Small and growing business owners must constantly evolve their business to stay ahead of customer demands, market conditions and pressure from competitors. Technology can play an important role in keeping your business at the forefront of innovation … and prevent it from falling behind. So, what should you be looking out for when it comes to your small business? Here are the technologies you absolutely can’t ignore in 2020 and what they mean for you.
Take another look at how your business is – or isn’t – embracing IoT
The power of the Internet of Things (IoT) goes beyond making sure you can stream your perfectly curated playlist over the shop speakers, or track the temperature of your ‘fresh never frozen’ poultry. With the right solutions in place, you can simplify operations, save energy and improve security – whether you’re running a coffee shop or a small farm.
Over the next decade, we expect technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, AI, 5G and quantum computing to fully take off, creating a new wave of connected devices that can drive customer’s experiences and create a slew of opportunities for small business. The time to adopt is now – only 36 percent of SMBs are using or plan to use IoT solutions, putting you ahead of the curve.
What this means for you in 2020: This year, revisit your business’ IoT strategy. Don’t know where to start? Meet with an IoT vendor who can help you identify areas of improvement and then provide preconfigured, easy-to-deploy solutions that fit into your price-point.
Future-proofing your business’ network
As IoT becomes ubiquitous, your business’ network will need to evolve to keep pace with the growing number of devices connecting to it every day. SMBs are increasingly dealing with shoppers who expect incredible digital experiences and customer service, while also trying to balance a complex ecosystem of cloud and web-based applications. From a tech perspective, that means creating an open, accessible network for improved in-store customer experiences and ensuring inventory management tools, scanners and POS systems can seamlessly connect.
What this means for you in 2020: Ensuring you have a strong and secure network that’s flexible enough to evolve with your business will be integral to your success. And you don’t need to do it alone. Technology partners have the expertise, multi-vendor knowledge, and the personnel to help you build the network that will help you achieve your business goals.
Applications will be the key to better business analytics
Consumers used to make a conscious decision to use a digital service to carry out a task or activity, but that’s no longer the case. According to the latest AppDynamics App Attention Index, the majority (71%) of respondents admit that digital services have become intrinsic to their daily lives. The use of digital services has evolved to become an unconscious human behavior, also known as a ‘Digital Reflex.’
What this means for you in 2020: As customers become more willing to share their data and digital habits with companies, SMBs will be able to glean important sales data and obtain valuable insight into customer shopping habits and buying trends. As an SMB owner, as long as you have the right applications, you’ll be able to use these analytics to provide customers with product information quickly, and share offers on the items they care about.
Threat Hunting & Zero Trust: the new cornerstones to your security playbook
Digital transformation, which includes the adoption of cloud, social and mobile technologies, continues to play a crucial role in business success. However, the introduction of these new technologies has also introduced new risks when it comes to the security of your business. According to Statistics Canada, just over one-fifth of Canadian businesses reported they were impacted by cybersecurity incidents which affected their operations in 2017. This includes 19 percent of all small businesses.
What this means for you: With data moving into more places, devices and clouds than most of us can keep track of, you need to get ahead of cyber threats by making Threat Hunting and Zero Trust integral to your security policies. Threat Hunting isn’t just about detecting malware, it also identifies weak links in your security environment that need to be addressed. And Zero Trust asks that you assume zero trusts when someone or something requests access to your company assets. This will protect your workforce, workloads, and workplace from malicious devices and users trying to access your network.
What technologies will your business adapt in 2020? What these trends all have in common is that businesses – large or small – can’t afford to be complacent when it comes to technology.
By Lissa Ricci, Vice President of small business solutions for Cisco Canada
Lissa Ricci is the vice president of small business solutions for Cisco Canada. She is passionate about technology and how it can help growing businesses achieve their goals. See how our solutions can help your business at cisco.com/ca/smb.