How Technology Affects Business?
Some 30 years ago a US businessman could hardly imagine he would sell goods online and work with software development teams from another continent. It was only mid-90s when the Internet came to prominence. Smartphones hit the mass market in 1999. Transportation companies used to deliver cargos without GPS.
Today, we can hardly measure the use of technology in business.
In 2016, there will be 6.4 billion connected devices worldwide. The Web is over; are you ready to embrace the Internet of Everything?
I bet you are. In fact, high-tech has already altered the way businesses operated for decades.
Technology in business: small changes make a big difference
- Communication. According to the 2015 survey conducted by Forrester and Citrix, 65% of employees in Germany, France, UK and US work remotely at least one day per week. As more millennials enroll in the job market, every employer has to review corporate policy and use technology to retain his millennial workers. With all the gadgets and business apps, workplace flexibility is quite achievable. Why send emails when you can keep in touch with your team via Slack? The messaging app allows you to create an open channel for each project and connect employees who work on the task. The app features drag-and-drop options for easy file sharing, too. There’s also Basecamp – a great project management tool that has been adopted by over 100 k companies. In case you want to make sure your remote employees do not idle, use the TeamViewer application to monitor their desktop activity;
- Customer acquisition. 70% of companies agree it’s cheaper to retain a client than to acquire a new one. It’s no wonder they employ latest technology tools to deliver value to customers. Nike built a mobile app that uses GPS data to draw accurate running maps and motivates amateur sportsmen through playing music and sharing feedback with the Nike online community. Absolut entered the Internet of Things market with connected vodka bottles that can be integrated into Smart Home systems. L’Oreal set up a smart tech laboratory (Connected Beauty Incubator) to bring innovation to the cosmetic industry. No, this time the famous beauty brand is not brewing a potion that makes your hair grow fast. Instead, they’ve launched a mirror app that allows customers to virtually try on cosmetics and hairstyles. What about your company?
- Traveling. In 2016, the US business travel spendings will reach $ 299.9 billion (up 13% from 2012). Businessmen do travel a lot, and the hospitality industry has gone the extra mile to make traveling less stressful. With App in the Air, you’ll be able to track flights and get notifications on flight-related changes. You can use the Currency converter app to keep track of your finances wherever you are. The HotelTonight mobile application allows you to find a room at a good price or choose a hotel with the highest user ratings;
- Advertising. Guess how much businessmen spend on digital advertising? In 2015, it was $ 170.5 billion (worldwide stats); in less than two years ad spending will hit $ 252.02 billion. Although the effectiveness of TV advertising has only decreased by 1.5% (between 2012 and 2014), businesses are looking for brand-new ways to interact with their customers. Companies design high-quality ad banners and integrate them into mobile app environment. Rovio (the driving force behind Angry Birds) rode a wave of iTunes’ popularity to reduce its marketing expenses. In 2009, IKEA carried out a highly successful Facebook campaign to promote its new store in Malmo. And yes, don’t forget about IoT. By 2020, connected gadgets will annually generate over 40 zettabytes (trillion gigabytes) of data. What does it mean for businesses? Well, if you run a grocery store, you’ll be able to partner with a smart fridge manufacturer, learn the buying habits of your potential customers and optimize your marketing strategy. Almost 60% of US companies have already started using IoT-generated data in digital advertising and – so far – managed to meet their goals;
- Cost reduction. High-quality software and smart gadgets do not come cheap; how can you possibly use technology tools in business to reduce operating and marketing costs? You certainly can – and here’s the proof. The US Food and Drug Administration receives over 900 thousand reports annually, and 10% of these are written by hand. The institution had to hire extra staff to turn handwritten papers into digital files. In 2013, FDA adopted the Captricity data extraction solution and cut operating expenses by a factor of 5 to 10. There’s also a proliferation of time management apps (like Evernote, Toggl and Mind42) which improve your employees’ productivity. Once businesses learn how to use IoT data in digital marketing, they will eliminate the costs associated with data collection and research.
Technology is everywhere. Almost 30% of all online payment transactions are made on mobile. Users spend 90% of their smartphone time absorbed in applications. In 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide.
I’m not saying you need to find a reliable vendor and develop a sophisticated augmented reality app right now; after all, such important business decisions are always preceded by a comprehensive market research. What I’m driving at is that having a great website, being active on social media and measuring the results of your marketing efforts is a must (and it’s something 50% of US businesses cannot boast about).