Entrepreneurs that keep up with technological advances and emerging digital trends will set themselves apart from their competitors in the long-term.
Your tech strategy is an important part of your business, whatever industry you’re in. Not only has digitisation and automation played a key role in boosting productivity, tech can help broaden and retain your customer base too. Business leaders that adapt to the pace of change and commit to exploring new options will see higher returns in the years ahead.
There’s been a lot written about how the pandemic has accelerated digitisation, especially when it comes to how consumers interact with businesses. More consumers than ever before are using digital channels to purchase goods and services. Between 2020 and 2021, the food and household sectors saw 30 percent growth in their online customer base. In fact, McKinsey found that across industries, the global share of products and services that are partly or entirely digitised accelerated by 7 years.
Professor Jonathan Haskel, an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, puts the increase in digitalisation front and centre in the UK’s recovery. It has had a positive influence on the country’s productivity during the pandemic and will only continue. Automation in business processes and the administrative burden it solves is a key part of this boost. And according to Haskel, it may contribute to GDP reaching pre-pandemic levels this year. Despite the difficulties experienced by many businesses, as far as technology is concerned, the pandemic has encouraged enormous progress and benefits.
An uptick in productivity is clearly a welcome thing in any business. Using cloud databases internally for your files and automating administrative processes not only saves you time but money as well. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a key role in enhancing operations and will continue to reshape the way businesses operate.
In our everyday lives we use AI in our smartphones, from speech recognition to the apps we use to get around. Companies can use AI to simplify their processes too. It can improve your insights from marketing and sales, automate mundane and repetitive tasks, or take the load off customer service teams with a chatbot. And the best thing? AI is available to all businesses, from multinationals to sole traders. More and more SMEs are using AI-powered technology than ever before and there’s no doubt it will be part of your competitive advantage in the future if you embrace where technology is heading.
When you have a product or service that can run operational processes or data collection automatically, you and your team have time to focus on what matters: building your business. At MarketFinance we think of this as removing friction in the day-to-day life of entrepreneurs and their teams. Ultimately, business creation happens above managing your administrative burden, so making the most of technology in these areas will quite literally give you hours back in the day.
But tech is more than just a cost cutting tool for businesses. It’s important strategically if you want to stay relevant. Think about how new software or digital products can improve your business and help you reach your goals. Beyond operations and administration, can tech improve the service you offer? Consumers now have higher expectations on turn around times and communication because of the improvements many businesses have made with tech. It’s important you remain an attractive option through your own digitisation.
The most important thing I think about when exploring new software or platforms is to keep track of how the business is performing with it. Your management and leadership teams need to know what is and isn’t working, and why. The faster you can identify and understand if new systems or machines are improving your business, the better.
Technology is enhancing and disrupting industries at pace. Just because a solution works for you now, it may no longer be the best option for your business next year, or even next week. Staying on top of the data is your goal here, so put processes in place to record how it impacts your performance.
In business, being agile and fast to respond to emerging trends is now one of the most crucial elements of your business. We live in a digital world that is constantly evolving, so make sure you’re keeping up to hold onto a competitive advantage.