Imagine doing business without accounting software, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform or even business email. It’s hard to consider it, right? Business technology makes us more productive, keeps us organized and helps us collaborate—especially when we’re not all in the same physical place.
Web conferencing and other digital collaboration technology made remote work possible during the pandemic. If COVID-19 arrived just 10 years earlier, business continuity would have been nearly impossible. Without business technology, many companies would have either completely shut down or put employees and customers at risk.
But some organizations were more prepared than others. Those without the right technology had to scramble to get set up. These days, staying on top of business technology trends is essential.
What Is Business Technology?
Business technology is any tech that powers your business operations, from sales and marketing to accounting and human resources.
Technological innovation has reached into every aspect of business. Think point of sale software, budgeting technology, logistics and more. The digital technology in collaboration tools enables remote brainstorming, meetings, live screen sharing, project management, access to stored files and the ability to digitally sign documents.
Today, technology infiltrates nearly every aspect of running a business. As such, the term “business technology” has been gradually replacing the term “information technology” to describe technology incorporated into business operations.
How Has Technological Change Transformed the Business Landscape?
Over the last several decades, technology has changed the way businesses operate. For one thing, tech has fundamentally altered business strategy. For instance, small business owners use technology not only to improve their day-to-day productivity and capabilities but also to compete with larger competitors. It has also empowered small businesses to join larger ones in allowing remote work, especially after the pandemic forced digital transformations for companies of every size.
Technology has also influenced customer expectations. Whether shopping online, posting reviews on social media, researching products or accessing customer service, customers expect to find your business in both the physical and digital worlds.
Improve Profitability by Advancing Technology in Business
Small business owners can save time and cut costs by automating many of their back-end business processes. Affordable and intuitive software can handle everything from payroll and accounting to logistics and record keeping. This saves time and cuts operating costs, which is especially important during a time when economic growth may slow down.
Small businesses can also provide positive customer experiences by integrating various technologies that interface with customers. This includes their CRM, social media management platform, inventory management platform, accounting software and customer service platforms. When customer data is accessible across various channels, customers can even have positive user experiences with chatbots.
How Businesses Can Stay on Top of New Technology in 2022
With the speed of technology’s evolution, it can be difficult to keep up with emerging technologies. This is especially true for small business owners who wear many hats. To help you keep up with today’s tech trends, we’ve put together a list of current and developing technologies that are making waves in the business landscape.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Believe it or not, the term “artificial intelligence” has been around for years. Today, it’s more than a theory and can impact business outcomes. Many software platforms come with built-in AI. This enables them to analyze large amounts of data and draw conclusions that help guide business decisions. Such platforms include virtual auditing technology and business forecasting applications that track buying behavior to predict future sales numbers.
Cloud computing was a business world superhero during the pandemic. That’s because it empowers both large and small businesses to allow remote work. With cloud-based technology, employees can access the same files whether they’re working at their desk in the office or at the kitchen island in their home. Rather than using data centers that require physical presence to access information, the cloud only requires an Internet connection.
Some small business owners still wonder whether their data is safe on the cloud. While cloud technology isn’t 100% secure, some people argue that data is safer on the cloud than housed on small businesses’ vulnerable company servers.
Quantum computing is an emerging technology that will ultimately produce computers that are exponentially faster than today’s most powerful supercomputers. It may be a while before small businesses can leverage quantum computing, but maybe not. If the past few decades have proven anything, it’s how quickly technology can evolve and change our way of life.
With technology entering every aspect of our personal and professional lives, we’re creating a lot of data—hence the term “big data.” With the right technology to house data and the AI tools to analyze it, businesses can generate game-changing and actionable insights.
Virtual and Augmented Extended Reality
Virtual reality (VR) is an experience that exists entirely in the digital world. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, mixes both the physical world and the digital world. Jointly called extended reality (XR), these technologies can be used in marketing and product development.
Some examples include mobile apps that let you preview furniture in your home thanks to AR; new car models that use AR to display speed and direction on your windshield; and VR experiences that offer a sneak peak of what vacation would be like at a Fijian resort.
3D printing is a relatively new manufacturing process. A 3D printer can be programmed with digital plans to create a three dimensional object by physically depositing material layer by layer. 3D printers are used to make everything from small parts to an astronaut bunker for NASA. Many small businesses use 3D printing for making product prototypes.
Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Essentially, this means organizations can share massive amounts of data (“blocks”) transparently within their network. While blockchain is often linked to cryptocurrency, Harvard Business Review explains how the technology can also be applied to make supply chain management more transparent.
How Do Businesses Implement a Technology Transformation?
While most of these new business technologies are already available to small business owners, it may not be clear how to implement and use them. That’s why many small businesses either hire an in-house IT specialist or outsource their technology management to a third-party company. For busy business owners, this may be the fastest route to increasing their productivity and profitability without losing sleep or making expensive cybersecurity mistakes.
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