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Awareness to business trends are important for any business owner. The savviest businessman finds a way to use the trending topics to improve their enterprise’s operational efficiency. The trends of the past for small business computing seem to be focused on the establishment and practical use of technologies that are relatively new, but are in full practice in the business world. These technologies include the manufacturing and worldwide distribution of devices that enhance a user’s connectivity by presenting powerful interfaces to take advantage of their incredible mobility.
As these devices become commonplace for consumers, new trends are sure to be established that will take over business computing and force business owners to create strategies for 2014 and beyond. With innovative minds creating new possibilities and technology companies dedicated to pushing out new products equipped with features designed to meet a wide array of business pain points, new trends have developed with an eye on integrating technology into every aspect of their workflow.
Here are three trends to be mindful of in 2014.
Building Smarter Businesses
We have come to the point where most businesses have incorporated some sort of computing infrastructure into their operations, but they haven’t stopped there. They have become much more aware of customer needs and other information relating to their products, services, the user’s experiences, and potential avenues of growth.
Businesses have become much more aware of what the customer wants, and how they use products and services. This information, as well as other data that’s used to track the hundreds of statistics and variables is called business intelligence. Measured by advance analytics, this information is making organizations large and small rethink the way their operations run.
Business Intelligence is the cognizant use of information on past and current events to develop business plans that work best to make their company’s whole process run more efficiently. That can assist the business owners to recognize the speculative trends that will affect planning, operations, or distribution of products or services. The information allows companies to measure how they’ve done in the past, and combine those numbers with market information, to develop enhanced and specific marketing campaigns for their products. This provides them with information they can use to cut costs and improve efficiency.
One inexpensive and simple way you can improve your company’s business intelligence and work toward clairvoyance is by using the social networking accounts. Social listening is the term used for the act of researching your customers, your competition, how your product or service is received, and even manipulate your organization’s place in the discussion to help drive sales. Also tabbed as “Social Media Monitoring”; the practice is just that. By keeping up on your social networking accounts, you can learn a great deal about your customer base, as well as everything you need to know to succeed in your local market. The trend of relying on enhanced, trackable information is sure to expand as analytics improve and companies are able to gain a more clairvoyant perspective and use it to cut into their competitors’ market value.
Embracing Enhanced Connectivity
What if you were able to somehow connect, track, and predict the behaviors of humans by connecting all of their precious things to a network? It’s called the “Internet of Things” and you will need to understand immediately that the concept is here to stay and threatens to alter the way we interact with the machines that are designed to make our lives easier.
This concept is one to connect people (users) with the things around them to integrate an ease-of-use that could be a revolutionary change in our society. Have you ever said to yourself, “There isn’t enough time in the day?” With smart “things” all around you, you will not only be able control things remotely, you will be able to get information about practical issues that will make your life easier.
For example, if you were to get an Internet-connected refrigerator, you could program that machine to alert you when something is running low. The plan, in concept, is that eventually your connected smart fridge will be able to order the food for you, expediting the entire situation and saving you time. Practical applications like this will be at the core of “Internet of Things” technology for the end-user.
This concept works for businesses too. In fact, there are 1.9 billion devices that are currently connected to the Internet. That is expected to increase around 400% in the next four years. The more “things” that are connected to the web, the more options people will have to get work done. Security concerns will keep the growth of the Internet of Things moving slowly, but as it escapes the conceptual stage and starts offering solutions for consumers, the more integrated everything will become.
The last trend is obvious. Mobile computing is everywhere. You can’t leave your house without seeing someone on their phone or being on the phone yourself. It’s hard to believe, but mobile computing will likely become an even bigger part of business in 2014. People depend on their devices to stay connected and mobile device proliferation has led to a battle of different software manufactures searching for market supremacy. While this competition has probably led to a more direct innovation of these devices, people still mostly use them for personal tasks and communication (they’re stated purpose). In 2014, consumers will begin to see a larger shift in the mobile market as the technologies evolve toward business.
Mobility is rapidly becoming one of the most important variables for many businesses, especially because the benefits of such a system not only include the devices themselves, they also include applications that allow for productivity. As security measures for managing organizational mobility improve, and more small business owners become conscious of the numerous ways mobile technology can present boosts to their company’s productivity, you’ll begin to see the mobile worker as more commonplace. In 2014, you will see additional security and enhanced management capabilities added to mobile device management software offerings in the hopes of building a mobile device policy for their business, to elevate productivity and efficiency.
As a part of the mobility push, consumers will see many manufacturers start offering wearable technology. These devices, such as Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear may be geared for consumers now, but it’s only a matter of time before there are applications that can work for business as well. The manufactures will likely align their wearable technology, with the available devices that manufacturer already have on the market. These new gadgets will be of some benefit to business owners and executives in 2014 and beyond.
Do you think there are any other trends to be mindful of in 2014. If so, leave your opinions in the comments.