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Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Role of Technology in Business Growth

It doesn’t matter what sector of the economy you work in – in order for your business to grow and thrive in the 21st century, you will have to take account of technology.

Tech and the challenges and opportunities it presents cannot be ignored. It is not just a part of everyday life for all of us – it has become vital to the successful running of any business. The best business leaders, from Bill Gates to Keith Krach, understand that change is inevitable and that you have to adapt to and harness innovation when it appears, and that is the task that many business people face in 2018.

Some of the changes produced by technology are physical. As mobile connectivity becomes more powerful and businesses increasingly move their data to the cloud, the need to have everyone in one building has become less central to business. Our office spaces are becoming more virtual, and more of us are working from home, which significantly cuts running costs but can lead to challenges regarding personnel management.

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has gradually evolved from a science fiction concept to a part of our everyday lives. It is already driving many of the businesses around us, from Amazon to Google, and as the AI revolution spreads throughout many different industries, it has the potential to transform our economy and even the way we think about work.

The disruptive potential of AI is definite, and businesses that want to grow must not only come up with ways to cope with an AI-rich economic environment but also find ways to incorporate AI into what they do. From automated deliveries to improved sales through so-called 'warm calling,' businesses are already finding ways to make AI work for them. And central to that process will be finding ways to maximize human resources. With many current roles likely to be vulnerable to AI, businesses need to grasp the opportunity to develop their employees and tap into their creative and imaginative potential if they are to thrive.

Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) simply means the connection of all the common artifacts of daily life to the internet, which can range from cars to kitchen appliances. Many businesses are already investigating ways to use the IoT to their advantage, from smart shipping trackers to mobile credit card readers. The IoT offers the potential to add huge savings in terms of productivity and costs for those businesses prepared to work with this new technology.

Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) devices are becoming more widely used and, more significantly, are coming within the financial reach of ordinary consumers, giving businesses new ways of speaking to potential customers. Through AR, viral marketing will increasingly take place directly, and it won’t be long before companies are able to produce interactive holographic displays to advertise their products, offering enormous potential for marketing.

As a society, we are already embracing this technology. In the next year or so, sports fans will be able to enjoy their favorite game using hybrid AR devices, which will enable interaction between spectators, players, and sponsors. Any business hoping to expand their platform over the next few years has to take account of the potential of AR.

Cyber Threat
As they embrace the opportunities of AR and other technology, businesses that want to continue to grow will also have to take account of the increasing risk of cyber attacks. Hackers are becoming ever more sophisticated, and as technology continues to evolve, so do the risks. Remaining safe from cyber attack will be as important an element in future growth as the embrace of technology as the century draws on.

Culture
As the technology-savvy millennial generation enters leadership roles in business, they are also driving change in management culture. For the new breed of leader, collaboration with other organizations for mutual benefit simply makes sense. They are also exploring interesting and innovative new ways of generating capital such as crowd-funding and are likely to run working environments that are flexible and encourage employees to be creative and dynamic. Businesses that remain wedded to old-fashioned models and attitudes are likely to find that these startups and innovative entrepreneurs overtake them.

All businesses have to adapt continually if they are to thrive and grow. By embracing technology and working out how each new development can help your brand, you will be putting your business in the best possible position to expand throughout 2018 and beyond.

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