Do you have big dreams for your business? Technology can be the key to making those dreams a reality. The words ‘small’ or ‘medium’ may accurately describe your organisation now, but they don’t describe your mindset or ambitions, but the amount of new technology is mind boggling and buzzwords like cloud, mobile and big data are probably all too familiar.
Here’s a simple run down of the top 4 of these emerging technologies, and how they are changing the way business is done.
1. Cloud & Cloud Computing
‘Cloud’ is the term used to describe the network of servers that host a business’ data, programs or services. Accessed via the internet, it’s the alternative to hosting them on your own hardware,
on-site. Learn more about the Cloud.
The cloud isn’t as foreign a concept as you might think. You probably already use some cloud services without thinking about it. For instance, when using personal email accounts such as Gmail and Outlook. Many SMEs are turning to cloud services for the cost and productivity benefits they can provide.
Offloading your infrastructure to an outsourced provider is a good way to access modern technology whilst lowering IT expenses, because economies of scale mean the cloud can store your data for a far lower unit cost than all but the largest organisations. It can also be used as a backup method, since data is stored securely in another location.
As long as you have reliable access to the internet and your network is up to scratch, you’re probably a good use case for the cloud.
2. Mobility in the Digital Workforce
Mobility refers to the shift to a flexible workforce, with more employees working out of the office and using mobile devices and cloud services to complete business tasks.
Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones allow your team to work from anywhere. Offering remote work options can make for happier employees and help recruit future employees. If you're interested in mobility, click here to see the biggest mobility trends impacting small businesses.
The term refers not only to mobile workers and mobile devices, but also to the movement of corporate data. For example, an employee may upload a corporate presentation from his or her desktop PC to a cloud storage service, then access it from a personal device to show at a client site.
3. Productivity & Collaboration
But it’s not just about wireless connectivity and employee demand – it’s about productivity and collaboration, and connecting in more ways than ever before. For this reason, communication solutions also come under the mobility umbrella. These include:
- Voice, video and web conferencing
- Instant messaging
- Desktop sharing
- Simultaneous document editing
Technologies such as these allow for better communication between staff, departments, vendors, and customers, which means more results for your business.
In fact, companies that prioritise collaboration are twice as likely to be profitable.
4. Big data
In a nutshell, ‘big data’ is the information owned by your company, obtained and processed through new techniques to produce value in the best way possible.
Of course, data collection is nothing new. What is new are the recent emerging technological advances in the internet, cloud computing, and our ability to store and analyse data that have changed the quantity of data we can collect.
We now have the ability to collect more information than ever before. In technical terms, this means bigger datasets, which is where the name big data comes from.
Know your customer...
But the real value lies not in the collection, but what you do with that data. Companies that are using big data to better understand their customers then target them are seeing the benefits.
A company can use the information and insights about their customers in the following ways:
- develop better products or services
- optimise business processes
- predict customer behaviour
- improve the customer experience
Big data essentially enables your business to move from being reactive to proactive.
One size does not fit all
Cloud, big data, and mobility are spoken about so much it’d be easy to think they are the solution to everything. However, like anything else in IT, there needs to be a strong, strategic case for using them.
In the end, what it really comes down to is your business’ needs and strategy.
Find out why your companies IT Strategy is Key to Business Success, with our free guide below