May 2, 2015
Technology is always on the move. It seems like every month, some new technologies emerge, some technologies become standard, and others disappear from too much competition or underuse. Businesses are constantly working to identify which trends have the most staying power and to adopt those trends as quickly as possible. Here are four of the top technology trends that are impacting the business world right now.
Analytics: Data, Data Everywhere
Business analytics took the number one spot for technologies on executives’ minds in PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2014 Digital IQ Survey. In the past year or so, Big Data has been one of those things that everyone talked about, but few really understood. Now, however, new analytics tools have made it easier for businesses to collect more data than the average company probably knows what to do with. At a very basic level, Google Analytics provides traffic insights for websites around the world. On a more complex level, businesses are figuring out how to monitor other online interactions, like those that take place on social networks.
Business analytics expert Anand Rao wrote for PwC: “As analytics technologies mature, they will work in concert with humans, leveraging what computers do best, while freeing decision makers from often mundane and complex data analysis to deliver ‘intelligence at the moment.’ This ‘information advantage’ will speed the transition of data to insight and drive better business decisions and actions that generate superior business results.”
Cloud Computing or Software as a Service
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers have had an uphill struggle to convince businesses that cloud computing was the way to go, but now that the technology has been proven both safe and efficient, more and more business processes are being moved to the Cloud every day. From sales and marketing management, to customer relationships management (CRM), to website performance tracking, nearly every business software need can now be met via a SaaS product. If this trend continues as it is expected to, installed software will start to seem as outdated as the floppy disk.
With mobile traffic increasing steadily, most companies have already figured out that they need to engage their customers on their smartphones and tablets. So, they started designing mobile apps for all of their products, sometimes even taking a mobile-first approach. Today, mobile apps are a must-have for companies to be successful in the B2C market.
But it is only in the past year or so that there has been widespread acceptance of personal mobile devices in the workplace, as well. Indeed, the mobile workforce is growing rapidly. According to data from Global Workplace Analytics, telecommuting has increased 80 percent since 2005.
Gartner predicts that the next phase in the mobile growth trend will find companies putting more focus on the needs of mobile users, rather than on the devices themselves.
Similar to what is happening with mobile computing, companies are starting to integrate social technologies into their business processes. In the same PwC survey above, executives rated socially-enabled business processes almost as highly as business analytics for top business technologies. The technologies used by firms range from communication tools like discussion boards, to game mechanics and collaborative brainstorming tools.
Social business consultant Sean O’Driscoll notes that companies are adopting socially enabled business processes “to create engaged and empowered organizations—teams that seamlessly work across traditional and organizational lines with an eye towards unleashing more talent, innovation, and efficiency across the enterprise.”
Online tools have made it possible for firms of all sizes (not just large multinationals) to reap the benefits of these and other current technology trends. How does your company stack up?
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