Adopting New Technology: How Small Businesses Get Ready for 2019
Small business technology is a term that has different meanings for different businesses and people. While you might imagine a landscape of automation, machine learning and fast-evolving blockchain technology, this does not accurately represent the operations of small businesses in general.
Tech adoption is a sensitive area for most SMBs, as they do recognize the need to only deploy the latest technologies and small business software at the workplace. This is what ensures they provide quality solutions to their clients. But the tech trends are every-changing and the costs are on the rise, while according to the US Small Business Administration, there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the US employing 47.8 percent of nationwide workers.
Understand small business technology adoption
Before jumping to actually adopting and implementing new technology in 2019, it’s important for businesses to understand two things: the right technology to adopt and the right path to a successful implementation.
Is there bad technology?
The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Assess your needs. For small businesses and especially startups, technology should be about getting the job done. While upgrading and using the latest software is a “nice to have” feature, it really isn’t a must for many. However, the stage of the business, its domain of operation, its clients, are all factors that influence the decision. The right technology can free up existing resources, ensure operations are smooth and problem-free, and optimize key business processes.
What’s the right way to adopt and implement new small business software?
There’s no general rule on this. Just like the right type of technology differs from business to business, so does the right path to successful implementation. There are several steps that can help with the process though:
- Identify areas that benefit most from further tech adoption;
- Identify the technology that will bring you the most competitive advantage in those areas;
- Determine the time and energy required to implement solution and establish the best time to do so based on your analysis
Know the playing field
Trailing the pack is not an option for small businesses when it comes to technology. It’s simply not sustainable. A recent survey polled 699 small to medium sized businesses and only 35% indicated having difficulties with keeping up with tech advancements. But, if small businesses want to compete for market share with large enterprises, then it’s only technology that can enable them to do so.
So what do you do when you need more than you can afford? Because small businesses don’t operate on the same budget as large companies, you pick and choose. Become an expert in new technology availability, research the market, know your options. The more you know about what’s coming in 2019, the better and faster you’ll be able to decide what to adopt for your business.
Appreciate the power of mobility
One technology that’s rapidly extending in the business sector is wearable devices that enable mobility. Employees or team members everywhere can receive alerts, report, stay informed and act rapidly. Adopt portable technology in 2019 and you’ll stay ahead of the curve.
Anticipate and react
Machine learning and CUI will be a big part of 2019. While machine learning is viewed by many as an enterprise technology, that will all be in the past. Small businesses need to generate sufficient data to be able to benefit from machine learning. If they do, it will be of great help in anticipating trends.
Conversational user interfaces will then be able to leverage machine learning and AI to provide better customer support, which will be essential in 2019. Chatbot performance is still a challenge, but machine learning algorithms can help train chatbots.
Learn from technology
There are many differences between small businesses and enterprises. An important one is that small businesses, and especially startups, don’t follow as rigid processes and SOPs and are greatly more flexible when it comes to changing flows of operations and tactics. Business intelligence tools are their best friends in this area. It’s because small businesses can not only derive valuable insight, but also act on it more freely.