Technology has become essential for business success in today’s mobile-driven economy. Small businesses with advanced technology adoption enjoy significant advantages over their competition, earning two times more per employee and experiencing four time more year-over-year revenue growth, a Deloitte survey found. Given this, it’s not surprising that small businesses are spending 18 percent more on technology than they were in 2010, according to Brother International Corporation research.
It also helps explain why small business owners find keeping up with the latest tech trends challenging, with nearly half citing this as their top business challenge in a Microsoft Store survey. Technology can be a particular challenge for the growing number of small business owners who work offsite or use remote labor. Here are four cutting-edge technology innovations your company needs to stay competitive.
Always Connected PCs
With two-thirds of startups and half of all small businesses run from home, and eight in ten business owners using their mobile device for work at least once a day, having a reliable online connection is crucial for running a successful business. This is true both for business owners who run their business online as well as for remote workers employed by online businesses. But staying connected all the time can be a big drain on your battery, requiring you to stay tethered to a power outlet and limiting the flexibility of where you’re able to work. An innovative solution to this issue is Always Connected PCs. Powered by Snapdragon’s latest generation of mobile processors, an Always Connected PC 4G LTE laptop uses smart battery management to deliver twice the battery life of non-mobile PCs when in active use and four to five times the battery life when in standby mode. This is combined with 4G LTE speed to ensure a fast download connection, and select products have built-in Gigabit LTE for speeds three to seven times faster than broadband.
On-device Artificial Intelligence
While having a fast connection is a must, some of today’s most powerful artificial intelligence applications are more practical to run on your device without having to wait for a cloud connection. Cutting-edge AI applications such as voice-powered personal assistants, facial recognition, smart battery conservation and smart photo focusing run most efficiently when they’re run directly on your device instead of processed through a remote server. These types of on-device AI applications depend on having a mobile device with a processor powerful enough to handle the large amount of data required. Getting a mobile device with a processor that supports on-device AI can position you to take advantage of a wide array of innovative applications.
User-friendly Business Analytics Tools
One powerful business application of AI that can be done on-device or in the cloud is business analytics. Business analytics tools can help you spot trends in your data and make predictions in order to improve your performance in areas such as marketing, sales, customer service and operational efficiency. Companies that use business analytics effectively enjoy a return on investment of as much as $13.01 for every dollar spent, Nucleus Research has found. At one time, business intelligence tools required advanced knowledge of statistics, but today’s platforms are designed to have user-friendly interfaces so that anyone in your company can see key data displayed visually. Today’s leading self-service business intelligence tools include Microsoft Power BI, IBM Watson Analytics and Zoho Reports.
Marketing Automation Technology
Another innovation that can boost your business is marketing automation technology. Marketing is a vital business task for generating revenue, but it can be extremely time-consuming due to the amount of time it takes creating and curating content, publishing it and distributing it through various online channels. The average small business owner may spend 20 hours a week on marketing, a Constant Contact survey found. Marketing automation software helps save you time by providing a central interface to automate repetitive tasks such as logging into social media profiles, publishing content and tracking campaign performance. Today’s best marketing automation platforms include HubSpot, Marketo and SharpSpring.
Cutting-edge hardware such as always connected PCs and on-device AI puts you in a position to take advantage of software innovations such as business analytics tools and marketing automation platforms. Leveraging these technologies can help you improve your efficiency, generate more sales and accelerate your business growth, giving you an edge on the competition.