Technology trends shaping the future for small businesses

Technology trends shaping the future for small businesses

Digital & Technology

Karan Aggarwal

Karan Aggarwal

22 Jun 2018, 09:30 — 7 min read

Summary: Tech in the modern day, is rapidly evolving. What was the ‘in’ thing and cutting edge two years ago, may well be obsolete by today. Stay on top of these trends and leverage them - undertake a Digital Transformation to make your SME a 'firm of the future'.

 

Are you the owner of a small business? Get inspired by the bold and innovative moves that industry leaders around the world are making to drive success. Technology continues to revolutionise small business, and for those ready to embrace the opportunity, the future seems to be quite promising.  So what are the top technology trends your small business or advisory practice needs to know about?

 

1. Augmented and Virtual Reality

There has been a great advancement in virtual reality and augmented reality in recent year. Though it has been mainly prevalent in the retail and entertainments industries it holds a lot of potential for other industries as well. Whether you’re training employees or reaching the nerves of the consumers, it’s time for augmented and virtual reality to be the new reality.

 

Talking about Cadillac, the car company, that uses VR technology to create virtual dealerships, one can think on a smaller scale. 360-degree videos are now also supported by YouTube. Adding 360-degree product videos to your site that customers can explore to enhance your business.

 

2. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are tech words in everyone’s dictionary. A lot can be expected from these subjects in the near future. Directly implementing any part of IoT, MI, AI may seem to be a distant future but these can definitely assist SMEs to increase revenues while minimising costs when they’re applied to business operations.

 

These technologies are a lot handier than expected when it comes to target consumers and hyperlocal advertising by AI-and-ML by turning a bunch of apparently random data points into actual insight about the way customers are associating with your business. This will increase accuracy in making informed decisions and efficiency in financial reporting.  This will also move us closer to real-time financials & this accuracy will continue to rise with advancement of enabling technologies helping consumers analyse that data.

 

3. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology may be out of sight for small businesses but still one needs to be aware of the same. Blockchain technology increases security, transparency and accountability by creating a permanent, linear, digital ledger that's decentralised and (currently) impossible to falsify or delete. Blockchain technology is not linked to any specific industry, though blockchain is currently only used in a few spheres. This ground-breaking method could potentially maintain electronic ledgers in healthcare, banking, manufacturing and shipping, import and export businesses, and eventually SMEs and government.

 

While the technology underlying these innovations seems complicated, the benefits are clear when applied: security, speed and full control. Blockchain brings a lot to the table ranging from upgraded security and authentication and supply chains to building peer-to-peer business networks across sectors - all decentralized. This may prove to be beneficial to the early adopters of this technology.

 

4. Cybersecurity and Information Security

As more and more cases of data breaches and hacking are coming to light, the more aware and stringent consumers are becoming. From data breaches to effects of natural disasters on physical servers, data is vulnerable and needs to be secured & optimised on the cloud.

Small businesses need to focus on securing consumer information and company’s confidential data as customer confidence is built on trust & maintaining that trust is of utmost importance for a business using their data. Using secure cloud platforms can protect your data in case of natural disasters and tightening the security measures can secure client information.

 

5. Hyperlocal Advertising

With the world becoming technology savvy and social media becoming an irreplaceable part of life, advertisers are also becoming smarter. As mentioned earlier in this article using IOT and AI, businesses are able to access greater consumer insights. With information about your interests, your needs, your location advertisers are at a great advantage to target their marketing efforts towards genuinely potential customers & increase their ROI from marketing dollars..

 

Small businesses are in an excellent position to interact with their customers and market to them in a traditional, yet personal, way. One can get the traction in the same old-fashioned way but to out from the one-size-fits-all digital noise - hyperlocal marketing is the need of the hour. A new innovative way to push against the tide and make your brand persist and stand out in a unique way.

 

6. Specialised Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing

It may seem awkward to see Software-As-A-Service in the trends for small and medium scale businesses as has been here for a decade but it is worth a word given it’s immense benefits. Adoption of SaaS has been slow among the SMEs lately. But SaaS is finally starting to wholeheartedly target the SME sector. And the reasons for adopting SaaS are obvious -- flexibility, cost of building in house VS using SaaS & most importantly & removing the need to constantly upgrade your legacy systems.

 

7. Big Data

Big data seems to accessible to small and medium business in coming future very soon. Big data will no more be confined to big enterprises and corporates. As the extent and quality of data is growing fast whilst unit costs are falling – this is ‘democratising’ access and putting it in reach of all businesses in an affordable and easy-to-consume way. There is no need to mention benefits big data would bring to small business and revenues that may increase multifold with big data utilisation.

 

Future seems to be quite bright for small and medium scale businesses with a plethora of technologies shaping the journey to success.

 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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Karan Aggarwal

I am looking to connect with other business professionals. I am keenly interested in digital marketing, business development, operations, strategy planning, etc. Invite me to...

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