The relationship between technology and business is a self-feeding loop that at times feels more like a roller-coaster. Technology has changed the way that we do business and business needs impact on the new technologies that are under development.
More and more solutions are developed that level the playing field for business large and small. As organizations get access to advanced technologies, data and ways to reach out to their clients, new challenges are faced and must be met.
Are you feeling lost in the swirl and fear wasting precious capital in areas that you may not fully understand? Take a moment to create a strategy to tackle the biggest technological advances that impact your organization.
Have Technological Advances Thrown You For a Loop?
Since the advent of the internet (invented by Al Gore), technology has changed dramatically. Apps and data storage solutions are only some of the ways that businesses are investing in growth.
The following are some of the technological changes that have altered the business landscape.
- Enhanced communications. Essentially the ability to call and receive messages nearly everywhere WIFI is supported, have placed more imperative on businesses and their employees to respond swiftly to senders and engage with in-house software.
- Software solutions have made it easier for small business to play with the big boys. Hardware and the associated software have become more prevalent, user-friendly and comparatively inexpensive over time.
- The influx of big data is both a boon and a curse. Every business wants to gather and use all of their incoming information to make faster real-time decisions in a world where time is money. Trying to analyze and place meaning on this data is challenging for business large and small.
- The imperative is for everyone to go mobile. Google has revamped its expectations yet again, and websites that don’t function on mobile devices are doomed to be penalized in search. Consumers use mobile devices to talk, research and buy. There is much more comparison shopping, and when consumers are ready to click, you had better have the optimized platform that can accept their requests without a hitch. Expectations on functionality are high and the fewer clicks for consumers, the better. Make your experience inconvenient and your prospects move quickly on to your competitors.
- Cloud computing has transformed operations. Data and operations in many cases are now served by third-party providers that allow for improved accessibility and management. Businesses deal less with lost data, crashes and downtime. This also reduces the need to invest in onsite servers and teams to manage the systems. Costs associated with third-party providers come down to a fraction of the alternative as functionality and consistent operations increase.
These advances and more have altered how we communicate with data, each other and those outside the organization. We have more software, data, and accessibility than ever before and the onus is on every business to play catch up unless they want to get left behind.
Practical Advice for Organizations Struggling to Keep Up
Technology is changing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up and balance the management and planning of your business. Competitors are using the technologies that you aren’t. They are broadening their customer base and are involved in multi-channel communications with prospects and customers. What can you do to get on top of the situation and learn more about the technological processes and products critical to your operation and future growth?
Review the resources within your existing knowledge base. Use the expertise of your employees to ramp up. They may be able to offer suggestions and provide training to help those that need a review of how to use a specific technology within the framework of the business. Google Hangout is a free tool that allows individuals to converse with others about a topic and automatically generates a video for later viewing. Those videos and others can be uploaded to a company’s private YouTube channel for convenient viewing and discussion. This channel acts as a knowledge bank for organizational members, now and in the future.
Review the needs of the business and future business plans. Find technology that aligns with your company’s objectives. There will be more motivation to adapt if there is a real reason to do so. Research how competitors are leveraging technology for inspiration on how to use the technology within your specific business. This is an essential step in strategic planning for the incorporation of useful technologies.
Build the time in to learn about it. Subscribe to business and industry journals, read feature articles about technological trends, check online forums and research online to gain a better grasp of the potential of various apps, cloud computing and data management systems that can help your business grow.
Get the funds needed to investigate and introduce technologies and hire the related manpower to support business growth. Invest in new software, develop an online presence, and grow your team. Kabbage, for example, is one of the top online providers of business loans and puts real life data to use to determine eligibility.
Review the software that you have in place. Invest in technology with OpenAPI architecture that can adapt to upcoming changes in the future. If configuration is an issue, review the current technology and find out if it supports and can communicate with additional platforms that you may be considering. Save yourself a headache and speak with the operators of platforms, current and considered, to integrate new technologies into the old before buying.
A learning curve, especially for those not native to digital, is to be expected. So much support exists in-house, online and through other channels that the most important aspect of making any leap is to find the time to learn about the technology and how to incorporate it.
We are at a crossroads where those that can use technology to address business processes and better meet the needs of customers will win the game. The win is still about getting the product or service to a consumer and getting consumers to recognize your brand. Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile but seized the technology of his day. He used technology and improved the processes of mass production to manufacture more cars and distribute them more affordably to his customer base. Learn the rules of the game. Invest the time, energy and money to understand the technologies out there and how they can better support how you do business.