Having an effective IT strategy is no longer just a nice-to-have for your business. It’s crucial to achieve your long-term goals, satisfy customers and spearhead scalable growth. In fact, a recent study from research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that IT spending will reach $3.9 trillion in 2021.
As the pandemic continues to drive digital transformation in nearly every industry, it’s important to optimize your digital strategy now so the competition doesn’t leave you behind. Seize these seven top opportunities to stay ahead of the curve by leveraging the right business technology.
1. Workflow automation
Human workers make human mistakes. Luckily, businesses can reduce the risks of human error and boost efficiency by automating repetitive processes. Workflow automation enhances your overall productivity, allowing employees to focus on more important initiatives or ideation while automated systems handle recurring operations.
2. Real-time data analysis
Most modern companies are constantly collecting tons of consumer data, but if you can’t organize and extract actionable insights, it’s a wasted effort.
There are numerous tech tools designed to automate this process so you can make more data-driven decisions. For example, brick-and-mortar businesses can use location-analytics technology that compiles demographic and traffic-pattern data to identify ideal future store locations.
3. Cybersecurity improvements
According to a 2020 study by Cybersecurity Ventures, the global economy will lose $6 trillion to cyber attacks by the end of 2021. This makes cyber crime one of the biggest threats in business today.
The good news is that IT security has grown in leaps and bounds over recent years, evolving to protect your critical business tools, collaboration apps and client data. These can include firewalls, anti-malware software, reliable VPNs and password managers to enhance security and keep your daily operations moving swiftly and securely.
4. Cloud migration
By migrating mobile, web or desktop-based applications to the cloud, employees can access those applications anytime, anywhere. All they need is an internet connection. Migrating to the cloud not only fosters better collaboration and facilitates access to critical business applications, it allows businesses to easily and quickly scale up or down as their operational or data-storage needs change.
5. Data visualization
Data sets can seem like an alien language. Luckily, modern data visualization tools take mountains of raw data and extract patterns with actionable insights. For example, a nationwide retailer might look at a heat map of customers by geometric location and realize they never order enough shirts in a certain market but always have leftover pants. With this knowledge, they can start sending more shirts and fewer pants to that particular region to increase sales and reduce waste.
6. Project management
Project management software is used to track the progress of various teams, individuals or projects, giving everyone involved full visibility into progress. If you have a team working on a quarterly campaign for a top client, you can use a project management tool with Gantt charts to see both the big-picture timeline and the individual tasks. This keeps large projects moving forward so you can deliver on deadlines and hold individuals accountable for their tasks.
7. Collaboration apps
With most of the workforce now working remotely at least part-time, employees need ways to stay connected with managers, colleagues and clients. Without this, it’s hard for them to stay engaged, motivated and working toward your business goals. Tools like Slack help by bringing all your business communications onto one convenient platform. With Slack channels, internal teams can stay organized with central spaces for conversations and file sharing. Slack Connect allows collaboration with teams at other companies, making it simple to stay in the loop with external partners.
Implement the right business tech tools
While there’s an overwhelming number of options when it comes to technology, the key to success is implementing the right business tech tools for your unique needs.
If you want to increase customer retention, look for tools that empower your team to deliver better, faster customer service and higher quality products. While making a huge investment in the latest and greatest customer acquisition software can certainly help your business in other ways, it isn’t going to move the needle when it comes to retention. This means it’s crucial to choose technology that aligns with your specific vision and goals.