A new year always has the tendency for bringing new changes to businesses large and small. Both internally and externally, companies must evolve to continually compete with the ever growing competitive landscape. For small businesses, technology is bringing some key trends that could potentially change the way we do business. These four are key areas you should pay attention to in 2017 as small business is increasingly utilizing them all to become more adept in the modern world.
1. Cloud Computing
Cloud has been popular over the last few years with small business but looks to be taking another leap in 2017. A large part of this is the expanding availability of analytics that small businesses are beginning to utilize. No longer is in-depth data analysis limited to large enterprises. New software is allowing more companies gather data to help them make better decisions and a large portion of that is being done with cloud services.
Cloud services like Office 365, Salesforce, and Google Drive are continuing to help small business shift to internet based services; providing management and data sharing capabilities that rapidly becoming more mainstream
2. Subscription Bases Services
More businesses are opting to a subscription based sales model in industries that have traditionally never done so; think companies like Dollar Shave Club that take something like razors and make it into a monthly subscription. The benefits like recurring payments create easier sales projections for small business; while consumers also benefit from the ease of an automatic payment while receiving what they need monthly.
For small businesses, this form of recurring payments has benefits that include more stability and an increased capability for accurate budgeting and planning. Look for more businesses to develop ways to add subscription services for their consumers.
3. AI Support
Machine learning has taken off in the last year and 2017 may be when we see an explosion of the applications in action; one being online support. With the advance in technology, small businesses can now able to utilize “smart bots” that can live chat with customers via instant messaging and solve a multitude of problems for them. This may raise some eyebrows among small businesses because it allows them to handle a much larger workload with less manpower.
One such bot is Facebook’s version of this technology. Companies can utilize “Answerbot” on their Facebook pages and after connecting the bot to their information base, have the program respond to customers right away. Technology like Answerbot is only becoming more advanced, too.
Ok, so security isn’t something that’s exactly new in 2017. With this being said, the trend remains a top priority for small business because of the new trends and the overall societal trend. That is an exponentially expanding network of technologies that are being connected. Cloud computing, subscription based services, AI support; they all create massive opportunity but they also demand a high level of security because they lead the way in that tech connection.
The technology age has led the way for many years and doesn’t plan to stop in 2017. The fact is, machines are becoming smarter and doing so paves the way for small businesses to have access to elements that have, up until now, have been solely available to large enterprises. Though there are many expanding aspects of tech, keep these trends in mind as you begin your new year, because technology isn’t slowing down.