Advances in technology have made it easier for even the smallest boutique businesses to compete with the major players by making use of automation for everything from help desk support to inventory management. However, market saturation and lowered costs can also mean an overwhelming abundance of choices. There are thousands of telecommunications companies, web development companies and other services and service providers available at the click of a mouse. How do you know which tech advancements are necessary, or which providers offer the best service and Return On Investment (ROI)?
The good news for businesses is that IT development has progressed to the point where technologies that were once expensive wish-list items for 'someday' are now widely available at relatively low cost for any company that doesn't want to be left behind. Locating reputable products and service providers will take a little investigative effort on your part, but you can sort through tech options right now. Here are the top five technologies that are essential to running today's companies, regardless of size or industry.
Intuitive Web Design
Intuitive web design, also known as responsive web design, is what mobility has been waiting for. Companies and web designers once had to wonder when, if and how to develop for mobile platforms, now they're concerned with creating apps and designing websites that automatically scales to the device and provide a better user experience across all platforms, rendering static design a thing of the past.
Predictive Analysis Software
Data collection and analysis have been around since the advent of business itself, but the development of predictive analysis software takes a lot of the guesswork out of divining business trends by performing quantitative analysis for you, and it's faster and much more reliable than the traditional methods. Imagine the power of having instantaneous in-depth data analysis that can accurately predict outcomes and spot trends for any facet of your business, to and from any point in time.
Originally touted as an effective secured off-site data storage solution, cloud computing has evolved to become the ultimate on-demand service that offers many other benefits besides anytime accessibility. This technology has becomes such an ingrained part of the way we do business, it's predicted the 95% of all companies will be using some form of cloud-based system within the next year. Some of the advantages to working on a cloud are:
- Savings, by limiting the amount of hardware you purchase and maintain, as well as getting automated software updates as part of the service.
- Resource conservation, since you only use energy and server power as you go, and it's scalable to usage.
- Mobility, because working in a virtual environment allows communications and collaboration from any platform, anywhere on the planet, in real time.
- Security, due to automatic backups; it also means less data loss and security concerns if your device is stolen, because all of your information is on a cloud instead of on your laptop.
Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems (CMS) have taken the cost and hassle out of website design and placed the website owner in the driver's seat. Content Management Systems like Wordpress have in many ways democratized the creation of websites and make it easier then ever for users to create their own site at either low end simple blogs or high powered user sites. Other, more specialized ones like Square Space have also arisen to fill niches and allow users to minimize the amount of technical know how it takes in house and cost to run a site. It's no longer necessary to hire an outside firm to build your company's website or to have a dedicated in-house IT team to manage it.
Voice-over Internet Protocol
Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the new standard for seamless inter-office and outside communications. This technology allows companies to use a single delivery system to manage all of their data, video and voice communications, and it offers many time and money-saving benefits, not the least of which is eliminating the necessity for separate phone and Internet connections. VoIP hardware allows you and your employees to stay connected from anywhere, and it better enables secured access control at every level.
The full suite of available services is included under the term IP telephony, which encompasses three main components into one easy-to-manage plan. Knowing more about each facet will demonstrate the usefulness of this technology overall.
- VoIP, which allows you to use your IP data network to place calls to anywhere without incurring charges, and all of the typical functions of a traditional phone system are built in, including call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding.
- IP Communications, which provides communications enhancements like multi-media conferencing to enable media-rich data, voice and video calling capabilities as well as integrated contact centers and unified messaging systems.
- Unified communications, which will allow you to step-up communications through technologies like Session Initiation Protocols (SIP) and cross-platform integration to allow access from any device, regardless of where the user is physically located.
Industrial innovations have always been at the forefront of making businesses more efficient and enabling companies to get their product to market faster. An explosion in the service sector has spurred professionals like Don Burns and others in the tech, web development and telecommunications industries to develop new ways to keep companies connected. Using better technology will provide you with the time you need to focus on building a better product or streamlining your service delivery and growing your business, and that's a win-win for you and your customers.