Technological advancements have changed the way businesses operate. More efficiency, reduced expenses and increased communication are just some of the goals businesses have in mind when evaluating their technology budgets in each New Year. Our culture is more tech-savvy than ever and small and large businesses are alike are expected to be constantly connected to their business and their customers. With 2013 well underway, there are some trends you should be paying attention to in order to finish out your year strong. Three of the most major technology trends taking place for small businesses are a move to the cloud, big data use, and marketing automation.
More and more, small businesses are seeing the cloud as a way to grow business and access advanced technologies that once seemed affordable only for larger competitors. According to the IBM 2012 Tech Trends Report, which surveyed 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions for their organization, nearly two-thirds of respondents plan to increase their company investments in cloud-based technology. Having cloud-based phone systems and tools can improve communication and collaboration to make every day, and more difficult, tasks more manageable. A CDW survey found that 55% of small businesses were able to increase efficiency and mobility (49%). A small business that utilizes cloud-technology is more flexible and allows you to more easily adapt to changing business needs as they come.
Analyzing large data is something major corporations are on board with. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been collected in just the past two years. As Big Data numbers become increasingly accessible for small businesses, more of these smaller companies will begin analyzing and using it to help their business stand apart from others. Small businesses, whether aware of it or not, have a plethora of data that they can use to boost their business efforts. Big Data is big trend in technology for 2013 as access to all the information, from consumer behavior to ideal retargeting, become easily accessible. Even if your small business only uses the insights enabled through social accounts or your email marketing software, there’s a lot of information that can be used to better serve your customers.
Small business owners don’t have much time on their hands. While cloud computing and big data can help make things more efficient, marketing automation software takes the cake in terms of increased efficiency. Resource Nation notes that marketing automation requires some preparation, but that the long-term benefits are worth the initial work. With marketing automation, you can target and segment your audiences for the greatest ROI. Small businesses can use the automation capabilities to determine ideal send times and contact every customer to ensure no potential sale falls through the cracks.
Small businesses want to be the best, compete with the best, and outshine competitors. Having and utilizing the latest technology can make a difference. As different solutions and programs become more mainstream, they’re becoming more affordable so your small business doesn’t have to break the bank in order to be successful. Three technology trends for small businesses to pay attention to are cloud computing, big data and marketing automation platforms. Make the most of these in 2013 and you’ll see greater success with your technology and business in the New Year.
Author Bio: Erica Bell is a small business tech writer for lead generation company Business.com. Erica covers a range of topics including software solutions and online marketing trends. Find Business.com on Twitter!