If you take a step back and look at the advances in technology over the last decade, and how they have impacted on the way companies do business, it’s pretty incredible. From the high-speed trading that has transformed stock exchanges, to 3D printing of construction and health materials, to sentiment tracking technology that enables brands to adjust their marketing messages in real-time based on unfolding events, the business world is changing at a rapid pace.
The Cloud, one of the most significant developments in internet services in a long time, enables businesses of all sizes to save money and become far more flexible, through hosting applications and storing data off-site. With lower start-ups costs and the potential to use only the applications needed, companies have the agility they need to compete in a global economy.
DIY web design platforms such as Wordpress allow businesses to easily, and inexpensively, create, maintain and adapt their websites as needs change. The availability and ease of applying plug-ins with a relatively low skill level has seen a huge boom in certain sectors, such as e-commerce sites, which are increasingly powerful with astounding functionality.
Another exciting recent development is Big Data, the vast quantities of information that businesses are now able to collect and in theory use. Various technologies are available that help companies to arrange and draw conclusions from their data, bringing a whole new level to business intelligence. The potential of Big Data to reshape business is only beginning to be unlocked.
The popularity of smartphones and tablets mean customers can now access websites and make purchases 24/7 from wherever they are in the world. Retail operations therefore have the power to sell all day, every day of the year, but this then brings with it its own challenges.
There is also the ubiquitousness of social media, a vast array of channels for businesses to connect with their customers in different ways - handling complaints, releasing information, building brand images, and a source of efficient but cheap marketing.
All of this is meaning that IT costs are reducing, and functionality increasing at the same time, leading to greater efficiency and agility. Technology is the greatest business driver at the present time, and we can only guess of where it will lead in the future.