After the Industrial Revolution, the business world remained essentially unchanged for a century or so, but it’s safe to say that will never happen again.
Technological growth and development are so fast that one can’t help but be swept away in a tidal wave of progress.
It’s hard to believe we’ve progressed that far, but if you had access to a time machine and traveled back less than ten years, you’d be surprised to see:
- a lack of centralized work communications to maximize efficiency no matter where you are (think Slack).
- A lack of new marketing formats for businesses such as Instagram.
- There is no Internet of Things, and voice searches for products and information are not available.
- Short-form video sharing is not used for personal or business purposes.
Technology has altered every aspect of how a business operates, and it has never happened so quickly in history.
The ten ways that technology has fundamentally changed business are listed below (for better or worse).
1. How We Communicate and Disseminate information
Every business relies heavily on communication and information sharing. Today’s environment provides more options than ever before, and technology makes it easier, faster, and more efficient. There are benefits and drawbacks to using applications like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, social media platforms, chatbots, and others daily. The ability to track buyer-seller conversations and receive analytics based on user behaviors is provided by sales enablement. Customer information can be easily obtained and used to improve the customer experience with deeper intelligence.
When technology digs into customer data to help us create personalized messaging, communication becomes more effective. Businesses can increase marketing productivity and reach customers by using automated communications across a variety of channels. But we must keep in mind that if we go too far, we risk losing our ability to build customer relationships—and our brands’ human touch.
2. Business Environments That Are Mobile-First
The mobile-first approach is here to stay. With the right software, smart devices, or tablets, you can manage every aspect of your business remotely. Everything from sales enablement, content marketing, and customer relations to back-end processes such as shipping and invoicing is at your fingertips.
On the other hand, Mobile isn’t just for you; it’s also for your customers. More people are using mobile devices to buy, sell, shop, find local businesses, and share their retail experiences with friends, acquaintances, prospects, and Instagram strangers every day, thanks to the rise of Generation Y (Millennials).
This new way of thinking has completely changed the way people market to prospects. Technology has also improved our ability to communicate with one another.
3. Remote working possibility.
Covid-19 forced companies to promote a remote work environment to make the transition faster than expected. And it’s probably for the best that it’s here to stay:
“Companies of all sizes—private, public, nonprofit, and startup—continue to see the value of incorporating remote work into their business strategies,” said Sara Sutton, founder, and CEO of FlexJobs. “With advancements in technology and rising employee demands in a tight labor market, we fully expect the momentum surrounding this critical work to continue to grow,” Sutton concluded.
Companies needed to pivot quickly to ensure that their teams have access to the right technology and infrastructure to support remote log-ins, video conferencing bandwidth, and project management tools so that they could continue to work on projects and share status updates. Instead of managing by the number of hours spent in the office, managers had to focus on employee output. There have been numerous advantages to this new normal. It’s not only easier to recruit and retain top talent, but it also boosts productivity. A fascinating two-year Stanford study found that remote workers experienced a weekly productivity boost equivalent to a full day’s work! There’s more: it reduces real estate costs, reduces carbon emissions, and makes businesses more agile and scalable.
4. The application of artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the world in business and consumer markets, becoming a part of everyday life. The use of AI has become an essential strategy for those seeking to maintain a competitive advantage.
Machine learning (processing large amounts of data quickly and putting it into digestible context for people) to security, CRM, and even the financial and real estate sectors are just a few of the things AI can do. AI is used in sales enablement to track buyers and predict their intent to purchase based on their search patterns, view and open, and other factors. Some fear that AI will eventually lead to joblessness, but the consensus is that new jobs needs and new roles will emerge to ease the transition to this new environment.
AI is progressing at breakneck speed, and while the economic impact is unknown at this time, it will almost certainly have a significant effect.
5. Lowering the cost of doing business while increasing functionality
When it comes to software solutions for your business, two factors have combined to create a “buyer’s market.” To begin with, the hardware and software required to develop these software solutions have become more accessible and affordable. Second, the number of tech-savvy and entrepreneurial minds capable of exploiting such eroding barriers has exploded. In the not-too-distant past, a back-end inventory system that took a multi-million-dollar company a year to develop now takes a few weeks for a few recent college graduates to put together.
6. Enablement of Buyers
Buying in today’s world has become complicated. Buyers spend more than 60% of their buying journey on their own, with a massive amount of content and multiple stakeholders and decision-makers spread across various business groups. If done correctly, the newer approach of buyer enablement allows the buyer to become a product champion within the organization.
This necessitates the seller collaborating with the buyer to determine the ultimate business problem that needs to be solved and to provide the most pertinent information at the right time. Buyer enablement is achieved when sellers prioritize their buyers’ needs throughout the buying process and position themselves as trusted advisors.
7. Improvements in Collaboration
According to a McKinsey Global Institutes report, over 60% of work time is spent collaborating, gathering information, or responding to emails. With this in mind, companies have flocked to collaboration tools such as Google Drive/Docs, Slack, Microsoft SharePoint, and OneDrive, Monday.com, and a slew of others.
These make it easier to collaborate on team projects, file sharing, project collaboration, tasks, and storage. These tools help provide real-time insight into projects, promote efficiency, and they are primarily responsible for aligning people and goals.
8. Digital Transformation + Cloud Computing
Change is happening at a faster rate than it has ever been before. “Digital transformation” “involves fundamental changes in how a company operates, optimizes internal resources, and provides value to customers.” Cloud computing lays the groundwork for becoming more agile, collaborative, and customer-centric.” Cloud computing enables businesses to outsource some of their operations to third-party servers accessed via the Internet.
This enables variable data packages and rapid (on-demand) expansion and mobility without the risk of downtime, crashes, or data loss. Companies that use the cloud can innovate faster, scale more efficiently, and even introduce new market capabilities faster. This has given small and medium-sized businesses access to resources that would have been prohibitively expensive for them previously. It has leveled the playing field when competing against larger corporations.
9. Increased Productivity in Business Operations
Teams are cooperating closely to achieve the common goal of meeting or exceeding growth targets. Business operations evolve and implement more streamlined business processes to bridge organizational gaps through the alignment of service, sales, marketing, and IT.
As previously stated, digital transformation is essential for increasing a company’s productivity. Adding new technology to the stack helps businesses; generate revenue by reducing costs through time savings, speed to market, inventory management, and reduced production costs.
10. Reduced downtime
The advancement of technology is not without its drawbacks. It appears that there is no longer any downtime for people to recover. Vacations, once a cherished American tradition, are now a thing of the past. Email, text messages, and “work” is always accessible via laptops or tablets.
You Can Either Ride or Wipe Out on Technology.
Whether you are a Luddite or a technophile, technology will continue to advance at a breakneck pace. Businesses fail if they don’t adapt, while those that learn, will reap the benefits.
You don’t have to rebuild your company from the ground up—you already merit that has led to your current success.
Be aware of how technology affects your business and how to use technological advancements to your advantage.