through visual representations
- Effortless collaboration — allows business leaders to share information, tell a story around data, find collaborators, discuss analyses, and collectively explore issues and make decisions
- Ease of use — not a specific feature or feature set, but a general capability that’s crucial to growing business use
AI has moved beyond the research phase into actual practice. Growing companies can now take advantage of a range of AI implementation scenarios, from voice assistants to personalized customer experiences.
For example, a chatbot is an AI-powered service that lets customers interact with a company via a chat interface. Chatbots have grown in popularity, and many customers have a high comfort level with these conversational agents, especially among millennials with increased buying power.
AI helps maximize efficiencies and automate manual tasks. A Salesforce survey found that 55% of growing businesses cited insufficient time as a major challenge to productivity. AI offers a feasible solution.
Get ahead of the trends.
The ever-expanding world of technology can positively impact your business right now. Implementing all or even one of these innovations may improve both efficiency and profits.