Businesses must tap technology to improve productivity and growth prospectsSuresh Rangarajan
In the digital era, businesses that are using technologies like automation are achieving faster engagement, in-house communication, better focus on strategic priorities, and a better project completion rate.
Technology has been continuously evolving and it is changing the way we perceive how things are getting done.
In the past decade, we have created several new tools and platforms to transform our business environments to be more efficient, productive and cost-effective. It’s a tidal wave and, whether you are prepared or not, it’s more likely that your business has already been swept away.
Modern organisations no longer need to have all employees in one physical space. Even small businesses have the option of using tools that can perfectly challenge established brands. Today, we hold advanced computing capabilities in our pockets. The smartphone is the first piece. For the end user, it has been life-changing. We can order food, book a cab, buy a shoe, navigate in a new city, and connect with friends at the click of a button. As Paul Daugh, the CTIO of Accenture, rightly puts, “There’s a new obligation—and a new opportunity—for companies to engage with people differently”.
Tapping tech equals growth
Let’s try to answer a basic question. What really does ensure the success of a business? In a single sentence, successful businesses have highly productive and engaged employees who execute goals aligned with the organisation’s strategies. Since execution becomes the key to success, what steps do modern businesses need to take? Also, how does an entrepreneur know that employee performance and business goals are in sync and are getting you the maximum possible returns?
Technology is the answer to all these questions. Businesses that are using technologies like automation are achieving faster engagement, in-house communication, better focus on strategic priorities, and lastly a better project completion rate.
Just consider how payments were accepted in the past. Businesses had to manually deal with each individual client/customer to complete a transaction. Today, payments are just a few taps away. With mobile wallets that reside as apps in phones, paying for products and selling them has got so much easier. That’s just one of the products on the modern technological revolution.
Five prominent technologies for tech businesses
- IoT: Research by IEEE suggests that we will have more than 50 million connected devices by the year 2020. These devices include smartphones, smart TVs, automobiles, wearables, and anything else connected to the internet. When you are interacting with a device using the internet, you are essentially uploading a lot of information. For instance, when you are browsing through some products in a shopping portal like Amazon.com, you are essentially marking your preferences. Based on your personal research, your location, your age, and several other factors, Amazon.com will suggest new products the next time you log in. That’s the charm of IoT or Internet of Things. For all modern marketers, data is the most important ingredient to success. Since so much information is being uploaded every minute, it is by using IoT that businesses can seek to target better. Companies can take advantage of IoT by coming up with more relevant and effective advertisements for individual customers. The chances of a conversion automatically get higher.
The implications of IoT are not just limited to better marketing, but also remote inventory management, faster delivery of products, higher accessibility, and a much improved customer service.
- Big Data Solutions: As already said, we are currently in the Age of Information. To be able to sell products and services, businessmen need to understand who they are selling to. Understanding the target audience is the key to success. Big Data, as the term suggests, is a combination of tools that helps businesses manage and streamline huge data sets. The concept of Big Data came from the need to understand preferences, patterns, and trends better. Today, using Big Data and analytics, businesses are able to create new experiences altogether, along with the perfectly packages products and services.
Be it healthcare or retail, Big Data helps in faster execution of information by giving the business a perfect description of the client needs. The solutions are better diagnostics, predictive analysis, re-developing products, and even data safety.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI has become a revolutionary concept today. AI is, in fact, expected to increases worldwide revenues of global business from $8 billion in 2016 to $47 billion or more by the year 2020, and this encompasses a very broad range of industries. In the digitally driven market today, businesses are dealing with huge volumes of real-time data to ensure personalised experiences for consumers. New technologies like AI, robotics, machine learning, deep learning, and cognitive computing have been a real driver in this context. Be it Apple’s Siri or Airbnb’s Aerosolve, AI helps deliver more accurate translations.
- Blockchain: Blockchain database technology is like a digitally distributed ledger at both sources and maintains a growing list of records in a decentralised server. The data records kept can be anything ranging from smart contracts to Bitcoins. The main advantage of the Blockchain technology is the encryption and authentication it provides when managing data records. Currently, Blockchain technology is being largely used by financial organisations like Swiss Bank UBS and other global banks. However, the implications of the technology are far reaching. In a recent example, Australia Post is developing a technology based on Blockchain to come up with an e-voting system for Victoria State. For a world that is moving to cryptocurrency, technologies like Blockchain would be irrefutable.
- Virtual Reality: As human beings, we like to experience things than blindly believe in what is pitched to us. For instance, when you are planning to invest in an estate that is currently under development, you have no way of seeing the end product and you would always be apprehensive of an investment. Well, virtual reality (VR) solves this! A virtual tour of the space will give you a fair idea of the space and the sales pitch will hold more meaning.
VR is changing the ways businesses market their products and services. You could be in your home and check out your hotel suite for the upcoming trip.
VR is a multisensory experience where you can emotionally connect with a product or service. Using VR, businesses like WayfairView are allowing their customers an experience of how new furniture would look and feel in their homes even before they have purchased it. It’s all about engagement and if you are aware of the interests that games like Pokémon created recently, you aren’t unaware of the opportunities with VR. In the future, every business would include VR in their customer engagement process – from marketing to installation and even support and service.
The challenges ahead
Digital transformation for most businesses is probably the next reincarnation of the promises of technology. Most of the digitisation is existent in the top companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and the like. Ninety percent of global businesses are still on their way to fully understand the implications and potential of such a transformation. The first thing that is keeping them back is the understanding and how digitisation can improve their business process. As humans, we are always conformable with routines and getting out of the comfort zone needs a bigger push than the world talking about it. Businesses find these technologies too complicated to understand. It is for business leaders to do the research the propagate opportunities in simpler terms to employees.
Apart from that, digitisation does need a substantial amount of investment which most companies aren’t yet ready for. Also, companies need to hire special expertise to oversee the implementation of the same while overlooking the associated risks.
Technology is meant to make our life easier but we do need applications that facilitate the bridging. Successful organizations have understood that new technology isn’t just about the software or hardware but the personnel. To be nimble with technology, businesses need leaders and employees who can adapt to the change.
Andrew MacAfee, from MIT, suggests that, “Find a part of your organisation that’s led by somebody who’s a little bit more comfortable working with data, who’s got a team of geeks that are part of her team and do an experiment about becoming more data-driven in forecasting, in market analysis, in product design, in human capital management, in some of these areas. Do an experiment. It’s not going to ruin the company. It’s not going to break the bank. And then learn from it.”
Owing to the digital age, today customers are more demanding than ever. Now it is in the business to improve effectiveness, productivity, and growth prospects by continuously evolving, and using modern technologies is one of the best ways.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)