Whatever your small or midsized business (SMB), chances are you depend on increasingly advanced technology — or wish to use more sophisticated technology.
Recent advances have been numerous and head-spinning, sometimes making it hard to keep up. The truth is, harnessing emerging technologies effectively may be exactly what takes your business to the next level, ensuring success in today’s rapidly evolving, competitive business landscape.
If you aren't using one of these emerging technologies in your business yet, it's likely that your business would benefit from doing so in the near future.
How can you leverage technological advances to help your SMB be more innovative and competitive? Here are trends affecting small businesses to watch when evaluating what technologies to adopt.
With cloud computing, small-business owners can implement sophisticated software using software as a service (SaaS) or desktop as a service (DaaS) models. The advantage of these models is that they update and maintain applications, eliminating the need for onsite servers or purchasing multiple copies of software. This can help reduce costs and increase efficiency.
The DaaS model also stores, helps secure and backs up user data. Additionally, cloud computing means never having to worry about software updates.
According to a survey by Gartner, 63% of SMBs already use cloud computing. To maximize the benefits of cloud computing, you’ll want to have up-to-date PCs and computing devices.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Software that uses AI — or more specifically, machine learning — collects data from tasks, eventually “learning” how to do those tasks more quickly and accurately. AI can thus help your business save time and money by automating certain repetitive, manual tasks that take up too much of your employees’ time. According to a Harris Poll survey conducted for Salesforce, an average of 23% of an SMB team’s day is spent manually inputting data.
Just how popular is AI becoming? More than 60% of SMBs already use the technology to automate some processes, according to the Salesforce survey. What kinds of AI are they using? Many use tools like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa for scheduling and planning, chatbot to analyze customer questions, RPA Express to automate data entry or Salesforce Einstein to analyze data or identify leads — to name just a few.
For SMBs wanting to benefit from these technologies, running them on PCs equipped with powerful processors and memory helps ensure they can handle the increased demands on their computing power, such as modern PCs and computing devices powered by the latest Intel Core processors.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Devices and objects are increasingly interconnected: phones, HVAC systems, security systems, cars and more. To use multiple apps making all those connections, plus tracking products through the supply chain, you may need to upgrade to computers with more powerful processors or more memory (RAM) to help your company use its software more effectively.
Perhaps not surprisingly, 78% of growing small businesses already report using more than one business application. And 30% use more than five, according to the Salesforce survey.
The ability of employees to work remotely has become essential, not just for employee well-being and productivity, but also for connecting at client offices, satellite venues or while traveling. The effective processing power, speed and longer battery life of modern laptops provide employees with flexibility that helps them — and your business — thrive.
Today’s notebooks, thin-and-lights and 2-in-1s are available with more powerful processors, more RAM and more solid-state storage than previous generations. And today’s portable technology can handle cloud-based apps, making them more flexible than ever.
Because SMBs don’t have the large IT staff and security budgets of bigger companies, they can be tempting targets for cybercriminals. In a 2018 cyber-risk report by Hiscox, 44% of SMBs reported suffering a cyberattack in the previous year, and 52% of those businesses had been attacked more than once.
In addition, many SMBs still use Windows 7, and they may be at risk. Microsoft stopped providing updates and support for this PC operating system as of Jan. 14.
Here are some ways you can help improve the cybersecurity of your business:
> Upgrade to Windows 10
> Educate employees about cyberthreats, with tips to avoid them
> Enforce the use of passwords on all business PCs and devices
> Implement multifactor or biometric authentication
> Set up automatic software updates
Be ready for the future
Whatever your goals for 2020, it’s a good idea to think strategically about technology that could take your business to the next level. Outdated hardware can hurt your SMB’s bottom line. So make updating your PCs part of your technology plan this year.
To learn more about options for updating your technology, visit Intel.com/smallbusiness.