Every year we see significant advances in the digital world with new products and software created to help in business and life in general. Whilst an obsessive use of technology can have an un-healthy affect and consume our lives, there are now plenty of ways that technology can also help businesses become more efficient and grow.
Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay. Businesses can either choose to adapt and thrive in a tech-savvy world, or get left behind to deal with the repercussions.
Here’s a look at this years 5 biggest tech trends that can benefit businesses in 2017…
Millions of businesses are starting to use chatbots to manage their customer engagement online. Chatbots are artificial intelligence text-based services used for people to interact with on chat platforms. Companies create chatbots to complete tasks for their users/customers without having to use a real member of staff. Chatbots are great for improving service whilst being cheaper and more efficient than employing a member of staff. You can programme a chatbot to communicate with a customer on just about anything you tell it to, such as providing support, order information and quotes.
Even businesses that don’t engage in customer service can benefit from using chatbots to take care of tasks such as scheduling appointments, therefore saving money on assistant costs. Chatbots are an exciting prospect for 2017. Check out popular favourites WeChat and Slack.
One of the amazing benefits of the internet is that communication all around the world is made easy, fast and affordable. This is particularly beneficial for businesses with employees globally. Soon, the big flashy offices and trendy work spaces where a company’s staff are based, will be a thing of the past.
Companies will soon be able to build workforces anywhere in the world, using technology such as Instant messenger, video calling, and much more. 2017 is set to see a significant increase in the amount of new streaming services so that employers and employees can communicate and run businesses completely remotely from anywhere with an internet connection. This is more than just simply working from home a few days a week. Disrupted working will change the way people do business and when they do business, not to mention the savings your business will benefit from by not having to pay for office space, maintenance and utility bills.
Bitcoin was the biggest technology buzzword of 2016. The digital currency allowed users to make instant transactions online without paying fees to any ‘middle men’ such as banks and brokers. 2017 will see Bitcoin continue to grow, but it will also see the rise of another new digital disrupter: Blockchain. Created by the same creator of Bitcoin, Blockchain acts as an encrypted digital database (or ledger) that can be updated instantly and accessed only by those entitled to see it. The multiple distributed ledgers is a way of recording data and can be applied to anything that needs to be verified, (agreements, transactions, contracts etc). Blockchain is predicted to play a big part in helping SME’s become more efficient as it reduces time constraints associated with transaction and can eliminate human error inputs.
The software is still in the early stages of development but is set to be a big disrupter to industries such as financial, government, health, property etc…
For years, crowdfunding has been the place for broke startups to find investment from backers. But recently, the platform has been used by many established businesses for other reasons. Successful companies have started using crowdfunding platforms to test the interest on potential products they’re looking to create and gage customer opinion and feedback before taking them to market. Not only is this a great way to find out more about your potential customers, it also prevents businesses from wasting money on production. Some businesses even attract funding from backers when they were not looking for it. Win, win.
Apps and Software
With a variety of new apps and ever changing software available, businesses are becoming increasingly more hands on with all roles of their business. Whether it’s apps for accounting like Zero and Quickbooks, or a CRM system like ACT to manage customers and relationships, technology is increasingly improving efficiency for SME’s and saving them money on outsourcing or recruiting specific roles for those particular tasks. There is almost an app available for every part of the businesses.