January 5th, 2018

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When it comes to technology, small businesses often lag behind the curve. Forty-five percent of small businesses didn’t have a website in 2017, a CNBC survey says. Only 36 percent use a website to communicate news to prospects and customers. Nearly one out of five businesses are still doing their bookkeeping manually, according to Viewpost research. Half of business owners say their top tech challenge is staying ahead of technology trends, a Microsoft study reveals.

But even if your company isn’t keeping up with technology, your competitors are, which puts you at a disadvantage. It’s in your best interest to keep up with technology trends that can help you gain a competitive advantage. Here are three top technology trends that can empower your business you should consider embracing.

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Business Intelligence Analytics

Business intelligence (BI) analytics is a key technology for competing in today’s market. BI analytics tools allow you to make data-based, objective decisions instead of relying on intuition and guesswork. You can use BI analytics to gather vital information about marketing and sales trends, identifying what products and services your customers prefer, who your hottest customers are, and what their buying habits are. You can also use BI to study your internal business operations so you can improve your efficiency. If you have a physical location, you can use analytics to study data collected from security cameras in your store so you can see which aisles get the most foot traffic, which products are most popular and where you should place items to get more attention.

Strategic deployment of business intelligence tools can yield a return on investment as high as 1,300 percent, a Nucleus Research study says.

Cloud-Based Accounting Apps

Cloud-based accounting software is another important technology tool that can give your company a competitive edge. Using a cloud-based accounting app enables you to reduce your bookkeeping load by automating the flow of data between your sales transactions, invoicing, expense reporting, payroll, inventory, accounting books, and tax forms. Cloud-based accounting tools also enable you to reduce the amount you spend on bookkeeping services. They can further provide you with real-time business intelligence insights into your financial data. For instance, if your revenue projections are falling short this month or your expenses are running ahead of your estimates, you’ll know sooner so you don’t run into a surprise cash-flow problem suddenly at the end of the month.

Cloud-based accounting apps deliver over twice the ROI of their on-premise counterparts, Nucleus Research shows.

CRM Apps

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is another technology tool you should have in your arsenal. CRM apps make it easy for you to digitally store information about your prospects and customers. They also enable you to analyze your customer data so that you can identify which prospects are most ready to buy, analyze individual buying habits, and determine which products and services will most appeal to individual customers. If you have a sales force, CRM apps also help you deploy your force more efficiently, identifying your best sales reps and helping you pair up your available reps with your hottest prospects.

Strategically implementing CRM can boost your revenue by an average of 37 percent, according to leading CRM provider Salesforce.

Business intelligence analytics, cloud-based accounting solutions and CRM apps are three technology tools that can increase the efficiency of your operations and boost your profit margins. Deploying these tools can help you gain an edge on your competition, cut your costs, increase your revenue, and grow your business.

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