If you’re a small business owner, keeping abreast of tech trends isn’t a matter of jumping on the bandwagon – it’s about seeking out innovation that could transform your operations and bolster your bottom line.
However, the tech world moves at the kind of rapid-fire pace that can make identifying the developments that could serve your business more challenging than ever. Here are the top five tech trends you should keep on your small business radar this year.
The virtual workforce
In the last few years, the advent of cloud computing has paved the way for a virtual workforce equipped to accomplish tasks at home, overseas or on the road. And according to A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050, a 2015 report by IBIS World, one in four employees will have some form of teleworking arrangement by the middle of the century.
For small business owners, tapping into the virtual workforce or hiring remote workers can reduce office overheads along with resourcing and hiring costs. It can also foster the productivity that comes from working on-the-go.
Business Intelligence tools
If you’re still using a spreadsheet to crunch customer data, it’s time to reconsider. In 2015, Business Intelligence tools such as QlikView and Tableau – which analyse large volumes of data across multiple touchpoints – are helping small business owners gain real-time insights into their customer.
Online accounting programs
The days of endless paperwork are firmly in the past. Online accounting programs such as Xero – which generates client invoices and uses the cloud to store your accounting data – have taken the pain out of financial administration.
These programs also allow bookkeepers and finance staff to access your data remotely and ensure that your accounts are updated in real-time – a feature that makes small business accounting seamless and efficient.
The Internet of Things
It’s easy to see why the Internet of Things (IoT), a term that refers to everyday objects that are wired to connect with the Internet and exchange data has emerged as an explosive trend. From smart sensors that can monitor warehouse stock levels to headsets that capture real-time data and empower relevant interactions with customers, IoT is proof of the ways in which technology can revolutionise small business processes.
It’s no secret that the rapid adoption of smartphones has put everyday transactions in the palm of customers’ hands. Luckily, the launch of programs such as Apple Pay, Square and WePay has made it simple for small businesses to both process payments from customer’s smartphones and receive incoming transactions.
From the rise of the virtual workforce to the growth of mobile payments, there’s no shortage of tech trends set to revolutionise your small business in the next six months.
Neha Kale is a freelance writer and editor who covers business, technology, arts and culture for publications in Australia and overseas.