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3 Technology trends businesses are using to stay ahead of their competition.

By Sarika Vatner on 11/08/15 11:30 AM

Topics: IT Strategy

Technology is driving business today, and just as the right technology can drive businesses forward, increase profitability, decrease costs and  maximise efficiencies, the wrong technology can quickly drive your business into the ground, the following article will look at three technology trends that can help your business stay competitivetech_trends

  1.        Good Design.

Every business knows the importance of a good design, good design can help improve bottom line. Well-designed technology can make every job easier- The jobs of employees and the jobs of customers purchasing goods online, over the phone or even in store making your business more effective.

Good example of well-designed technology driving business is Amazon with its one click shopping experience.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to innovation is knowing what it is that actually needs to be innovated upon. Insight into improving something that is already functional proves difficult and all too often is ignored by business owners, The ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it mentality’ - this could be hindering your business growth.

Considering the following three major points will open up more avenues to see where improvements can be made.

  •          Consideration 1 – Revenue –High level discussions need to take place to understand where your business will receive the greatest short-term financial value. For example: If most of the businesses revenue comes from upselling to existing customers, attention should on any innovations related to customer retention.
  •          Consideration 2- Numbers: Decide where these innovations could be benefitted most - Whether its customer facing or internal employee facing. Can you improve your highly repetitive systems so that you reduce digital fatigue, this will improve customer retention.
  •          Consideration 3- Line of Sight: Improving technologies around areas that you engage with the external environment, stakeholders, and current and potential customers such as campaigns, company website, Just-In-Time (JIT) stock control.
  1.        Data Analytics

With the amount of data that is being created daily, analysing it all has become a fine art, and the masters of this art are reaping the benefits. Data driven insights go beyond google analytics. The most competitive businesses today combine internal and external data sources to follow trends, make better choices and lead them in a direction of growth, focus and strategic business thinking.

Data Analytics is less about relying on gut feeling decisions and more about piecing together seemingly unrelated information to formulate sound, informed decisions.

Data Analysis is a highly skilled exercise that involves extraordinary discipline, the best businesses use Data Analysis and the resulting insights to assist them in becoming impervious to the ups and down of business flows.  When embarking on Data Analysis strategy remember these three important steps.

Step 1 – Capture- It is important to capture as much data as possible about your organisation.

Step 2 – Collaborate and warehouse- Over time you will acquire large databases of information, much of which will not ‘play well’ with other databases (meaning it will seem that all the data is unrelated). It is your job to collaborate and collate data when and where you can.

Warehousing data that has been analysed and turned into information so you can access it from a single source is ideal.

Step 3 – Calculate – Using members of your team (ideally, who are familiar with statistical analysis) increases your chances strongly of piecing  together seemingly random parts of data to make astounding discoveries that can help your business innovate more and make informed decisions that address and tackle specific problems rather than treating symptoms, you ‘think’ you have.

Through calculations, you are able to hold tangible and visual evidence of where your business may have room for improvement, taken to management this type of evidence is irrefutable.

  1.        Become a SaaS Business.

SaaS (aka Software as a Service) is a hot new term that lets you ‘Pay as you go’ service – pay companies subscription fees to rent their services, while this is a new digital term the thinking behind the service has been around for a number of years – Think Netflix and DVD rental.

The essence of SaaS is that companies allow your business to rent out tools (Software) they own, this leaves your business free from worry about the logistics of hosting, maintaining and troubleshooting these software tools. SaaS does not require an overhaul of the business model but you will need to employ a new way of business thinking. It is best practice to think about and  follow these three parts:

Part 1 – Package – How is your business packaged to sell to its customers? Packing business products into segments of ‘value- adds’ is essential for customers to quickly assess the value of their purchase. An example of value adds is ‘Free Shipping’ or ‘Quick Delivery’.

Part 2 – Platform – SaaS encourages you to take on a greater load of customers, (usually requiring some sort of cloud software). With the automation and flexibility of your services you can manage more requests.

Part 3 - Process - With automated tasks you can ensure there is not wasted effort on servicing customers, you will be able to take on a higher customer load without having to increase employee labour costs – this increases efficiency.

By following these instructions literally and continuously you can take control over your business and innovation, increasing your competitive advantage, expanding capabilities and improving your overall business strategy. 

If you're interested in learning more about the biggest technology trends affecting small businesses, click here to check out our tech trends infographic.