Future-proof your business
3 tech tips to future-proof your business
With new and innovative technologies emerging all the time, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up to date. Here we highlight 3 strategies to help you prosper.
1. Work with tech-savvy suppliers
From connected devices to cloud computing, technologies that were once considered exclusively for big businesses are now becoming crucial for many SMEs too. Take smartphones as an example. Penetration in the UK has reached 78% 1, meaning there are more opportunities to engage and service customers in new and exciting ways, regardless of your business’ size.
‘You need to make sure you’re aware of these kinds of innovations – or work with someone who is’ says Carl. ‘Review your suppliers for relevance in this new, connected world – are they fit for purpose in terms of technology, people and processes?
‘For example, if you’re a small company using a file server to collect your data, and your IT supplier hasn’t approached you about cloud services, then they’re probably not the right people to work with.’
2. Get ahead in the cloud
Cloud computing is driving dramatic changes in the way businesses operate. Administration tasks are often easier to tackle, data is quicker to move around and share and, as Carl points out ‘if your office is flooded, your IT systems will carry on regardless.’ Also, with relatively lower people, power and maintenance outlays, cloud systems have the potential to be more cost-effective than their physical equivalents.
Cloud services also provide a foundation for experimenting with new systems. ‘There are thousands of plug-ins available for everything from accounting to project management’ advises Carl. ‘And if you don’t like the one you’re using, swapping it for another one is relatively straightforward.’
3. Plug into the future
There’s been a lot of talk about the ‘Internet of Things’ being the future of technology – but it’s happening now. Everyday objects and appliances are being designed for and connected to internet, in order to collect information about their usage and performance. Anything from your office fan to your new fridge at home.
This as-it-happens analysis of customer behaviour, consumption and the tracking of goods will help businesses improve their day-to-day efficiency. ‘It’s about the data you can collect, and how it can be used’ insists Carl.
For some sectors, new levels of connectivity are already completely transforming how they operate. Take manufacturing as an example. Processes that feedback real-time data on equipment or component wear are helping businesses cut maintenance and running costs considerably.
‘Smaller businesses need to focus on the devices that are relevant and useful to them’ says Carl. ‘If you embrace these new technologies as a consumer yourself, you’ll appreciate how they work, which will help you spot opportunities for improving efficiency or increasing sales.’
1 comScore, MobilLens January 2015