We as human beings find comfort, for the most part, in knowing what to expect next. We have ideas around what traditionally works and what doesn’t. Sometimes this leads to complacency or status quo as we fall into the old “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality. While yesteryear this may have been fine, many businesses still trending this way could fall into obscurity quickly should they not change their tune.
Most people point to rapidness of change in technology and think that keeping up would be too costly for their small business. It is actually more than that however, as technology is changing the way we interact and conduct business. Microsoft defines four major pillars in regards to how technology is changing the way we conduct business and life. These pillars are:
Technology is changing the way we interact and conduct business.
Mobility - A proliferation of powerful, connected smartphones and devices that serve all kinds of useful functions, from communication to photography to navigation and much more. Consumers increasingly expect ubiquitous information and connectivity anytime, anywhere – and businesses increasingly cater to those expectations with mobile experiences, apps and other innovative ways to reach mobile customers.
Social - A way to build and connect to a vast network of friends and contacts. Over the past few years, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become integral to our personal and professional lives and the primary way we stay connected to conversations and information. Yammer has extended this trend by enabling social interaction internally within one’s organization while still providing the ability for public reach.
Cloud - Having one place to keep data and media, rather than having to constantly synchronize across different devices. Everything from streaming music to online photo sharing sites to cloud-hosted mobile apps is bringing the cloud to consumers and vice versa.
Big Data - Largely a business concept, but it manifests to consumers as more accurate and convenient search capabilities. The notion of “big data” in a consumer context can also raise privacy concerns, and businesses using data to identify customers and drive loyalty must be able to do so in ways that respect consumer concerns.
The challenge faced by businesses of all sizes is mastering these trends within said four walls of your organization to meet the somewhat different expectations of consumers. As technology becomes more strategic, and non-technical decision-makers become more involved in forming strategy around these tech trends, it is critical for businesses to have a partner that can span both sides of the consumer/enterprise divide to strike the right balance.