It's safe to say that the advent of computers changed the way business is done. As computing has continued to evolve, so is business changing to leverage the new technologies and new techniques that better computing provides. Technological changes happen so fast that most businesses struggle to keep up, and are forced to adopt a philosophy of innovation and streamlined operations to stay competitive.
Technology continues to shape business along lines that are already becoming familiar.
Cloud computing allows both small and large companies to share information and access services over the internet. The ability to use a range of high-level services like analytics or accounting via SaaS (software as a service) levels the playing field so that small shops are using the same tools as multi-national corporations.
More than 70 percent of businesses say that cloud services provides enough savings to reinvest in the company. Growing demand makes for more competition, so that businesses of all kinds are increasingly able to find specialized applications online to fill their needs. Advances in AI will make these applications even more automated and customized.
More robust Wi-Fi networks and more advanced mobile devices are allowing staff to work outside the office. Mobile tech allows them to connect with company computer from home, a hotel on the road, or a "working vacation" on the other side of the globe.
Companies can buy or develop their own mobile apps to accomplish a variety of tasks that can be done anytime, from anywhere, by employees or consumers. This is a convenience that engages customers on their own terms. With over 1 billion smartphones in use, mobility will play an increasingly vital role in corporate/consumer interaction as devices and apps become even more sophisticated.
Companies are now getting a constant flow of real-time customer data from websites, social media, and POS terminals that automatically capture clicks, likes, and sales transactions for analysis by business intelligence systems.
Analytics is becoming so easy and so common that any company can identify different groups of consumers along with their likes, dislikes, interests, and habits. This helps companies discover more effective marketing channels and techniques for each segment. This can be leveraged in increasingly more responsive and customized web apps that display the products, offers, and ads that work best with not only each segment, but each individual consumer.
Organizations are discovering that the traditional methods of training are more costly and less effective than the opportunities computing now provides. Learning software can present interactive video and virtual reality to create an immersive experience that helps trainees learn and retain knowledge more effectively.
Even more conventional training is enhanced by analytics that can point out each student's strengths and weaknesses, and what types of training they respond to best. Modern technology is revolutionizing essential skills like sales training or even virtual bookkeeping that are important to providing today's customer with experiences that keep them coming back.
Building relationships and word-of-mouth advertising is increasingly digital. Facebook alone reports 1.7 billion active users. Social media is crucial for companies to engage with their market to promote ideas and gather feedback. Social sites allow companies to research, market, and build relationships with consumers to increase the visibility of their brand. The risk of negative feedback that persists in cyberspace is forcing more businesses to realize that social media requires real empathy and dedication. Social networking continues to become more immediate and more crucial to perception of company brand.
Business leaders are coming to rely on technology-driven "customer immersion" to suggest improvements or new directions in their products and services. There's also a growing link between automation and virtual workspaces. With HR, eLearning, video conferencing, and cloud applications, the idea of virtual employees is an increasing beneficial solution. These influences will continue to transform the ways that companies are structured through the next few years, and likely well beyond.
Latest posts by Carol M. Evenson
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