With over a 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets expected to sell this year alone and over 50% of businesses already turning to cloud computing solutions, technology is rapidly reshaping the business world. Coupled with increasingly globalized competition and the accelerating speed and impact of disruptive trends from mobile payments to advancements in online search, recommendation and review tools, it’s high-time you considered giving your own workplace an upgrade. Between increasingly affordable off the shelf technology and growing access to customers, it bears noting: There’s never better a better time to start, run or turbo-charge companies of every scope and size. Following are five key high-tech trends every working professional should be aware of going forward, which can help any enterprising executive boost productivity, revenues and performance seemingly overnight.
Cloud Storage and Applications – Smart devices are predicted to outnumber PCs by 2015, according to research firm IDC, even as mobile handsets become more powerful and a skyrocketing range of online applications effectively allows your desktop to travel wherever you do. Outsource data storage and archival to remote Internet servers, rendering key files and programs accessible on-demand from any high-speed connection, and employees can literally share, collaborate, and retrieve important files or updates virtually anytime, anywhere. Using these online storage and delivery systems, distributed workforces can join together in real-time to do business from hotel rooms or remotely-flung offices, and remain in constant contact no matter how far afield they go. Able to simplify IT management, enhance connectivity, and reduce infrastructure costs, all can help your team get the job done efficiently, and stay in contact, wherever business takes them. With the mobile workforce anticipated to swell to 1.3 billion by 2015, big data’s impact on everyday operations only threatens to grow in coming months.
Mobile Devices and Communications – Dozens of smartphones and tablet PCs are making massive gains in power, performance and connectivity. With screen sizes growing, battery life expanding, and processors making massive strides in horsepower as well, all are also offering an ever-expanding range of features and versatile software programs for solving common tasks from managing inventory to videoconferencing and conducting sizzling HD product demonstrations. Allowing you to juggle a full calendar, get turn-by-turn directions to meetings, or even offer customers specials and deals right from their pocket, these gadgets are becoming ever more important productivity tools. But beyond simply enhancing daily operations, such devices also continue to transform customer expectations and behaviors, increasingly demanding that businesses now design websites, content and media for consumption in ways best suited to these formats.
Content and Inbound Marketing – With more customers turning online to research and purchase goods and services than ever, and companies’ identities growingly defined by their online presence, firms in every field are increasingly finding themselves in the publishing business. Small wonder 78% of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing according to promotions firm Hanley-Wood, while nearly nine of every ten B2B and B2C marketers currently swear by these advertising strategies. With word of mouth recommendation, online reviews, and social media booming in influence in impact, companies spent $118.4 billion on content, video and social media marketing last year alone. From email newsletters to promotional videos and targeted Facebook, Twitter and Google+ advertising campaigns, all potentially provide powerful, cost-effective ways to cut through daily life’s clutter, connect with buyers at crucial inflection points, and send click-through and revenue rates soaring.
Practical, Problem-Solving Development Approaches – In the past, businesses were quick to chase ambitious visions and attempt to raise the bar for innovation by building sprawling and wildly-ambitious creations. Today, a growing number of successful ventures are instead winning by adopting a philosophy based on smaller, faster, and less complex releases, instead chasing organic growth, and steadily improving products, services and strategies over time based on market feedback gained with each new launch. Market leaders in every field are growingly taking a more cautious approach. Like app developers, who ship products quickly, track customer habits, and make rapid improvements based on usage patterns, more entrepreneurs are finding growing success by pursuing smaller, speedier, more value-oriented debut approaches. Numerous low-cost, readily available technologies now let savvy business owners produce minimum viable products, launch faster, and learn more rapidly, allowing ample time to pivot, adjust strategy, or slash spending as needed.