Small- and medium-sized business technology trends
Exciting technology trends keep emerging, completely changing the way we shop, work, and do business. Leverage advancements in IT to bring in more sales, build repeat customers, and attain your other business goals.
Let’s take a look at a couple of technology trends to watch out for:
#1. Introduction of 5G
2019 marks the year when SMBs can finally get their hands on 5G, which will lay the foundation for future innovation and growth. Carriers have already turned on various forms of 5G in several cities, and 5G phones are already out in the market.
In contrast to 4G, 5G offers much faster speeds and lower latency, which means there will be less delay between the moment you do an action and the moment you get a response. This will make many bandwidth-related activities more seamless.
With 5G, sending and receiving large files over the network will become a breeze, video conferencing will no longer suffer from poor quality or lagging video, and creating more applications for internet-dependent tech such as Internet of Things (IoT) will be more rapid. Just imagine IoT sensors doing everything from tracking stock counts to measuring temperature levels to doing so many other things.
#2. Growing investment in business intelligence and analytics
Business intelligence and analytics is the number one area where SMBs plan to add new applications. This is in response to the growing volumes of data collected from tracking the online activities of users. SMBs want to get more actionable intelligence from all that data to optimize business efficiency, improve visitor interactions, predict market trends, and stay ahead of the competition.
#3. Use of artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT for automation
An Oracle report shows that 50% or more SMBs now view AI as important to their business success and longevity. SMBs use AI-powered tools to automate tasks such as categorizing expenses, flagging policy violations, and providing insights from analyzing huge amounts of data. As a result, teams are freed up from repetitive tasks to be able to focus on their core competencies.
What’s more, SMBs are turning to IoT solutions to replace manual data collection and subjective judgments. IoT devices automate data collection through precise monitoring and measurement of what’s happening. For example, IoT sensors can check whether factory machine components are still working well or if they need repair or replacement. This enables SMBs to streamline operations, save energy, and improve security.
Currently, 36% of SMBs use or plan to use IoT solutions; 41% of this number plans to use IoT to help launch new services or create an entirely new business line. And as IoT vendors embed more AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities into their solutions, IoT solutions will become even more attractive to SMBs.
#4. Replacement of existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions
ERP is the number one area in which SMBs are considering a switch, with 40% thinking of replacing their current ERP solution. The top reasons for the switch are:
- Their current ERP solution is too expensive or complex.
- They need better reporting and analytics.
- They want to move from an on-premises to a cloud solution.
#5. Cloud as the new normal
Going into 2020, SMBs are more likely to use cloud-only or hybrid cloud solutions for most business application categories. In fact, almost all SMBs use at least one cloud solution — and most use multiple. Examples of cloud-based tools include:
- Project management systems – Trello, Asana, Basecamp
- Team chat apps – Skype, Slack
- Video conferencing tools – Zoom, Google Hangouts
- Screen sharing software – TeamViewer, Screenleap, Join.me
More and more SMBs are forecasted to join the cloud bandwagon as cloud service providers (CSPs) integrate new technologies — including AI, ML, blockchain, and natural language processing (NLP) — into their applications, thus providing SMBs the flexibility and innovation they need to keep up with the digital age.
#6. Rise of virtual offices and remote workforces
The growing use of mobile devices and cloud services has paved the way for virtual offices, allowing employees to work remotely from anywhere. Today, 37% of SMBs say 20% or more of their workforce telecommutes, and 28% of them expect this number to rise in the next year.
#7. Increasing importance of cybersecurity
A 2018 Ponemon Institute report found that nearly 70% of SMBs experience cyberattacks and that they are increasingly facing the same highly sophisticated and targeted cyberattacks that plague larger companies.
What’s more, the rising adoption of technologies such as AI, IoT, and mobile devices introduces new cybersecurity risks such as hijacked AI-driven chatbots that could misdirect customers to fraudulent links instead of legitimate ones. And with the introduction of stricter data security and privacy regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), SMBs must, more than ever, shift to a preventive, multilayered approach to cybersecurity.
SMBs need to partner with IT experts
Keeping up with rapidly evolving technology trends can be challenging, so SMBs will greatly benefit from relying on the expertise of managed IT services providers (MSPs) like Red Key Solutions. When you partner with us, we’ll make sure your IT solutions empower your organization to grow fearlessly while still fortifying your defenses against cyberthreats. Schedule a consultation with us today! We serve SMBs in Westchester, New York City, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
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