With a potential recession looming, high costs of labor and a variety of issues outside our control, business owners are looking to technology to provide relief from rising labor and operating costs. Based upon research from Microsoft, Gartner, SAP, Sage and other sources, we have compiled for Top 6 Technology Trends for Small to Mid Sized Business (SMB) in 2023.
Not surprisingly, many of the 2023 Top 6 Technology Trends are continuations and accelerations of progress made over the past few years. These technologies available today for companies of any size.
1. Increased Cloud Technology Utilization
Everyone is in the cloud to some extent with hosted e-mail (O365 or Gmail), document storage, bill pay, mobile applications, etc. The cloud is also the platform that enables many of the technology trends we see for 2023. Accordingly, popularity and usage of cloud based or cloud enabled applications will increase and intensify.
According to Deloitte Insights, “as much as 85% of businesses are using two or more cloud platforms, and 25% are using at least five” clouds. This multi-cloud world creates security and management nightmares, but is anticipated to continue as the trend for larger enterprises who need the functions provided by the various cloud providers. Smaller companies also tend to
As you map your improvement objectives for 2023, consider how the cloud can help! Consider some of the following trends and/or schedule a Cloud Optimization Discovery consultation.
2. Automation as the Key Digital Transformation Tool
People talk about digital transformation as a panacea for all problems, but often talk is not actionable in the form presented. Digital transformation can improve operations in three simple ways:
- Automating Repetitive Tasks with little variation can be automated.
- Financial tasks – Recurring and repeating entries and transactions, lease amortization schedules, depreciation calculations, and finance charge calculations are just some of the transactions ripe for automation.
- Warehouse tasks can be streamlined. Loading a truck in reverse order of delivery and directing pickers to work in correct order is a simple example. See Robotics below!
- Reducing or Eliminating Handoffs which reduce customer satisfaction.
- Whenever a task is transferred from one person or department to another, there you risk of “dropping the ball.” Workflow tools close loops and perform administrative and communication tasks
- Approval procedures are often process weakness. When you define how a person approves a transaction, you define the thoughts and steps which can be automated!
- Plugging Leaks in Profitability
- Revenue can be lost when time or transactions are not billed properly. Triggered billing and automated time capture increase top line revenue and the timeliness of billing.
- Expediting orders due to process inefficiencies crush profitability. Depending upon your industry, customer preferences and various factors eliminating process disruptions, shipping fees and other costs associated with expediting can improve the bottom line percentage.
3. Adoption of Low-Code / No-Code Technology
To solve problems with multi-cloud environments and when implementing digital transformation we see low-code / not-code platforms as part of the solution. These “Integration Platforms as as Service” (iPaaS) tools provide adaptability and agility for companies of all sizes. iPaaS help “citizen developers” with little to no coding skills create automations and integrations to streamline business process. This trend has accelerated due to the limited availability of technology professionals.
I-Business Network recommends iPaaS technologies based upon core business management software. For example, we recommend BPA Platform for users of SAP Business One, while Celigo has a robust set of tools for NetSuite. Learn more about low-code/no-code in our recent blog post.
4. Customer Experience (CX)
Customer Experience (CX) is another hyped large enterprise concept that has made its way to the down market. From the basic buy online pick up in store and buy online and return in store, newer models for customize order in-store for home delivery enable retailers to shrink physical footprint while offering a broad catalog.
CX is also extremely important for service industries.
- Micro-segmenting customers for targeted communications and discounts
- Elimination of the 10 questions before getting to the right person with automated attendants
- Using AI and statistical tools to ensure fill rates and suggest “customers like you” did this
Digital companies have been using Artificial Intelligence to improve the customer experience for years. Stitch Fix uses AI-enabled algorithms to recommend clothes to its customers that match their sizes and tastes. Now these tools are embedded in many products and development of solutions with low code/no code tools make CX enhancement available to smaller businesses.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Many small and mid-sized business owners think of AI as science fiction. However, AI has been around for quite some time and is making its way into applications and technology accessible to all. First you must think of AI as a form of parallel processing for computers. A computer can think about several things at once creates artificial intelligence.
Cloud applications with access to “big data” find data patterns and apply them to decision making. For example, Sage Intacct is using the Sage Data Cloud to “enrich” information in the business management system. For example, the computer knows the proper zip-code for an address and can add information such as a tax ID to a customer or vendor account. The computer is able to “know” if a customer receives shipments on Sunday or if an amount ordered is excessive to alert the account manager of a potential data entry error.
Although we may not see the improvements during 2023 in our systems, natural language processing (NLP) using techniques like Masked Language Modeling (making the model predict hidden words in sentences) and Causal Language Modeling (making the model predict the next word in sentences) have made huge strides in the past few years. These AI technology improvements will bring better automated attendants for phone systems and virtual administrators more powerful than ever!
6. Increased Adoption of Robotics
Robots are becoming more functional and affordable. Many of us now have robotic vacuum cleaners and mops in our houses and they are becoming more prevalent in hotels and other hospitality settings. They’ll also perform similar and more complex tasks in warehouses and factories as they work alongside humans in manufacturing and logistics. More interactive types of robots will be used as event greeters, bartenders, concierges, and companions for older adults.
Plan Your 2023 Technology Trends Project Now!
These technologies are available today and can generate a quick and significant return on investment. I-Business Network provides no-cost initial consultations with our experienced professionals to help you take advantage of these latest technology trends
- Schedule a Digital Transformation Readiness Assessment for a process oriented assessment of digital technology adoption for business improvement.
- Schedule a Cloud Optimization Discovery Request to review cloud based technology selection or utilization.