5 Hot business technology trends to watch this year

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Mobile Cloud - work anytime, anywhere, any device!

Each year I’m often asked what my predictions are for the business technology scene in Australia. Thus, below is a quick summary of where I believe things will be hot in 2014:

  1. Mobile – everyone is saying it, but mobile will continue to be the platform all business owners MUST adopt. This means, from your website being completely mobile friendly, to being able to conduct all business functions from your mobile (communications, transactions, CRM, finance, HR, BI, etc) and ultimately being able to run your entire business from your mobile device – anytime, anywhere!
  2. eCommerce – will become much easier to embrace thanks to the likes of Stripe.com & Amazon.com, both who provide great platforms to enable businesses to launch the best online shopping experiences possible for their consumers. This includes breaking down the barriers to setting up online merchant facilities, which Stripe has mastered quite well.
  3. File sharing consolidation in the cloud – this will occur relatively quickly I feel, as more small business users fall out of fashion with the likes of Dropbox, due to the lack of security and control over shared data. We’ve recently seen a number of small businesses rely too much upon such platforms and in turn be burnt as a result of this lack of true file security across users.
  4. Custom apps – as businesses look for ways to make it easier to engage with their clients, simple apps that work across multiple devices continues to seek high demand from businesses across the nation. Thanks to the cloud, its become cheaper and easier for these apps to come to life.
  5. Bespoke business app stores – as more users adopt their own devices (BYOD) and subsequently need to know what apps your business has chosen as the keys to business success, there will be a growing need for businesses to define what systems and software one must use to work with their business data. Without these business apps stores specific to your firm, staff will likely install and use many of their own apps to simply get the job done, risking sharing your data to 3rd parties across the globe, whom you often don’t have any control over!

Smart technology leads to happier staff

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What’s the biggest cost to most business? Staff right? Well that should be the number one focus for most businesses……ie, finding ways to get the most out of their human resources capital!

Over the recent months I’ve met with a number of business owners who continue to dismiss technology as a way to genuinely help their people and in turn their businesses succeed.

Here’s two quick wins you can implement in your business to help offer more to your staff and in return expect positive results for your business:

1. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Many staff are used to their own smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc, and often would rather continue to use what they know and are proficient in. Thus embracing BYOD will enable you to let them use what they know best and in turn, get more out of their chosen device. Some of our clients have reduced capex hardware investment and instead now offer a tech fund to each employee each year, so they can buy whatever they like……so long as its compatible with the office technology ecosystem of course. As a business owner, you then don’t have to worry about investing into costly technology hardware that is constantly ageing and not looked after as well as someone would if it was their own!

2. Remote Access (virtual cloud desktops) – work anytime, anywhere, with any device!

By offering your staff the ability to work from home (or anywhere with an internet connection in fact), they can manage the work/life balance if the right technology is in place to monitor, control the data and ensure correct security is maintained. With the right upload speeds, secure platforms and software (all achieved quite easily and quickly through a genuine cloud service provider), you too can offer the ability for your staff to work anytime, anywhere and not be restricted by sick family members, etc, taking time away from your people having to be in the office to remain productive.