Since the start of the digital age, we've seen the many opportunities digitalization has created for businesses. New technology has helped companies grow exponentially through streamlined processes, drastically cutting costs and time. Technology comes with pros and cons, but one thing is for certain - it gives businesses the advantage of offering clients and staff faster and more convenient solutions. It keeps them moving forward in this fast-paced world.
Whether your business is an early adapter of new technology or one that prefers to let others vet it first, an understanding of what's new and now will help to give you a leg up over your competition.
Read on to learn how to thrive in a digital age while still staying cyber secure.
Big Picture View: The Era of Smart Technology is Upon Us
Let's start with a big picture view – to help put things into perspective.
The term "smart technology" refers to the acronym SMART, or "Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology." There are three main types of smart technologies to be aware of:
- Those devices that use automation and can be programmed by the user.
- Those connected devices that are controlled remotely and are monitored using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, or cellular connectivity.
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are a combination of a hardware product, an application, analytics, and some type of Internet or network connection.
How Businesses Use Smart Technology
Every day, businesses are leveraging smart technology and the Internet of Things to connect and streamline their processes, keep their mission-critical data safe, communicate and share data among both employees and clients, and more. This technology is also invaluable in terms of improving customer service across the board, as it makes it far easier than ever to understand and cater to specific consumer behaviors.
With smart technology, for example, businesses can connect and streamline their processes with machines that cut their operational costs. This can lead to higher quality work output – and higher profits as well.
Organizations can also keep their data safe using smart cybersecurity systems. These are tools that help businesses safely house data and securely dispose of it when it is no longer valuable. These tools help protect against hackers and others with malicious intentions.
Thanks to smart technologies, organizations can also allow employees to communicate and share information with one another through an intranet that has been fully customized for use by the business. Intranets, coupled with some video conferencing tools that became popular during the pandemic like ZOOM and Microsoft Teams, make it possible for employees to communicate at their convenience. In most cases, they can be just as productive out of the office as they can inside it – something that has become very valuable over the last few years.
From a Smaller Lens: What Does All of This Mean for Your Business?
When it comes to utilizing smart technology to help your business grow, it’s not a “one size fits all” approach. In fact, small businesses tend to be more resistant to adopting smart technology and embracing the digital age. According to Digital, 46% of small businesses do not have a website and 35% feel that their business is simply too small to have a website.
Start small and stay within your comfort zone. If you’re ready to test the waters, consider starting with hyper-personalization.
The Era of AI/Hyper-Personalization Has Arrived
At its core, hyper-personalization involves the use of existing customer data to create and present customized experiences to as many of your users as possible. This experience can take many shapes, including, but not limited to things like customized contacts, personalized recommendations to customers, customized information, and more. Even something as simple as a personalized birthday card will go a long way growing customer loyalty.
Your customers want to be treated as individuals. The closer you can get to that goal, the more likely you are to take a one-time customer and turn them into a loyal brand advocate.
In the End
Adopting new smart technologies, whether in baby steps or leaps and bounds, will help your business to move forward and thrive in a digital age. Look for opportunities to use technology to your business's advantage. It can help your business save money by streamlining processes and communication. However, it's important to remember to always prioritize cybersecurity.