October 19, 2020
When you’re a business owner, your capability to adjust to the marketplace commands whether you’ll float or sink. You have to meet demand without biting off more than you can chew or losing too much money in the process of achieving your end goal.
According to a recent article published by Forbes, consumers want to work with brands that are easier to navigate, more accessible, and offer some level of personalization. Essentially, they want the comfort of brick-and-mortar brands that mimic the targeted, smooth experience of online shopping.
Technology’s pace of transformation has had an intense impact across nearly every domain. These days it’s not enough to keep atop of emerging technologies but to keep ahead of them.
In this piece, we will be looking at six technological solutions that hold the potential to transform your business completely and take it to new heights.
1. Big Data
Big data can be crucial for businesses target growth. There currently is about 30 zettabytes of data in the world (more of which is being created every minute from online platforms, watches, and other connected devices than was created from the beginning of time until the year 2000). This number is predicted to escalate further to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
Every business, be it a small startup or one in the Fortune-500 league, needs data-driven insights to perform well. When it comes to comprehending the needs of your target audience and customer preferences, big data plays a significant role. It even helps you identify their needs.
In addition to this, Big Data allows you to test numerous variations of high-end computer-aided designs within seconds. For instance, within a supply chain, you can gather information about material affect costs, lead times, performance and more by leveraging Big Data. This information will then allow you to raise overall productivity levels and efficiency of various production processes.
In many industries, established competitors and even new entrants use data-driven strategies to capture, compete, and innovate. This is the very reason you can find examples of Big Data usage in almost every sector, right from IT to healthcare.
The significance of automation in business can be seen in helping companies do more with less by removing redundant tasks and introducing smart workflows. Business automation also increases the visibility of what’s happening on the work front and your everyday operations, which leaves one with even more time to focus on business matters that demand greater attention.
Automation tools segment information systematically. This is the exact reason why one of the biggest benefits of business automation is the amount of time your team will save on manual, repeatable tasks.
Companies can leverage automation to take care of your data entries and other such tasks. This will leave more time for your employees to focus on enhancing the customer experience through exceptional service. This, in turn, will directly result in more conversions and get leads flowing your way.
Automation is a one-stop solution to develop increased visibility, accountability, and centralized processes required for your business to grow and serve more customers. It can help you with everything right from managing workflows, automating redundant tasks, and providing consistent experience to all your customers. This will help improve your company’s bottom line in the long run.
Chatbot technology allows companies to provide their customers with full-time support – without the expense associated with maintaining a full-time staff. Chatbots can help you track and respond to inquiries as needed, deliver automated customer service across multiple channels, and learn from the data your customers give you.
According to one recent report by Business Insider, more than 85% of customer interactions are set to be managed without a human by 2020. This further implies that chatbots are rapidly becoming an expected – and acceptable form of customer service.
Before settling on a new service, try considering how to-
- Integrate bot customer service with human touchpoints.
- Train existing customer service representatives to pick up the thread of a bot interaction or monitor for accuracy.
- Work closely with your software reps to program Artificial Intelligence that can handle common customer requests.
- Engage with, learn from, and qualify customer leads, driving customers to make purchases.
If you’re running an eCommerce business, deploying a chatbot is a must since you really want your customer interactions to be seamless and fruitful.
4. Wearable Technology
Whether you’re looking for the right channel for reaching your customers, or a strategy to make employees more productive, wearable technology is set to transform the way in which you communicate in your day-to-day business.
eCommerce giants like Amazon are already using GPS trackers in their warehouses to ameliorate the overall productivity of their workers. Only a few years ago, the CRM pros at Salesforce too made their software compatible with commonly purchased wearable brands, so companies can increase the efficiency of their reps on the go. And if your customers are wearing these same devices, you’ll have an opportunity to expand your marketing channels, too.
However, the most common piece of wearable tech to impact your business might not be Google Glass or an Apple Watch just as yet. Wellness programs that use fitness trackers are often strongly linked to companies negotiating lower rates on collective insurance policies. Not a bad expense for small businesses to minimize in 2020, right?
The technology that makes Bitcoin transactions independently verifiable and prompt is coming for businesses, too. Of course, we’re talking about Blockchain here!
It isn’t difficult to see why this technology is disrupting the financial industry at such a speedy rate. Purchases made with Bitcoin eliminate the need to have a middleman – the banks that verify transactions and move money around. With blockchain, networks of computers and other people provide the balances and checks – not individual institutions.
So, what does this mean for business owners? For one, it means businesses with the potential to take payments in Bitcoin will see some progress on the financial side. In contrast with processing credit cards, Bitcoin entirely puts an end to transaction fees. And because the virtual currency isn’t bound to any country, you won’t have to worry about exchange rates either.
According to U.S. News & World Report, close to 100,000 businesses across the globe already deal in Bitcoin transactions on a daily basis for exactly these reasons. Having money on hand is often critical to your businesses’ survival when compared with credit card transactions, which can take several days to show up in merchants’ accounts, bitcoin payments can be in their electronic pockets in just a few hours.
As blockchain technology becomes more widespread, you’ll start to see it take over other areas of business as well. In the medical industry, tech experts predict networks of hospitals will use blockchain to verify and update patient records, and diagnoses instantaneously. Experts also expect to see blockchain tech in education, insurance companies, and retail. Just imagine the business implications of no longer having to sign, print, and scan contracts.
6. Machine Learning
It might sound futuristic, but machine learning (ML) has long affected how you interact with the tools on our computers. For instance, Gmail’s spam filter makes use of a robust algorithm that recognizes and sorts messages based on their content. As time passes, the algorithm learns how to identify messages that come from strange email addresses, or ones that use odd syntax, and marks them as spam. In short – machine learning keeps your inbox spam-free.
According to TechCrunch.com, big retailers everywhere use this same technology to augment their online customer service.
“Home Depot needs to show which bathtubs in its huge inventory will fit in someone’s weird-shaped bathroom,” explains reporter Lukas Biewald . “Apple needs to show relevant apps in its app store. Intuit needs to surface a good help page when a user types in a certain tax form.’ That’s why the research firm Gartner predicts investments in machine learning will only grow in the near future. Over the next year, businesses are expected to spend 3.5 trillion dollars on IT services globally – and a big portion of that is expected to fund ML technology.
Businesses that don’t have access to these resources need to keep an eye on what startups do with this technology and watch for improvements to software packages and analytics tools. Making strategic investments in customer management, individual marketing, or inventory management software with machine learning capabilities will only place you ahead of your competitors.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are many other technologies that are working wonders for your market counterparts as we speak. As a business owner, you should be on a constant lookout for new ways to innovate and get things done in a better manner.
The foundation of a robust future for businesses has already been laid down by rapidly occurring technological advancements. Only those that adjust their sails and are willing to keep up with the pace at which these inventions are happening, will be the ones that emerge out victorious in the long run.
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder and president of Arkenea, a digital health consulting firm. Rahul has been featured as a technology thought leader across Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others.