The Best of Business Technology
It may seem like the world of business technology goes through a massive change every few years, making it increasingly difficult for small business owners to know just what kind of technology their business needs and which they’re better off skipping. The trouble is that different types of businesses have vastly different needs, but there are some recent advances that most organizations can get some advantage out of using.
No one aspect of information technology has done more to close the gap between enterprise solutions and solutions available to small and mid-sized businesses than cloud computing. Entering the cloud takes many of your IT tasks and moves them off-site onto specific servers that have the ability to expand and contract as your traffic does, eliminating downtime during high-traffic periods and saving money during lulls. The cloud’s remote installation, desktop virtualization and enormous data capacity allow businesses of all sizes to harness computing solutions that, just a few years ago, were the purview of multi-nationals alone.
Business Intelligence (BI) is the art of accumulating data from your business, and then processing the data into actionable intelligence. Any business that has some method to collect data can profit from harnessing that intelligence into something usable. An e-commerce company can monitor their customers' purchases to recommend profitable upsells at checkout; a venue organization can use BI to monitor traffic patterns in real time to better predict where to station employees to relieve congestion; even an offline company, like a barber, can use data gathered from a POS system to help understand the effect certain marketing campaigns are having.
While it shares a name with the cloud, cloud backup services are a different beast entirely and one that almost any small business can benefit from. This backup solution allows businesses to take the data they accumulated and store it with a cloud provider. This not only protects the data from loss or disaster, especially if the cloud provider co-locates the data, it also allows authorized people to access the information from wherever they are, aiding collaborative efforts. Since cloud backup allows a business to expand far beyond what a small business data center would normally allow, almost any type of data- or file-driven business can benefit from this solution.
With a small workforce of dedicated people, small businesses are in the perfect spot to take advantage of the explosion in business mobility over the past few years. Far from just checking your email on a smartphone, true business mobility keeps you connected to important apps and services from your handheld device, tablet or laptop, ensuring you can conduct business no matter where you are. With new services coming online all the time and prices falling to acceptable levels, there’s no reason why most small businesses shouldn’t be taking advantage of everything that true mobility can do for your company.
Every business needs to be able to maintain records and backups of their data, as well as the ability to analyze sales and website statistics. Though a tropical fish store and a café have wildly different needs, they can both benefit equally from upgrading their tech.