It’s not difficult to see that technology has reshaped our world over the past decade. The business sector in particular has experienced huge shifts as a result of innovative technology; large corporations and small businesses alike are adjusting the modulating technological landscape. 2018 is well underway, and as we move forward, we must anticipate what changes the year may hold. The following are 5 technology trends small businesses may find themselves embracing in 2018.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology has become a staple for many growing small businesses. CRM systems allow organizations to superintend contact management, sales management, productivity, support and additional services with greater efficiency. This tool allows small businesses to cultivate and improve external interactions and business relationships that lead to profitability and growth. Essentially, CRM helps you to win and keep customers, which perhaps explains why growing small businesses are twice as likely to use CRM as their stagnant counterparts.
DATA ANALYTICS & CONNECTION
Data analytics is not just for business giants. Small businesses have never had greater access to data tracking, which provides them with deeper insights when developing products or strategies. Furthermore, small businesses have begun to prioritize data and connect data across all departments. And many of those growing small businesses who have not made the connection yet are planning to do so in the near future.
A large portion of today’s workforce is not tethered to an office. Many workers operate in the field, work from home, work as contractors or travel between different locations. This mobile, distributed workforce is fast becoming the norm for small businesses. To navigate this new mode of operation, many small businesses are investing in collaboration technology. Small businesses will increasingly rely on location-independent platforms for video conferencing, data and document sharing, project management and digital brainstorming.
One of the downsides of our current digital landscape is that a few disgruntled clients can completely annihilate a small business with a few angry posts or tweets. Unfortunately, this can sometimes happen despite the organization’s best efforts to resolve any problems. An up-and-coming business’s data profile is particularly vulnerable to online vitriol; they cannot afford reputation damage. To remedy this issue, many small businesses have turned to reputation management tools to spot and address trolls and unmerited negative posts, protecting their brand online.
SLOW MOVE TO AI
So small businesses are by no means fully embracing artificial intelligence at this point. In fact, most feel that AI is too complex and advanced for their more modest needs. However, the small businesses who have adopted AI technology seem to be experiencing significant growth; “fast-growing” small businesses are twice as likely to be using AI as their counterparts. Perhaps because of this growth, will see small business make the slow shift towards artificial technology in the near future.
At AIS, we love to see small businesses embracing technology to leverage growth; our entire business mission centers on serving small business with strategic IT solutions. If you are a small business owner, and you feel weighed down by ineffective IT or overwhelmed by changing technologies, start the conversation with AIS today. Let’s use technology to grow your small business in 2018.