Businesses with under 100 computers are always looking for new technology to generate a competitive edge. So what might be new in 2018 that can enable a small business to get ahead? Here are a few developments on the horizon that will improve companies in the coming year.
To stay competitive, a small business need to promote effective teamwork. Expect to see more collaboration tools being used in businesses of all sizes this year. Watch for a whole new generation of collaboration applications designed to operate the way the millennial generation thinks.
Collaboration apps are going to become even more essential to provide “on-time” delivery of projects and products. As the business world accelerates and becomes more competitive, these applications keep everyone on the same page—in real-time—to prevent delays. As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, using these powerful new applications fosters teamwork when employees are not in the office.
2018 will see improved machine learning applications and analytic platforms. Forbes recently reported on this, and it’s an important advantage providing options that help customers find relevant information. Intelligent analytics give executives more accurate numbers in close to real-time. Advanced analytics show management the business reality, which will help them remain competitive.
New Hardware and Cloud Spending
IT budgets will emphasize improved hardware, Cloud and managed services. A five year replacement cycle for devices including laptops, network infrastructure and data storage will become the norm. For every old device replaced with a new one, an employees gains about 10 minutes a day in reclaimed productivity. This adds up to more than 40 hours over the course of a year! Budgetary spending for the Cloud is quickly growing, and by 2020, it is predicted that more money will be spent on Cloud-based services than on office devices.
Securing Employees and Sensitive Data
The security world is constantly changing as threats and threat protection strategies evolve. Even the smallest business must continuously adapt to new risks. Looking for security gaps to uncover business risks will grow in 2018. Taking time to examine everything from a lax “bring-your-own-device” policy to the speed of PC patching will become a priority. Taking an in-depth look at policies and procedures to protect company and customer information is essential to effective security practices. Meeting higher standards of cybersecurity compliance requirements will make more employee training and testing front and center for 2018 and beyond.
More small business owners will outsource the work of keeping technology investments updated as compliance increases in complexity. The growth of partnering with IT management and security firms will ensure that business systems are fully patched and up to the current version—and then stay that way.
Everywhere you turn in the business world, The Internet of Things continues to expand. Many more businesses are expected to start using IoT in 2018 through the use of intelligent management applications. Before the year is out, companies will have dozens (if not hundreds) of connected devices in the workplace. Experts predict a burst of new applications that will put these sensors to work in creative ways, for example, prevention of security lapses and identification of productivity trends. The combination of IoT with machine learning will help to manage people and technology in new unexpected ways.
Intelligent Management allows businesses to quickly collect and access data to execute faster solutions to business challenges.
Living on the Edge
Edge computing moves processing closer to the employees or the “edge” of the network. When compared to traditional Cloud computing, it reduces both communication bandwidth needs and latency for mobile workers. As remote workers mature, the need for real-time processing of vast amounts of information will only grow.
So hang on to your hat because 2018 will be a wild ride as businesses adjust to the ever changing technology landscape. Savvy owners and managers know that remaining agile to solve technology challenges and opportunities will pivot their companies toward even more success in the years to come.