As 2019 draws to an end, organizations are looking ahead to the new year. How will advancements in technology affect your small business in 2020? From building trust to enhancing customer experience, how will tech tools enable your organization to stay productive and competitive?
Roughly 88% of businesses expect IT budgets to grow or remain steady over the next year. Companies with less than 100 employees will allocate the following:
- 35% to hardware
- 31% to software
- 22% to hosted and cloud-based services
- 11% to managed services
How about when it comes to new or emerging technologies? What should your IT team consider?
More small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will invest in AIaaS in 2020. The combination of the SaaS business model with AI services could help bring AI to the market without a hefty price tag. While there are still some areas where AI is lagging (i.e., speech recognition), there are some AI provider platforms offering services such as processes-intensive GPU (graphics processing unit) workloads.
Google, Microsoft, and other companies already offer machine learning solutions and training materials. The proliferation of AI tasks being offered on a subscription basis is a likely development in 2020.
More automation investments without added IT staff
SMBs are being pushed to consider ways that automation can help their bottom line. However, many organizations are struggling to implement solutions without an IT team. In 2020, modern tools will provide more seamless integrations with existing software so that companies that don't have tech-savvy staff/IT specialists can adopt automation. More SMBs will seek solutions for processes like accounting, data management, email marketing, and customer service.
Access to data is critical for business growth. But the sheer increasing amount of information is making it more challenging for businesses to sift and analyze. Fortunately, cloud-based cognitive services are enabling information processing by reducing the investment and expertise required to get started. Data analytics will help with both big-picture decisions and granular ones as well.
A big part of meaningful and valuable experiences on social media is the way that businesses engage with their audience, share customer interactions, leverage employee advocacies, and build online communities. SMBs that support clients across social channels develop trust while enhancing brand visibility.
But social media management is difficult and consumes business owners' time and marketing budget. To balance the needs of customers without massively increasing costs, businesses need to base their social media management decisions on data.
The tech-savvy generation and the tight labor market lead more employers to create better HR-related experiences for their staff by investing in technologies that enhance recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, training, etc. For example, cloud-based HR tools provide real-time data for decision-making, while employee self-service apps give staff members a sense of control over their data.
Voice and chatbot enhancements for SMB websites
When it comes to search engines, more businesses are favoring a customer-centric approach over a keyword-centric one. This is because content with a conversational tone and have keywords naturally woven into them beats fluffy keyword-stuffed content. In addition to using user-friendly content, SMB owners will pivot to technologies that gear their website to users’ specific needs, such as AI chatbots to help solve everyday problems.
Managed IT services have a lot to offer — 24/7 monitoring, enhanced data security and resilience, and the scalability to keep up with growth. With cyberthreats at an all-time high and hackers increasingly going after SMBs, business owners are turning to managed services providers (MSPs) to help them safeguard and protect their business.
Investing in top technologies is a good first move to start the year, and those who develop technology-driven strategies will differentiate their organization from competitors and increase revenue. If you want to propel your business for years to come, it’s wise to work with what suits your needs best. Don’t know what the right technology for you is? We’ll help you out. Call us today for an assessment.