No one can deny the value of technology in business. Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this value was especially clear, providing means for business survival even as lockdowns prevented normal operations. As tech helped middle-market businesses keep their doors open, more executives came to recognize the value of continuous technological investments.
But even if you’re aware of the need to keep up-to-date with technology, realizing that practice can be difficult. What platforms need an upgrade? How do you manage costs? Answering these questions might be enough for you to put off an upgrade for years at a time — after all, why fix what isn’t broken?
With tech, however, outdated can mean broken. Understand why, and then implement these strategies for keeping your business caught up with technological advancements.
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The importance of keeping up with technology can be explained in simple terms as someone asking to borrow a phone charger. No matter which side of that request you’ve been on, a series of questions no doubt followed, questions regarding what kind of phone it was and what type of charger was compatible. Smartphones change fast, and so does business technology. Without the right modern tools, you will find yourself ill-prepared to meet the needs of your customers, suppliers, and colleagues.
With so much innovation happening all the time in the tech world, your business needs to keep up if you hope to maintain a competitive edge. Software and devices are assuming new functions, allowing for more efficient practices and cost-saving opportunities. Meanwhile, your network has to remain secure against the evolving world of cybersecurity threats.
Keeping business and customer data safe in an international data market necessities modern technology. With the right cybersecurity tools, you can protect your systems against the bombardment of threats facing all connected devices. Whether you enlist the help of an artificial intelligence platform that models and prevents cyber threats at the source or you teach employees to keep all software updated to best prevent a breach, updated tech is safer.
Because of these innovative security benefits, the momentum of all industries is towards a data-driven future, powered by AI and digital devices. These trends are shaping the future of supply chains and management, which are the backbone of a goods-based economy. New tech can allow businesses to scale as these vital industries adapt around them.
So no matter your business model, keeping caught up with advancements in tech can be beneficial to you. Implement effective strategies from the beginning with a thorough plan.
Catching up with the common tools and tech of the time does not have to be as difficult or expensive as it may sound. In fact, by adapting your business plan to prioritize tech investment, you can use tech to recoup a lot of your expenses. Tech can offer great returns on investment (ROI), which can be calculated as your net gains over costs.
But finding the right modern tech for your business can get a little more complicated than evaluating ROI alone. After all, you will need to consider how your business will respond to market pressures and the demands of the global economy.
The following strategies can help you keep up with tech advancements while adapting to the economy around you. By applying them, you can experience greater returns and an increased ability to innovate.
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2020 proved that sometimes businesses have to quickly pivot their practices if they hope to guarantee revenues through anything the economy might throw at them. For example, the widespread shift to remote work left many businesses struggling to adapt virtual work systems and policies in time. However, tech-focused companies were able to quickly make use of the many high-grade apps for virtual communication out there on the market to best ensure their success.
Being able to adjust to changing needs like this requires taking inventory of your goals as well as employee accommodations. Assess where and when your workers need to communicate, how you will scale to meet consumer demand, and which software platforms and devices you can use to streamline both. By simply writing out a list of your business functions, you will be better prepared to explore tech solutions.
But the solutions you need now aren’t always the solutions you’ll need later. That’s where it helps to create a business model canvas. This is a map of your business and how it reacts to and relies on different sectors of the economy. By mapping out a thorough and accurate plan, you can better recognize patterns and plan for uncertainties.
Starting at the center of your canvas, you’ll answer your value proposition: what do customers get from your product? From there, you can begin to plot how you can use tech to scale your business into new areas. Whether that means an increased online presence or new physical markets, you’ll need tech and software to help you grow. Create an accurate business map and plot growth points where tech innovation will be an essential investment.
Next, plan now for ways you can simplify and consolidate your systems, servers, and equipment. The more complex your set-up, the more you’ll spend on overhead operational costs. Fortunately, tech advancements make it easy to operate simply and safely. With cloud data services, you can host and secure all your vital company data, even to employees working remotely. This is why modern businesses are increasingly digitizing their practices.
Not only does digitization offer opportunities for remote work, but it also allows you to seamlessly cut down on paper storage and waste. At the same time, your network will constantly be supported by IT experts and the latest in cybersecurity protections. Cloud data services often mean you won’t have to worry about keeping up with tech advancements on the data communication front because your cloud provider will do that for you.
Another great way to ensure you remain caught up on the latest tech is to lease your equipment. From copiers to servers, you can enter a lease agreement for all your big-ticket items. This keeps overhead costs down while giving you the option to upgrade every few years or so.
Consider flexible leases that allow you to trade out for newer and better tech as equipment advances. Then, you’ll support a continually upgrading business model that can take advantage of the new features tech provides, all without having to reexamine your budget.
You should never plot out a budget for the year or even the fiscal quarter without considering tech investments. With the potential for cost savings and productivity boosts through automating processes or improving workflow, your business will be best served by making use of modern technology. By reserving a portion of your budget for tech advancement, you ensure that your business takes time to explore new developments and avenues for lucrative investments.
Whether you use your tech budget to go digital with a cloud service or you build an augmented reality (AR) experience for your prospective buyers, technology can add value to your venture that far outweighs the costs. Explore your potential with a forward-thinking budget.
By following these strategies you can ensure a business model that advances with technology, bringing you all the corresponding benefits. From sustainable, paperless business practices to immersive customer experiences, tech allows you to innovate. Build a better business by keeping up with new trends in technology, starting with a thorough inventory.