2020 saw the integration of technology into the workplace like never before. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw more remote working and increased the need for technological innovation. Small businesses always need to be on the lookout for ways to improve their company. One of the best ways to do this is to be at the forefront of new technologies being created. This article explores some technological trends that may help you keep your business up to date with workplace advancements in 2021.
1. Cloud Native Technology
Small businesses were amongst the most impacted by transitions towards remote work. One of the lessons to take away from 2020 is that businesses who had cloud native technologies established had an advantage over those who did not. Cloud native technologies enable access to applications, data and sensitive information from anywhere. This is critical to a smooth transition to remote working environments.
Each workplace in 2021 should accelerate their digital transformation and shift towards cloud technologies. They can improve your communication, logistics and ultimately your overall productivity. Workforces may continue to remain dispersed for the foreseeable future, even for small businesses. Therefore, cloud technology will play a vital role in preserving continuity and efficiency.
2. Remote onboarding
Part and parcel of running an efficient workplace in 2021 is ensuring a smooth onboarding process for new employees. However, as more and more businesses are hiring workers for remote work this process becomes more difficult. Onboarding is a critical aspect of your workplace as it will often be the most decisive factor in how employees view your business. Without the ability to onboard and connect in person due to the effects of the pandemic or geography, technological solutions must be found.
A professionally orchestrated and planned onboarding experience ensures that new employees hit the ground running and feel welcome in your business. This is great for workplace culture and productivity. Small businesses should invest in technology that helps employees understand your business, to make connections with your other employees and feel a part of the team. This will help any business making new hires put themselves in a position to succeed.
3. Data Mining and Analysis
The mining and analysis of data has generally been associated with big businesses. However, as data technology continues to become cheaper and ubiquitous smaller businesses have an opportunity to utilise it for their own benefit. Simple to use analytics applications and software are on the rise. This makes data mining, analysis and contextualisation a reality for many small businesses. A sophisticated data strategy can help a business develop a competitive advantage in its field. Small businesses can gain an understanding of target markets, the efficacy of advertising and what type of investment is most productive.
For a small business, ‘big data’ is a term which encompasses many things. It is information that is collected from any action on the Internet. Online shopping, credit card transactions, emails, Facebook posts, online reviews or even sending a tweet can be considered useful information. All of these actions create a digital footprint which can be stored and then analysed. Leveraging this information can be incredibly useful across numerous facets for small businesses. However, it is important to note that when you are implementing a data collection and analysis strategy of the laws and regulations which surround data collection.
4. Digital Automation
Automation represents another technological innovation which was previously thought to only apply to big businesses. However, small businesses are adopting and utilising automation software more and more. By implementing automation software, small businesses can mimic what larger companies do by replicating the strength of a large workforce through a highly automated process. Roles such as compliance, auditing, bookkeeping, data entry, accounting, email marketing or customer service can all be automated. This is because there is a highly competitive market of software available to small business owners. Investment in technology and software such as this could be considered risky for small businesses. However, it may prove to be the difference between thriving or surviving.
Increased automation may also prevent your employees from being saddled with too heavy a workload. In small businesses, employees can often be required to perform a wide variety of roles. These roles are usually not in their job description. This can often increase stress, lower productivity and damage your workplace culture. Ensuring employees satisfaction is incredibly important for all small businesses, and digital automation may play a role in alleviating unnecessary burdens from your employees.
5. Voice Recognition Technology
Audio-centric technology such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have started to become a large part of people’s lives and how they browse the web. Moving forward into 2021, voice activated searches will comprise more and more of all searches. This represents an opportunity for small businesses to capitalise on a shift in customer interaction with businesses. Being found on the internet is increasingly the most common way of engaging customers for small businesses. By adapting your search engine optimisation strategies to target more conversational and longer queries (which generally form the basis of voice searches) – you can bring your small business to more potential customers than ever before. The nascent nature of this technology means that there is a potential for your business to gain a first mover advantage over competitors by tailoring your strategies for the increased usage of voice searches.
Small businesses face a number of technological challenges on a daily basis. However, this article highlights how each workplace in 2021 can use technology to their advantage. As the marketplace and environment for small businesses continues to evolve, your business must keep up. Staying on top of the newest technological trends will ensure your business remains competitive.