Top business technology trends, 2013
It is becoming more important for business to monitor new trends in technology. Without insight and understanding of the latest business technologies, companies risk being left behind.
The day is fast approaching when corporations will no longer be able to maintain legacy IT systems that are good enough. Technology, and its applications for business, are now evolving so quickly that to turn a blind eye to new advances could spell disaster.
The reason businesses simply can't ignore new technology trends? Because technology is lowering costs, connecting with customers, and increasing productivity on an unprecedented scale. All of which are vital for maintaining a competitive advantage in a difficult economic climate.
This article will highlight some of the most promising new business technology trends that have gained traction in 2012, and promise to quickly become the norm in 2013. Take a close look at what's on offer - your competitors certainly will.
Business technology trends in 2013
The way in which business utilizes software and hardware is undergoing a radical transformation. Hardware is going mobile and software is moving to the cloud (in the form of services).
Cross overs and mashups between the Cloud, mobile apps, traditional business technologies and processes are on the rise. Let's take a look...
1. Responsive Web design
The Internet is become a mobile technology. Your clients and customers are rapidly adopting tablets and smartphones. Following them onto these devices is crucial.
Read 3 ways to upgrade to a mobile website with responsive Web design to see how your business website can be upgraded quickly and cheaply to a responsive Web design that seamlessly supports mobile devices.
2. Mobile payments
Not only are customers browsing the Internet from mobile devices, but businesses are now able to transact via mobile devices - reducing costs and increasing efficiency in one go.
Companies are rolling our products, like Intuit's Gopayment, which allow businesses to accept credit cards payments from a mobile device.
Accepting payments on a mobile device also means they can automatically be integrated with other online apps and services.
3. Cloud based SaaS (Software as a Service)
The days of purchasing a CD and installing a licenced copy of a piece of software on your own hardware are numbered. The cloud brings with it a far more streamlined way of delivering software technology securely and cheaply.
Cloud based software as a service is already offered by a wide range of leading software companies, like Quickbooks Online, which provides payroll, accounting and other business administration facilities.
4. Virtual replaces physical
Many important business technology requirements that required expensive installation, hardware, expertise and other equipment are being replaced by inexpensive, lightweight virtual solutions.
For example, businesses no longer need to maintain their own PBX system. Virtual PBX systems like RingCentral have rendered these redundant overnight.
Not only that, but virtual systems can be upgraded and downgraded depending on the unique demands of your business with only a few clicks. Unlike a few years ago, when a sound financial commitment had to be made to purchase expensive, less flexible hardware.
5. Distributed work environments
The advent of the cloud and mobile together are leading to viable virtual workplaces. "Work anywhere, anytime" is becoming the mantra of startups and entrepreneurs.
Companies looking to attract the top talent can now reasonably expect to hire the right person regardless of where they reside, without having to relocate them.
Companies like GoToMeeting enable online meetings and conferences that make distributed, collaborative workplaces possible.
6. Distributed data
Another area the cloud is impacting is data. Why hold data locally, when it can be stored reliably and securely in the cloud and made available globally from any device at any time?
Services like Livedrive offer unlimited online storage for your data with one click.
This data can then be synced, distributed, and shared from anyone, anywhere - ideal for businesses in the global marketplace.
7. Convergence & integration
The smarter business technology gets, the easier it is to integrate with other technologies.
I predict that we are approaching a time when entire businesses can be setup and maintained by creating a single account online.
This trend is noticeable in the newest productivity tools that are designed to help business owners integrate and manage otherwise distinct technologies, platforms, and business processes.
A good example is HootSuite's social media management for businesses, which allows companies to manage their social media activities across multiple platforms.
In the same way that HootSuite ties the various social networks together into one manageable bundle, so the next generation of services will tie in other aspects of business into manageable bundles, and this process will continue until everything from Web design to tax returns can be done from a single service.
So those are my top technology trends for business in 2013. What do you see as emerging and important business technologies? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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