The technology used in business is ever evolving. It can be overwhelming to keep track of these changes. Should your business invest in automation technology, or perhaps focus on cybersecurity? Where are the best places to find budding new technologies? What do consumers really care about?
In this article, I will explore the answers to these questions. 2020 has been a year of change, but we are only at the beginning. Technology will change massively – especially in business. Now consumers are savvier than ever before, so you must be savvy too.
If you’re not careful, you’ll fall behind. Here are the four trends which you need be aware of as a business this year.
1. Keep an eye on competition(s)
Competition breeds innovation. Every business knows this. However, the markets aren’t the only arena for innovation. Some of the best ideas come from places you don’t expect. Why not seek out new technology in actual competitions too?
There are contests like the Kirk Global Challenge, which tasked University of Cambridge engineering students to come up technologies to kickstart economic growth in the developing world. By challenging the younger generation to think outside the box, you will produce inventive ideas you never even thought of.
Other universities, such as MIT, recognise this. They have their own $100,000 Entrepreneurship Competition. Major companies like Santander and Shell also host similar competitions.
They recognise this is a way to find talent and new ideas. Don’t choose the safe option. Your business will stagnate. Instead, look for new ideas in unlikely places.
This is a great way to find new tech for your business. It can also be a great way to fund it. Contests like TWITCH or the Green Tech Open could see your tech startup soaring – but only with the right idea.
2. Make use of AI and Automation
Another growing trend set to continue this year is AI. No longer a thing of the future, it is very much of the present. AI will enable labour-intensive processes to become simple. It’s likely that your company has already implemented some of these practices.
HR and applications processes can be done near-instantly with the use of a machine, you can automate online interaction using chatbots, or even keep an eye on your competition.
You can receive analysis of every piece of information your competitors put online. You can gather information faster. You can react quicker, hire quicker, develop quicker.
With more of your processes automated, you can go one of two ways. You might choose to have less workers. With less workers, your overheads will decrease.
Alternatively, this frees up your human capital to be thinkers. Good ideas can’t be automated. They’ll have more time for the important tasks that digital assistants can’t do.
Many companies like Amazon are already doing this, but you don’t need to be a global corporation to take advantage.
Big businesses benefit, small businesses benefit even more from these processes. They don’t have the enormous HR or research departments of multinationals. With smart tech investment, even your small startup can compete.
3. Make your business secure
With AI and Automation improvements comes better cybersecurity. Most, if not all, data leaks are caused by human error. If you remove the human element – you remove the possibility of a breach. This means greater security for your business.
If your employees aren’t trained in how to handle sensitive data, you are already too far behind. You can ensure employees are properly trained, but also use machine learning to spot possible leaks or threats to your security.
Many companies inspect their systems manually. However, with enormous amounts of data and potential for human error, something is bound to slip through the cracks.
With these improvements in cybersecurity, you will be safe from attacks. If your data is secure, then not only will you have peace of mind, but so too will your customers.
4. Consider ethical technology
Consumers are more interested in the ethics of technology than ever. Since the GDPR regulations in 2018, every company has been doing more to manage data. Issues like net neutrality, drone usage and, biotech ethics are at the forefront of consumer’s minds.
As well as thinking about the ways your business’ technology can benefit you and your consumers, also think about how it can harm them. Some companies even hire ethics experts, which could benefit you and your executives.
If you follow these trends closely, you can stay ahead of the curve. Find, develop and utilize new technology before your competitors. This is how a modern business succeeds. You don’t need to be a tech giant to do this – or even a tech company at all.
Automate processes and reduce overheads. Make your company and its data secure. Not only will consumers flock to your businesses for its products – they will stay for your practices.