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Small business operators naturally focus on solving dilemmas at hand, spending a great deal of time managing day-to-day concerns. Logistics, marketing, staffing, capital acquisition, and other affairs dominate the conversation, because they are the grease lubricating the moving parts of your venture. It’s important to remember, as you devote resources on short-term responsibilities, technology marches on, changing the playing field for small businesses.

If your business plan doesn’t account for technological advances, you’ll have a hard time keeping up with forward-looking competitors. Each niche is unique, so staying on the cutting-edge may not be required for your businesses to be effective. But understanding the possibilities enables you to make informed decisions about technology.

Should you invest in a new phone system? Does your e-commerce platform need updating? Can chatbots help your business thrive? Answering these and other important questions relies on your understanding of tech trends and the way they shape business outcomes. Emerging technology may affect your business in 2019, including these tech-driven trends, shaking-up the way progressive businesses operate in the new year, and beyond.

AI Business Analytics

Sprout Funding logoArtificial intelligence continues gaining ground, adding benefits to various business processes. Among them, analytics is making giant leaps, with the help of AI. In particular, predictive analytics turns data analysis from a hindsight tool to a forward-looking forecast, able to “see” into the future of your business venture.

A recent DZone article traces the path of data analysis, marking several significant milestones in the technology’s development. In the 1990’s, for example, data analysts were primarily concerned with answering “Why did this happen?” As the technology advanced, analysts spent the 2000s focused on “What is happening now?” The advent of predictive analysis propels the technology into the future, asking “What will happen?”

Advanced analytics relies on a complicated blend of data and methodologies, contributing to conclusions business operators can use to guide commercial decision-making. The process looks at subtle patterns and correlations, identifying actionable opportunities to improve business outcomes. It includes a predictive element, which can now be emphasized with AI-equipped predictive analysis. Investing in advanced analytics software may provide the boost needed to build a better business this year.

Internet of Things

As improved communications and information technology furnish a growing number of opportunities for business owners to interface with consumers, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also at work, making connections of its own. From devices that communicate with one another to internet connection capabilities that streamline business operations, the technology may offer benefits you can use to boost sales this year.

Wearable Voice-activated Tools

Consumers have already embraced popular voice-enabled smart personal assistants. Don’t be surprised to see the same technology deployed in wearable formats, such as smartwatches. Though the din of consumers’ mobile conversations is already rising in retail stores, restaurants, and other public forums, voice-activated wearables will increase the noise, as consumers consult with their assistants for price checks and comparison shopping.

The Cloud

Computing power is at a premium in the information age, so companies have to determine the best ways to get results, without breaking the bank. For stable, steady industries, in-house infrastructure is still a viable approach, resulting in cost-effective computing and data storage. But for other enterprises, subject to irregular patterns, cloud capabilities furnish better results.

Small businesses benefit from cloud computing in several distinct ways. It can be used for data backup, as well as facilitating remote work opportunities. Information is easily shared on the cloud, and files can be stored there to retain computing power at your physical locations. The flexible solution is easy to use and scalable, so your use of the technology grows seamlessly, as your commercial needs evolve. Security is always an issue for small business owners, but some of the early concerns about the cloud have eased, with better protocols for protecting data.

Immersive User Experiences

With so many tech developments shaping things to come, it’s hard to separate their individual impacts from the collective experience. This trend won’t slow in 2019, as technology continues to break-down barriers between the real world and the digital world. Augmented, virtual, and mixed realities are already changing how people interact and perceive the digital space. The immersive user experience on deck for 2019 represents the cumulative impact of several tech advances, resulting in dramatic shifts in the relationship between buyers and sellers.

Spreading Smarts

From your mobile phone to your big screen TV, all kinds of tech gadgets are getting “smart.” Technology innovation will continue integrating intelligent features in 2019, leading users to greater dependency on smart platforms. The forward-looking technology has already resulted in emerging “smart spaces,” where humans openly interact with tech-enabled systems; smart homes and digital workplaces are two of the ways smart technology is changing how we live and work.

Technology rolls on, whether or not you’re tuned in. With so much to manage, it’s easy to lose track of the cutting edge, but you’ll pay a price for lagging on tech. Your business is sure to brush up against these technology breakthroughs this year. Why not ride the wave of emerging technology to strengthen your small business in 2019?

sprout-fundingThe Sprout Funding blog offers tips, reports, insights and other ideas to help small business owners learn and grow. Have a question for our team? Email us at: info@getsproutfunding.com, and tell us how we can help you.
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