As time goes on, powerful business technology is becoming more affordable. Gone are the days when only resource-rich, multinational enterprises could afford to invest in cloud computing and automation. In many cases, the superior agility of smaller businesses combined with increasing access to technology provides them with an advantage over larger competitors.
Here are three types of technology for small businesses to consider investing in:
1. The Cloud
Some small businesses are required to store a large quantity of data due to government regulations or specific information needs. As a result, according to Market Realist, more companies are choosing to store some of their data on the cloud. This infrastructure provides users with secure access to network data from anywhere, on any device.
Fortunately for small business owners, the cost of digital storage has been decreasing for years, and is set to continue to do so. According to Statistic Brain, it cost about $437,500 to store one gigabyte in 1980, while the average price for this amount of storage was just three cents in 2014.
By putting a cloud infrastructure into place, small businesses can move away from expensive, on-premises hardware. Because the billing structure for cloud platforms is based on a monthly subscription model, you can simply pay for the on-demand IT capacity that you actually use. If, for example, you're in your busy season, you can scale up your usage as necessary. When your business activity returns to normal, you can scale down your processing, allowing you to lower your monthly cost.
2. Mobile Apps
As the world continues to become increasingly mobile, many small businesses are creating apps to serve their employee and customer needs. For example, you can invest in an app that allow customers to shop for your products and services remotely. In addition, your employees can use a timekeeping app to punch in or schedule their vacation time, or a mobile payment app to receive their salaries. As SMB Group Analyst Linda McCabe told Small Business Computing.com, "a growing majority of SMBs regard mobile solutions as essential business enablers."
3. Business Automation
In the current business landscape, automation is no longer just about using robots for production. Now, small businesses can use marketing automation to conduct campaigns with data-driven messages, allowing them to find more customers. Many small businesses are also adopting sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which allow them to aggregate all of their relevant customer data in one place.
By investing in the above technology for small businesses, you can streamline your day-to-day operations, allowing you to save time and help increase your bottom line.
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