Keeping ahead of the competition means keeping up with the latest technology trends so you can be one of the first to take advantage of them.
Technology is always evolving, and new advances can mean better network security, faster internet connections, and greatly improved office productivity. They also mean adapt or get left behind and face years of struggling to keep up.
About 80% of small businesses aren’t taking full advantage of digital tools. This leaves them earning less revenue per employee than more digitally advanced peers.
Keeping an eye on the upcoming trends can help you get out ahead of them, plan, budget, and be ready before anyone else in your area.
We’re helping you prepare now for what’s coming in 2021 with a rundown of the biggest technology trends impacting businesses this year.
Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)
Customer data is now spread out over multiple cloud apps. Companies may have customers logged in a CRM, in an email program, and in an online accounting tool.
This causes a few major problems:
- A customer record may not be identical in all applications
- Time is wasted re-keying information
- Data privacy protection is more at risk because customer data is in multiple databases
A new trend is a move to consolidation of that data through a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP is designed to be a single place where customer data can be kept. When other applications need that data, they access the CDP.
This eliminates the problem with duplicate databases of customer records and reduces data errors and manual entries.
Zero-trust Network Security
The IT security landscape is only getting more dangerous. The pandemic brought on a slew of new attacks as cybercriminals worked every angle that they could to take advantage of the disruption and the new remote workforce.
The FBI reported a 400% increase in cyberattacks during the pandemic.
Today’s threats are getting increasingly sophisticated and more costly. Between 2015 and 2021, the cost of ransomware damages increased by 57 times.
This has led to the rise of the zero-trust security strategy to keep businesses protected from both known and unknown threats.
With a zero-trust security strategy, a network doesn’t automatically trust users or applications that are already inside the network. It employs a number safeguards, including:
- Application whitelisting
- Application ringfencing
- Advanced multi-factor authentication
- Geographically based access privileges
More 5G Devices & Faster 5G
5G has been promising internet speeds as much as 200x faster what we’re currently used to but hasn’t quite lived up to that expectation yet.
It took a while for mobile carriers to get their 5G networks rolled out and device manufacturers have only just begun to launch 5G-compabile devices. For example, Apple only just brought out its 5G-enabled iPhone 12 last fall.
Look for 2021 to bring more 5G devices as well as faster 5G connections. While we may not yet see 200X the speed, networks should start to get noticeably faster as 5G begins to grow up.
For your business, this means to look for 5G compatibility with any devices you purchase, including laptops. You may also want to reach out to your ISP to see what their 5G plans are for the future.
Use of AI In Everyday Business Apps
Microsoft and Adobe have already been exploring the use of AI in their applications to improve user experience and boost productivity. Presenter Coach in PowerPoint is a good example of this, as well as Adobe’s Neural Filters.
Look for more of the everyday business apps your team uses to receive AI-powered feature upgrades. You’ll want to take the time to explore these and have your team trained on how to take advantage of them.
Being an early adopter of new AI features in business tools can give you a significant competitive advantage over slower adopting companies.
Home Office & Remote Teams Optimization
The pandemic completely changed the way we work and remote teams are now becoming the norm. The business world isn’t expected to go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. Instead, companies will be looking for ways to optimize their use of remote teams and home offices.
Look for VoIP phone systems becoming the standard as landlocked landlines are left behind. Remote teams will also be looking for more productive working environments than the kitchen table.
This could lead to companies that have the ability completely closing physical offices and investing some of those savings into the at-home furnishings and hardware their teams need to be productive.
Remote managed services will also be a necessity to ensure all those home offices are running efficiently and aren’t leaving any business data at risk of being compromised.
Prepare for a Year of New Opportunities!
Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business position yourself to take advantage of new technology advances to improve productivity and reduce costs.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.