The year 2020 was a transformative one for technology. While digital transformation trends were already underway, they accelerated at lightning speed since early 2020. This accelerated pace helped keep businesses moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming years, we can expect more radical changes in how we work. In this beginner’s guide to small business technology, we’ll explore four major trends that are worth keeping an eye on.
Simplification of Work
Working remotely is becoming more common, and technology is crucial in enabling remote teamwork to occur. However, it also presents new challenges. Routine tasks such as submitting expenses, purchasing, or authorizing time off, require multiple logins and apps, forcing individuals to switch contexts constantly. Furthermore, research suggests that about eight minutes are lost every hour due to an alert, text, chat, or application message.
Fortunately, new team-based collaboration tools, created to simplify things, have only made matters more accessible. Micro-app technology, for instance, consolidates employee access to the activities, tools, and tasks they need in a single work feed. Companies can also use these micro-apps to reduce noise, which can lead to increased productivity for employees.
Adoption of AI and Machine Learning
Automation is becoming more prevalent in the workforce, and fears of robots stealing jobs are misguided. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinct technologies. AI technology refers to mimicking intelligent behavior in computers, while machine learning refers to algorithms that improve performance automatically through experience.
With the rapid adoption of digital workplaces infused with AI and machine learning, employees can be freed from repetitive tasks, allowing them to concentrate on more important work. IT is continually putting the wheels in motion, leveraging these technologies to make work more comfortable and efficient.
Advances in Robotics and IoT
Businesses are continually seeking new methods to guarantee the safety of their employees, and IoT technologies, robots, and other trends will play a significant role in this effort. For example, robots are being used to take over hazardous tasks, protecting employees from injury and other dangers. Remote-hand technologies will further enhance human-machine interaction.
Meanwhile, touchless offices and smart social distancing are possible through IoT, enabling employees to access occupancy information and maps for different areas of the building. They can confirm that spaces are clean and even reserve conference rooms or hot desks from their own devices.
Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity
IT is always-on and crucial to business results, but expectations for cloud computing safety and reliability will continue to rise in the coming years. As they provide secure, reliable working environments that keep employees productive and engaged, technology companies that embrace cloud computing will become more strategic and valuable.
However, as cybersecurity threats continue to rise, CIOs’ trends are expected to be more security-focused. According to the FBI, reporting of cyberattacks increased by as much as 400% in the past year. As a result, it is critical to protect employees and company assets in the coming year.
In summary, technology is playing an increasingly significant role in the workplace, with digital transformation trends that are taking place at an accelerated rate due to the pandemic. This beginner’s guide to small business technology has explored four major trends: simplification of work, adoption of AI and machine learning, advances in robotics and IoT, and cloud computing and cybersecurity. While keeping up with emerging technologies is crucial, it’s equally important to watch and wait and keep an eye on competitors and customers to determine which emerging technologies are worth investing in.
So, remember that trends are not laws, and what works today may become outdated in a short period. Keeping up to date is essential, but we must be mindful not to invest too much into the latest tech fad. What we need is a strategy that maximizes the potential and power of technology to make the world a better place.