Businesses need to embrace new trends and technologies in order to stay ahead, but what are the key technologies that your company should be adopting in 2014? Here are five must-have technologies that are essential for doing business today.

Mobile website

Over half of Australians now use a smartphone, and it has increasingly become the primary tool to access the internet. In just a few years, mobile devices including tablets are likely to be the dominant way we research, purchase and interact online.

It’s critical that every business has an easy-to-use, fully functional mobile website. Every customer that tries unsuccessfully to access your site via their smartphone is almost certainly a lost customer.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing gives all businesses the technology capacity of large enterprises for a fraction of the cost. It also allows a business to access powerful applications without the need for in-house IT skills. You can do away with a lot of infrastructure, as well as the need to service it.

Cloud services are also highly scalable – ideal for a company that may undergo aggressive growth. It’s far more cost effective as you only pay for the time and services you use, so there’s less waste. You also don’t have to worry about software becoming obsolete, or hardware sitting idle.

Up-to-date hardware

Old, slow computers are a time and money drain as well as a productivity sink. They also tend to be less secure, which can have catastrophic results. Total-cost-ownership analysis shows that the lowest cost comes when computers are refreshed on a three-year cycle, with savings including energy efficiency, security, productivity and manageability.

It’s also advantageous to use similar technology to your clients, partners and customers in order to better understand their needs. Equipping your staff with the latest tablets and smartphones can help give them better understanding of and interaction with the mobile digital environment.

Automation software

Automation software for marketing and other tasks is critical to having a competitive edge. Combining tools such as email, CRM (customer relationship management), search and social media, it not only saves time but makes it far easier to execute and track the success of your operations.

There are even apps you can get that will scour social media for potential sales leads in your area and alert you. So if you own a plumbing business and someone in your city tweets “my kitchen flooded”, you’ll be sent an alert and can contact them to offer your services.

Skills on tap

Sites like oDesk and Freelancer.com.au allow you to tap global talent whenever you need it, instantly scaling up your workforce. You may not have the need or budget for a full-timer or only require certain skills for a specific project, and this way you can buy the labour you need when you need it. From programming and web design to marketing and business support, there are people for hire worldwide.

Technology is increasingly the key to winning new business, managing costs and generating growth. The focus is making sure you are aware of what’s out there and that you get the right services and features for your company.

 

Originally published on ThinkFWD

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