Although you may not be at the cutting edge of technological advancement as an entrepreneur or small business owner, technology still plays a critical role in the expansion and effectiveness of your company. The importance of small business technology trends will only increase in 2023, given how much has changed in the last year.
While new infrastructure, such as 5G, will gain traction, established markets, such as employee monitoring software, will have a greater impact on small businesses.
Companies around the world are still struggling to establish a new normal nearly three years after the first COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented. Small and midsize businesses can benefit greatly from technological rebalancing, reconstruction, and reinvigoration.
1. Artificial Intelligence
For years, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been hot tech topics. AI, for example, is reshaping the insurance industry by alleviating insurer pain points and improving user experience.
The achievement of operator profitability will also benefit AI. For example, NVIDIA discovered that AI deployments in retail stores caught 98 percent of instances of theft, fraud, or human error, resulting in a quick return on investment. In terms of return on investment, IBM discovered that 35% of companies are currently using AI, with another 42% exploring AI use cases.
“By maximizing their time and automating manual tasks, AI will help small businesses provide more personalized experiences to their customers,” Schmidt said. “AI and automation can be a huge asset if you spend nearly a quarter of your day on manual tasks like data entry, as our research revealed.”
2. 5G Rollout
5G has significant business implications. 5G technology adoption began in 2019, but the pandemic significantly slowed rollout both domestically and internationally. Nonetheless, the advantages of adopting 5G cellular capability include significantly faster data transmission speeds than 4G networks can provide.
As 5G networks are more capable of supporting the influx of interconnected smart devices than 4G or Wi-Fi, effectively eliminating latency will be a significant step forward in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT).
3. Monitoring Software
Hybrid and remote teams are here to stay, which means employee monitoring software is too. Although many businesses have already adopted these tools, expect more to join their ranks as the realities of managing remote workers set in.
The best employee monitoring software can be used to gain detailed insight into remote workers’ productivity. Look for features such as mobile device coverage and the ability to detect ineffective working practices when selecting employee monitoring software.
4. Hybrid Working Model
As more businesses embrace the hybrid working model (and the potential savings that come with shedding office space and freeing up employee commuting time for additional work), they will rely more on technology to handle successful remote employee onboarding.
Onboarding is essential when hiring new employees because it allows you to familiarize them with their responsibilities and the company culture. Companies are turning to software for onboarding because they cannot connect in person due to the pandemic or their location.
5. Tech-Assisted Retail Shop
In order to reduce costs and increase profits, major retailers have accelerated the rollout of mobile and social media shopping in order to create a contactless shopping experience. Small businesses will begin to follow suit as the cost of some of these technologies decreases.
QR codes, mobile terminals, and mobile wallets are now part of mobile payments. Customers are becoming more comfortable with these methods of shopping and payment, making them viable investments for small businesses with limited staff.
Gartner predicts that the year 2023 will mark the beginning of widespread development and use of what it refers to as super apps. These apps will enable the combination and unification of disparate app services into a single user-friendly interface. Small businesses can benefit from using these apps to improve employee and vendor productivity.
Furthermore, we are seeing an increase in the use of third-party software integrations. Slack is now used to connect teams, Outlook is used to send important documents, Salesforce is used to manage customers, Monday.com is used to plan projects, and Google Drive is used to store company information. Data silos are a significant threat that can be mitigated and minimized through unification.
The adoption of new working practices has resulted in the emergence of new forms of fraud, with malware evolving in response to increased virtual communication and the increasing domestic use of workplace hardware.
However, this sense of danger has not spread to businesses. According to BullGuard research, nearly 60% of small businesses believe they will not be targeted in a cyberattack. However, Check Point discovered that global cyberattacks in the third quarter of 2022 were 28% higher than in the same period in 2021. Total attack volume in North America increased by 47 percent year on year. Small businesses are not immune to cyber attacks, as cloud security firm Barracuda discovered that they are three times more likely than enterprise-sized businesses to be targeted in phishing attacks.