Seven key technologies businesses should invest in for the year ahead
Many businesses recognise that investing in technology is key to driving productivity and efficiency, but where exactly should that spend be targeted? Technology is a broad term, and it is not always easy to know which strands will best support the company's goals.
ROCC has identified seven pillars of technology that are crucial to consider for the 2017/18:
Mobile phones are ubiquitous in today's society, and their dominance over other forms of technology continues to rise – the global number of mobile-only internet users has seen a huge increase, from just under 14 million in 2010 to more than 788 million in 2015. Today's workforce, and customers, expect to be able to use their phone to complete any task so implementing mobile solutions to accelerate internal processes and deliver core functions is key to connecting with those individuals.
There is more data available to businesses than ever before, but without an effective way to make sense of that information it is worthless. Analytics offers a holistic real-time view of business performance to make sense of data and drive effective decision making. While many companies recognise the benefits of this software, a recent survey by ROCC revealed that 95% of businesses admit they are under-utilising analytics.
This is not necessarily a new innovation, but it is a relatively simple step that, when done right, can deliver significant efficiencies, contain costs and improve compliance. Technology now exists to automate and simplify almost every process – from invoice approvals to KPI alerts, businesses need to take a step back and see which areas of manual intervention can be trimmed.
Multiple systems that don't 'talk to each other' lead to pockets of information, but no overall view. Integrated software is key to unifying data sources to offer a single version of truth, from which it is easier to identify areas where efficiencies can be made. This also frees up IT resources from simple maintenance to spend more time on strategic value-adding activities.
In tandem with the benefits that advances in technology have brought to businesses there has also been an increase in risk. Crime statistics in England and Wales reveal there were 2.5 million instances of cybercrime over 12 months, and there have been several high profile examples lately, such as HSBC was subject to a DDoS attack. Security is arguably more important than ever and organisations must prioritise investing in solutions that protect data, processes and resources against breach and misuse.
Cloud has been growing in popularity for several years now, but there are still many businesses that have yet to move their applications to this form of hosting. There are now robust cloud-based solutions for every core back office function (finance, Customer Relationship Management, Human Resources & payroll, supply chain) and it can provide a scalable, cost-effective infrastructure as there are no expensive resources needed to manage IT.
There are now around 1.8 billion users of social media across the world. It has had a huge impact on culture, the way individuals and businesses communicate externally and is increasingly changing internal communications. This trend is only set to increase as more and more millennials, for whom social media is the norm, enter the workforce. Businesses need to embrace social media as key to engaging with staff, as well as customers, and an opportunity for collaborative working.
It is important to note that to gain the most from utilising these seven areas of technology, it is best to use them in conjunction with each other, rather than in isolation, as each complements the other.
Posted Sunday, March 26th, 2017 by Andrew Westhead