Now that we are well and truly in the digital era, it is essential for businesses to keep up to date with technological advancements and adapt accordingly. But there’s so much out there that it’s difficult to keep track of new developments in technology and determine what technology is actually needed to keep a business relevant.

To help wade through this technological tidal wave, we’ve highlighted some technologies that are essential for any business looking to improve their processes and grow.

1) The Internet – Getting Online

Let’s start simple and state the obvious. Now that everything (including this blog) is online, an internet connection is essential for any business to be successful. Having access to internet opens many doors for business growth, both locally and internationally. It also facilitates the implementation of other technologies (as mentioned below) which further improves business processes.

2) A Website – Being Online

Another relatively obvious one. Having a website is a key part of getting a business name and brand out there and giving a base for consumers to find out more and engage with the business. It also allows businesses to communicate their work and appeal to potential clients and investors.

Being online allows businesses to connect with the international community, and so not having this ability limits opportunity and essentially isolates a business from the rest of the world.

3) IT Software – Software that Works

The necessity of IT programmes and software is obvious, but the necessity of good IT programmes and software is essential.

Computer programmes and software allow employees to carry out their roles as efficiently and effectively as possible. Essentially, they cut out the middle man and process a lot of data that would otherwise take hours to do manually. If a business has slow, outdated software, it’s likely that they will spend countless hours waiting for things to load and doing jobs which could otherwise be completed within seconds.

4) Mobile Technology – From East to West

Having mobile technology is key to keeping businesses moving and growing. By mobile technology, we mean anything that can be used on the move, from a laptop or MacBook to an actual mobile.

This mobile technology not only lets people do work ‘on the go’, but also allows the actual business to travel. Rather than sending information to potential clients or investors, mobile technology allows employees to take the business to them, making the whole process easier and avoiding the risk of confusion. Mobile technology is therefore important in helping a business not only be sustainable, but to also keep growing.

5) Communication Systems – Silence Really Isn’t Golden

Fully functioning and effective communication systems are important for both ensuring a business is smoothly on the inside and also with its consumers.

For internal communication, there are many options to choose from according to what best suits a business. Although there’s already the standard telephone and emailing systems, there’s also plenty of chat-room style applications, such as Slack, which can help employees ask quick questions and send files without clogging up inboxes.

Where consumers are concerned, growing demand means that they want answers and responses instantly. Chat-bots, webchats and social media are the way forward here. Having chat-bots allows consumers to get a standard response for frequently asked questions, and then go further to talk to an actual person on a webchat or social media if their enquiry stems further.

Effective communication systems are therefore essential for any business, as not only do they promote internal efficiency, but also help satisfy an audience and keep them interested in the business.

6) Online Storage Systems – What’s a Desktop?

Using online storage systems, such as Dropbox and the Cloud, are essential to keep businesses running smoothly and cooperatively.

Let’s be honest – desktops are basically becoming redundant. They’re good for having quick access to something, but a nightmare for documents which need shared access. Although businesses can have separate departments, it is inevitable that these will cross over and thus share the same files. Using desktop-only saving is therefore inefficient, ineffective and wastes time – how many times have you realised the document you need is on another colleague’s computer, who is out of the office for the day? Nightmare.

7) Analytic Software – Statistics made Easy

Analytic software is important for any business aiming to better understand their audience. The idea of analytics and subsequent statistics may put you off reading further into this, but don’t worry, it can be made simple and is actually a key part of making businesses a hit with their audiences.

Analytic platforms are wonderful things. They paint a picture of who is engaging with content and what type of content is popular among audiences, both in terms of a given business and other sources. This information is important for any business in knowing how they can better relate to their audiences and stay relevant. The best part about this technology is that it provides information-rich data that, other than reading said data, involves minimal effort to acquire.

8) Online Banking and Automation – Money Money Money

Being able to manage accounts is basic stuff and can also be very boring. However, online banking and automation allows businesses to keep track of their outgoing and incoming payments and automate those which occur on a regular basis.

Not only does this make handling finances simpler and easier to understand, but also saves a lot of time in the long run which can be better spent elsewhere.

9) Security Systems for Sensitive Information – The Dreaded GDPR

A side effect of this digital era is risk – risk of sensitive data being leaked, which doesn’t bode well for anyone involved.

This is why it is essential that any business hoping to survive in this digital era has strong online and offline security systems built into their IT. Websites and online platforms are increasingly using personal information to make their services better, and so privacy concerns are high. In order to be protected from any GDPR complaints, a strong security system is essential for any business with a foot in the digital door and, let’s be honest, that’s almost all businesses these days.

10) Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Leave it to Robots

Bear with us here.

Although it has long been something to fear in science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is our friend. It is this technology that allows personalisation and targeted advertisements to reach specific audiences in a way that will resonate with them, using a whole range of data sources.

AI technology can also be developed to generate insight into a business’ audience. For example, IBM Watson analyses a given text to produce insights into the writer’s personality, and it does this quite accurately. So, although AI is still undergoing development, it is already playing an important part in helping businesses better understand and appeal to their audiences. Give it a few years, and AI will dominate in the technological world.