3 technology trends all small businesses should know about
It seems like organisations with household names are always ahead of the technology curve.
However considering there aren't very many secrets left in the industry, success isn't solely reserved for larger companies. Australian small businesses account for 97 per cent of all enterprises across the country, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Their growth will largely depend on how active they are with innovative technology, and the result will ultimately set the course for the economic success of the region.
With that in mind, here are three trends that small business owners should be keeping in their sights:
1. The rush to hybrid cloud deployment
It's likely your organisation already uses very basic forms of cloud computing, like Google Docs for instance, which is a Software-as-a-Service. The advantage is that various members of the company can access information no matter where they are – a key feature for start-ups that often don't even have an office space.
75 per cent of businesses currently deploy a hybrid cloud model.
As more powerful applications than Google Docs enter the space, and as the need for greater computing power grows within businesses, we'll begin to see a transition towards hybrid cloud deployment, Michael Warrilow, research vice president at Gartner, told IT Brief. This is manifesting in a move away from legacy infrastructure that compose physical data centres into multiple public and private cloud architectures.
Takeaway: With nearly 75 per cent of global companies focused on cloud integration, Warrilow expects to see a major divestment from self-owned, physical data centres. Review your organisation's needs and capabilities now to ensure it's spending capital with an eye towards the future.
2. Inching closer to business intelligence
It may seem like every new year is earmarked as when big data will be taking over, but the truth is that the insights have been mostly reserved for larger companies with the internal resources to gather and analyse massive amounts qualitative and quantitative data.
As more business intelligence software providers take advantage of the cloud, small enterprises will be able to uncover some of their operational, supply chain or marketing inefficiencies. This hinges on the data streaming infrastructure in place, though. Manufacturing and financial organisations will need to have an architecture that can support high-volume and high-speed streaming, with various connections.
Takeaway: Get your company ready for accessible business intelligence insights by improving its data gathering capabilities now.
3. Shift focus to consumer
Much of the past decade has been dedicated to leveraging technology to spur innovation within businesses, but savvy leaders are now turning the tables and using it to empower customers. Roughly 97 per cent of all consumers will research online before buying a product, Inside Small Business reported. By 2020, an estimated 85 per cent of all shoppers will communicate with artificial intelligence when it comes to returns, purchases or questions, according to Gartner.
The emphasis for IT should be on customer service.
With a bevvy of new applications set to be developed and released over the next few years with the aim of improving customer experience, DevOps and application integration strategies will require much more attention than they have before. Effective IT teams will be essential in gaining an advantage in highly competitive industries. This could be a challenge for small businesses without the financial resources to support their digital initiatives.
Takeaway: Consider moving your IT operations into a managed service if your current team can't handle the complexities that artificial intelligence and customer-facing applications will bring. It's an affordable way to supplement your technological capability.
Contact an ANATAS representative today to learn more about how to prepare your small business for the future.