Technology is coming… Well, actually tech is already here. But it’s not too late to join the party! Every industry is different — some are already fully automated and completely reliant on technology, and others still use paper files! There is no need to compare a Commercial Real Estate firm to an investment management firm. However, that does not mean you should just be following trends in your industry. Instead, you have time to get a leg up on the competition!
A large chunk of this blog has been dedicated to technology adoption and ways to automate in the business world. However, I feel that the article below puts it best on why a company should keep track of tech trends and integrate technology into their daily operations. Some of my personal favorite points:
- Keep an eye on the competition — what are they doing that gives them an advantage?
- Pay attention to industry trends — get on them before they become mainstream
- Technology improves efficiency, which can save you time and money
- Technology is a competition, beating your competition in tech will lead to wins in the business world
Want to discuss further? Shoot me an email.
How to Prepare Your Business for the Future of Technology
Embrace the latest technology to give your business the tools for long-term success.
Today, many of us hold more computing power in the palms of our hands than was possible in a room full of supercomputers just 50 years ago. Gen Zers find it inconceivable that their parents grew up without the internet, mobile phones or computers.
Technology is constantly advancing, constantly changing our lives and how we do business. Tech has spawned new industries to make life more convenient, efficient and connected.
If you’re a business owner, keeping on top of technological advances is critical for business growth and success. We’ll explore ways to prepare your business for tech advancements and explain why embracing technology gives you a leg up on the competition.
How to prepare your business for the future of technology
Adopt a tech-focused growth mindset to stay on the cutting edge of your industry and better serve your customers. Here are five ways to stay ready and open to new technology.
1. Stay aware of new technologies.
To prepare for new technology, the first step is staying aware of industry advancements. Numerous articles and reports outline emerging technologies and how they relate to business. For example, Inc. Magazine typically highlights new business technology every year. Large organizations like Deloitte periodically release reports on new tech, and tech-focused publishers like Wired offer subscriptions. You can also subscribe to tech blogs or email newsletters.
Focus only on business technological advances so you don’t become overwhelmed with information. If some new technology looks promising for your business, delve into it and learn more. For example, if you’re in the food truck business, look out for specific food truck tech like mobile POS systems and location-based apps.
2. Understand how technology impacts your industry.
General technological advances are great, but they may not apply to your specific industry. By keeping current on industry advances, you can zero in on things to use in your business.
Read industry journals and attend industry events to spot new uses for technology to streamline your operations, improve processes, cut costs, or improve the customer experience. For example, implementing business internet can dramatically improve your customer communications and allow you to use VoIP services for video conferencing.
Another great way to identify future technological applications is to keep an eye on the competition. What are they doing or using that gives them an advantage?
Tip: Use tech tools like Feedly, Stratfor, Slack and Facebook to track industry trends and anticipate customer demands.
3. Think about what’s needed in your industry.
Just because other companies in your industry aren’t fully embracing technology doesn’t mean you can’t. Be a leader by creating the technology. Assemble your team and gather survey data, market research, and customer feedback to identify ways technology can fill needs or improve efficiency.
Could technology make your product or service more convenient? Could tech help improve the manufacturing or production processes? Would tech advancements help streamline payment and accounting, reduce R&D time, improve market intelligence, and bolster security and privacy?
For example, say you have a medical services business. You might want to implement a virtual waiting room to accommodate telemedicine visits and create a seamless experience for patients.
If the solution to your need doesn’t exist, design the technology in-house or contract a software development company to create, test and implement the new application.
Tip: Align your new technology with customer and societal trends, such as working from home or engaging in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.
4. Keep IT experts on hand.
If you have an IT department, part of their job should be scanning for new technology.
In addition to maintaining and protecting your devices, networks and data, they should keep abreast of new developments and proactively suggest updating, enhancing and replacing your current systems and software.
Schedule semiannual technology reviews to encourage this periodic reassessment. Meet with your head of IT and go over suggestions, benefits and costs. Factor in the necessary employee training, and prepare redundant systems while transitioning to the new technology.
If you don’t have an in-house IT department, establish a relationship with a third-party technology company. Another option is to do the general legwork yourself and then bounce ideas off a technology professional or software developer you trust. Once you decide to move forward, engage the services of a technology company specializing in that area.
Tip: Involve stakeholders when making business decisions about adopting new technology; they’ll offer you insights on what they want and need and share their frustrations with current systems.
5. Design for scalability and flexibility.
When you’re choosing your business hardware, network setup and software, keep scalability and flexibility in mind. This is particularly easy with SaaS companies since they frequently update their capabilities, and you’re not limited by storage space.
Discover compatible applications so you can add or switch components when you need to and enjoy an efficient system where information flows seamlessly through sales, accounting and customer service. However, ensuring your data and systems are protected from internal and external threats is crucial.
Why your business should embrace technology
Nearly every modern business uses technology in some way. Here are some ways embracing new technology can benefit your business:
- Technology improves efficiency. Technology can make things easier and more efficient or be the bane of your existence. If you’ve ever torn your hair out because your software seized or your computer crashed, you know that outdated or glitchy technology can waste time and cause frustration. On the other hand, fully functioning technology can reduce your effort and time and put information at your fingertips.
- It can cut costs. With inefficiency comes wasted time (and, by extension, money) and lost opportunities. For example, inventory management software can help you access sales trends, streamline inventory ordering and storage, and reduce excess costs.
- It boosts competitiveness. Technological change is constant. You may fail to embrace tech advancements, but your competition won’t. Being on tech’s leading edge can give you a competitive advantage and help you establish market share, offer competitive pricing, and provide a better customer experience. If your competition gains these benefits – and you don’t – your market share and reputation will suffer.
- It can help you expand your business. The latest technology can help you add new products and enhancements to existing products. When you offer a broader product line, you have more opportunities to increase sales and profit. You can upsell, downsell, and cross-sell, and you may be able to appeal to a more expansive audience.
- It can enhance communication. If you have a remote work plan or employees on a hybrid schedule, tech tools can vastly improve communication between management and employees and among team members. For example, project management software clearly delineates responsibilities and timelines, and video conferencing and collaboration software make it easy to get a quick answer, strategize, provide feedback or brainstorm. Technology can also make customer-facing communication easier via email newsletters, automated campaigns and simultaneous social postings.
- It can protect your assets. Technology can help your business protect its intellectual property, data and systems from theft and attack. Cybercrime is on the rise, and the only way to counter hackers is to implement sophisticated security technology. Some businesses even use technology like blockchain to safeguard sensitive information and implement data loss prevention measures.
- It can enable better decision-making. Since you don’t always see customers when they use your product or visit your website – and you can’t peer into their brains – many business decisions are essentially guesswork. However, with AI-powered big data analysis, machine learning and customer analytics, you can gain valuable customer insights. You can also use these technologies in other areas to improve efficiencies, shorten production times and cut waste.
- It can help you sell more. Some companies use experiential technology to help customers envision themselves using your products. Virtual reality and augmented reality can enable customers to “try on” beauty products or place new furniture in their homes. The closest thing to sampling a product is using it virtually; this technology allows customers a no-risk way to try before they buy.