Running a business in 2016 is a fascinating and complex endeavour. The truth is, the world of business is unlike it has ever been before. Not only is it more competitive than ever, but the rules seem to be getting looser and looser.

If you want to succeed in business today, you need to know how to adapt continually to a changing environment. As long as you remain fair, and consistent in your vision, you can do more or less whatever you please. And that is very good news indeed for anyone looking after a company.

Part of the process of keeping up-to-date with the world of business is taking on the latest technologies. This doesn’t mean that you have to religiously follow every new trend. Indeed, if you did, people would likely think less of you and your business as a result. But it does mean that you should be taking advantage of what technology is available.

At the end of the day, you should be using whatever is available to make your business a viable competitive force in the world today. But nor is it just about being competitive. It also makes little sense to ignore certain technological advances. If they are cost-effective, and they provide a means for you to do what you do quicker and easier – then that’s just good business.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the top technological must-haves for your business this year.

Productivity tools

One of the most important aspects of running a business is ensuring that your time, and your staff’s time, is used effectively. After all, you are paying them their wage – you need to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

That’s why it’s important to keep their productivity high. This is just good business. Fortunately, there is technology available which enables you to make the most of the time spent in the office.

Programs such as OneNote allow you to keep a much more organised digital workspace. This is great news. Too much of our time at work is wasted on trying to find the right documents for any given task.

With OneNote, you have a user-friendly, easy way of keeping everything together which needs to be together. That way, you can spend more time working.

Even if you just make this change for your own computer, your business will see a dramatic improvement in its productivity levels. Not only that, but you can use that same software to keep tabs on the productivity of your employees. How’s that for a versatile piece of software?

The cloud

Long gone are the days when you would have to copy over files from one computer to another. Thank goodness – we all remember the hassle of having to email files, or put them on a flash drive. And if the files were too big, then it could prove to be a real nightmare.

Flash drives have their place, of course. But for a sprawling business which is only set on growing bigger, they do not serve all that much purpose. Any growing business needs a method of transferring files which is fast and easy to use. It is also a huge benefit if location doesn’t matter at all.

Part of the reason for this is that growing businesses often need to have more than one location in which to do their business. If you have started kitting out a second office, then you might be worrying about data transference.

Don’t – with the cloud, it’s no problem at all. The cloud allows you to have all your files available on any connected device, immediately. There are not even any transfer times, because it is just waiting at your disposal for you to connect to.

This is the kind of technology that business has been waiting for for many years. A few years ago, this would have seemed like a dream. Now it’s a dream come true.

The main beauty of the cloud is that it is easy to use. But even if you – or any members of staff – are struggling with it, then don’t worry. There is always a helping hand available. Consider icloud sign in for all your cloud needs. Chances are, you will have your answer in moments.

Social media

Any business owner worth their weight in salt knows the overbearing importance of marketing. The way you put your business forward into the public view says a lot about your enterprise. It also dictates, to a large extent, how successful you are likely to be as a company.

Marketing should be considered as one of the primary arms of your business. Of course, the methods involved in marketing are varied. And with the advent of certain technological advances, marketing is now more effective than ever. Nowhere is this plainer than in the world of social media.

Social media is a real godsend for business owners in today’s world. With social media, you have a tool which enables you to get your message directly into people’s homes (and pockets). Not only that, but you don’t even have to pay a penny. Unless you want to, of course, in which case, it is even more effective.

Social media allow you to project your brand image however you like, day and night, to millions upon millions of people all around the globe. Never before has there been a marketing tool so immediately effective. Truly, any business would be insane not to consider social media a central part of their marketing strategy.

If you run a business, and you want it to be a competitive force in today’s world, then getting engaged in social media is an absolute must. Ensure that your business has accounts on all the main sites.

But more than that – use them! The key to successful social marketing is a lively, healthy interactivity with the general public. Take the opportunity to present your company in a bold and exciting manner. The people will find it hard to forget your brand in a hurry – and that is the name of the game.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.