2017 is a big year for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) for they will contend with several more technology developments they need to adopt to facilitate their business processes. Some of these include collaboration chat tools, mobile payments, artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, cloud adoption, and so much more.
Some of these have been around longer. The trend continues, though, with some of the technologies merging while others will be rapidly maturing. More companies will be relying on technology to improve performance, increase profitability and efficiency and manage expenses.
A market study in 2015 done by the SMB Group showed the 29% of small businesses see technology as an essential tool to help improve their business outcomes. If you’re a business owner, you’ll understand the huge number of tasks you have to do and look into to keep your enterprise afloat in today’s very competitive world.
If you are starting to create a niche and have broken through the international business arena, the more tasks you need to perform. Preparing for the global market means speaking the language of different audiences, which is where language services, such as translation services and localization, will play an important role.
SMBs need to adopt several technologies for future growth. These will facilitate business processes, including marketing automation, mobile marketing, social media and business intelligence. These tools are a combination of established ones as well as newer technologies, all designed to help SMBs have a competitive edge.
1. Mobile Technology
A 2015 report by SimilarWeb revealed that about 56% of today’s consumer traffic to U.S. websites originates from mobile devices. In 2016 ownership of a single mobile device reached over 6 billion. In 2020, the number of ownership is expected to rise to over 7 billion worldwide. For SMBs to be competitive, mobile technology should be incorporated in their payment system, website design, accessibility to all types of mobile devices and their apps.
2. Marketing Automation
The availability of marketing automation software for various types of businesses and needs makes it easier for SMBs to perform efficient marketing activities. The programs are designed to provide a variety of reports, marketing tools and options, including gathering consumer demographics, customer responses and lead generation. A marketing automation software usually link with CRM platforms seamlessly, to help sales and marketing at the same time.
3. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has been around for a few years now but it’s projected to be adopted by more SMBs in 2017. Cloud computing solutions are more widely available, and offer users flexibility, efficiency, security and scalability.
The International Data Corporation’s (IDC) 2016 report stated that in the last five years, the adoption of cloud computing by SMBs in the U.S. has increased from below 20% to over 70% for companies with less than 100 employees. For firms with 100 to 999 employees, the adoption rate reached 90%. Factors that increased the rate of adoption include collaborative apps, adoption of mobile email, cloud based archiving and back up and the presence of mobile devices owned by employees.
4. Collaboration Tools
Many small and medium sized companies welcome the availability of remote workforce, since most of them do not have large offices to house a number of employees. By 2022, 60% of the workforce that used to work in offices will be working from home, according to a survey by Virgin Media Business in 2015. Collaboration platforms facilitate the coordination of teams within a virtual workspace, where they can collaborate in real time, save documents, chat and conduct meetings, and oversee projects without leaving their homes.
5. Customer Service Through Chatbots
The use of chatbots will be bigger in 2017. The artificial intelligence communications tool will greatly improve customer service. Additionally, chatbots will also be used to locate exact business locations, provide notifications for product shipment and finding specific products. Chatbots are projected to be the modern interface for consumer to business, business to consumer and business-to-business communications, according to Jeff Pulver, Internet communications pioneer.
These are just some of the essential tools SMBs should adopt in 2017. Still, other tools will remain strong, such as email, which is great for marketing blasts.
Need a Keynote Speaker every audience will enjoy? Check out Erik Qualman!