Looking back over 2012, there have been certain developments that really stand out as important for small businesses who wish to grow. 2013 is set to cement the importance of utilising technology for business benefit and does not necessarily require any major upheaval or stress.
Keeping up with the new pace of today’s technologies can make your workplace more innovative, employee friendly, profitable and productive, but can you tell your Big Data from your SaaS? How many cloud-based platforms do you use and for what?
We thought we’d take a closer look at four essential factors when it comes to being a tech-savvy business, to help you distinguish the smart moves from the slip-ups.
1. Mobile – it’s moving fast, keep up with it.
For retailers, the increase of e-commerce spending and the popularity of mobile devices means that mobile compatibility should be top-of-mind. Predictions include increased advertising opportunities, more 4G rollouts, WIFI as a commercial alternative and a forecasted $81 billion spend on app downloads. All of this means that if you don’t co-operate with mobile, you’ll be left behind, websites should already be fully compatible with mobile devices and be ready to compete with online only retailers. This is especially relevant when considering the phenomenal domination of the tablet device, no other technology (including telephones, mobile phones and even electricity) has integrated into society so quickly.
2. Big Data – it was “huge” last year, and is set to grow even more.
There is actually still some debate over what the term “Big Data” actually means; some say it relates to transactional data; whereas others think of it as the technology that has emerged to help businesses to handle their large amounts of data; or even the amassing of increased amounts of information and using it in effective ways. Regardless of its definition, the value it can offer to businesses who want to understand their customers better is priceless. There is also the potential interest from others in the data you may have. For example – the mass amounts of data associated with any popular social network is the “Holy Grail of Big Data” whichever way we choose to define it – the resources needed to handle it are vast and the value of the information others is sky high. However, for small businesses, this is a little out of reach, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Data, whether big or small, is still data and it’s still valuable. So figure out a way to store it now and you’ll be grateful in the long run.
3. The Cloud - much more than fluff.
This year, cloud based technology bounds on everstrong, Google Apps, Microsoft 365 and Dropbox are becoming central to the everyday work experience, driving up productivity, collaboration and communication. Combined with the emerging trend of BYO policies, operating from the cloud has the additional benefit of security when it comes to work related documents and storage. Plus the onset of flexible working hours as an employee right and offering the option to work remotely as a workplace perk means that many businesses absolutely must turn to the cloud to stay competitive as an employer.
4. HR gets SaaSy.
Aside from the monetary value of data, managing employee data via SaaS technology is on the rise. The development of effective HR data management software and applications means that employers can easily assign HR responsibilities to the cloud; from storing and maintaining employee details, creating contracts and policies, all the way through to facilitating recruitment and performance management processes.The increased demand for constant feedback rather than the yearly performance review also relies on the reliability of the data a business can store. SaaS technology is an innovative way to handle HR processes much more effectively and strong HR is driven by good data management.
Identifying and getting on board with emerging tech trends is not a gamble, it’s a strategic move that will position a business well for the future, whether it means signing up to Yammer to add more of a social aspect to the business, or considering an automated marketing platform, the options available are endless.