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Technology is Reshaping Canadian Business: How to ensure your company keeps pace with IT growth and change

Filed Under (Technology Trends) by Nick Chandi on 26-05-2014

Technology shaping businesses is part of evolution of civil society. Morse code and telephones did it in the previous centuries.  Computer and Information technology continues to drive changes not to just how businesses are conducted but how we lead our lives.

However, the most disruptive technology of this millennium has been the refined technology mobile or smartphone technology. Across sectors, mobile technology continues to drive innovation in pretty much everything and has definitely turned the way business conduct themselves by nearly 360 degrees. Canada is no exception to disruption and constant change that technology introduction and adoption have been driving.

Historic trade winds make way to Technology upgrades

Historically, traders’ global footprints changed the businesses of royal economies and were enigmatically called trade-winds. In the past two millennia, technology-winds drive businesses, with the ripple-effect felt globally and not just local economies. However, for the average business owner or employee, the challenge is in keeping pace with the turnaround of technology adoption. No sooner had the mid-sized business adopted computer IT infrastructure, came the down-sizing in less than a decade as IT infrastructure moves to wireless and cloud-based computing.

Timing the Technology Change

Therefore, the timing of the technology change a business has to adopt to remain invested profitably becomes the inflexion point.

  1. Traditional businesses can no longer survive without adopting digital-profiling curve or business processes.
  2. Today, owning a website will not suffice for a small business or an enterprise.
  3. Driving viewer engagement to the website/web store is the key.
  4. Social media networks too are fast becoming the clinch-points for businesses to go the new way of delivery services: personalized services.

Technology drives businesses towards personalized services

A pamphlet or a flyer, showcasing a sale or a promotion at the local store, is now replaced by QR-code campaign, mobile marketing, social media campaigns and other digitized formats. As the mobile becomes the more common method of delivery of content, promotion and information about product or services a company or a small business provides, there is higher volatility in some of the range of services.

  1. Customer services are no longer limited to being a good, well-manufactured or well-delivered service.
  2. Services and products will now have to cater to the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ on Facebook and SnapChat. Where the ‘social element’ of service or company becomes slow or archaic, the limited is the customer growth.
  3. Internet and online communications has also driven global reach. Therefore, for every local competitor, there is also a global competitor which small scale and large-sized business have to develop strategies to accommodate.

Soliciting customers has changed the face of several businesses

Mobile email open rates on the mobile is currently at 37% in Canada, second only to US 38%, with UK making up the third highest email access scenarios. Therefore, small companies have those much higher chances of engaging the end consumer by offering Personalized Services. So, how do business understand, evaluate, rate and adopt a technology which is right for them?

Research reports indicate role of technology

Traditionally, researchers pursue various parameters which influence economic changes. Where capital, labor forces , resource availability are just a few of the parameters evaluated to arrive at economic influences, in recent times technology adoption too has become a critical factor in the growth of business practices. Transformative technologies have, according to reports by UN studies never been Canadian businesses strengths, in comparison to neighbors.

The apparent reason for the failure in Canada is the slow approach to technology innovation and sustained adoption. Studies indicate that where innovation has succeeded it has not been sustained as a pan-country or regional technology transformation, for, as a country, there is a decided lack of technology research and development. Innovation is the ‘genius child’ of research and development. As long as research and development fails to make headway for local realities, the move to innovation is a far cry.

Imported technologies begin to dominate, leading to long-term dependency of the original product or service and minimal technology innovation locally.

Digital marketers recognize 4 parameters

  1. Demand is found to have increased for products and services which are intuitive and free.
  2. Digital commerce is here to stay and therefore adopting technology which delivers such services will become increasingly important.
  3. These can include moving to mobile payment technologies, or Point of Sales which is mobile, by the use of tablets or smartphones in such customer-facing levels.
  4. The digital interactivity between business and clients and consumers becomes the inflexion point.
  5. All things again point to personalized, customized services and user engagement.

EXPERT SPEAK: Technologies are transforming more than businesses

Businesses in Canada or globally the need is to adopt business models which lend themselves to agile platforms. Business models too become should become innovative as there is more data available, in real-time!

Secondly, customers or clients expect and demand services which are more instantaneous and transparent. Responsiveness and the rapid pace at which it is delivered is the key. It actually becomes a measure of the core competency of an organization.

Third, connectivity is one of the greatest levelers in businesses. Connectivity and real-time data availability and access, mean higher traction in business processes.

Fourth, remote work processes using cloud services mean lesser overheads of IT infrastructure and support. This will also allow businesses to engage directly in their core business competency, rather than spend time and resources in non-competency departments.

The above points are just the tip of the technology-iceberg which businesses will have to explore and adopt so as not to become archaic and lose out to the competition. Technology harnessing is key to driving business success. It can be achieved only if the focus of the company remains on adopting technology for end-user benefit along with in-house competency, profit and efficiency improvement, which could also bring in profits!

Sources

  1. http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Tracking_global_trends/$FILE/Tracking%20global%20trends.pdf
  2. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/ten_it-enabled_business_trends_for_the_decade_ahead
  3. http://impacttechbusiness.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/
  4. http://www.businessinsider.in/These-Beautiful-Charts-Show-The-Coming-Technologies-That-Will-Change-The-World/articleshow/33458805.cms
  5. http://business.financialpost.com/2014/02/13/its-only-a-matter-of-time-before-disruptive-technologies-er-disrupt-canadas-banking-sector/

 

 

 

How SMBs with Mobile/Cloud strategies see better results?

Filed Under (Technology Trends) by Nick Chandi on 07-05-2014

Technology adoption is a primary asset for accelerated growth especially for Small and Medium sized Businesses (SMBs).  In recent times the most omnipotent technology penetration has been the mobile form factor and businesses located in countries such as US and Canada with high density network and communication carriers have benefitted largely from the ‘always-on’ connectivity which is unique to mobile computing technology and devices.

Rapid adoption of mobile strategies the requirement

The choice now for SMBs is no longer on whether or not to move to mobile-based business processes but the question of rapidity of deployment of mobile business strategies, based on following developments:

  1. Devices with higher performance, backed by more effective 3G/4G networks bring in higher productivity.
  2. Increased availability of mobile apps drives higher mobile adoption.
  3. Interaction between employees as well as external audience is optimized by mobile access as well as interaction.

According to statistics by leading research organization for SMBs, the number of current business users already implementing mobile devices is 81%, while 19% expect to adopt mobile business functions within the year.

More information by the organization includes the following:

  • 1.4 times higher revenue increase for business apps
  • 1.25 times higher revenue growth for external apps

But there are concerns which business face with mobile access based process:

  • security issues
  • costs of transition
  • complexity of management multi-device access
  • thin knowledge base of in-house IT expertise

According to ComScore, a leading internet technology company with seminal studies on consumer behaviour on digital devices in its latest findings shares thus:  “About 33 per cent of total time spent online came from the devices other than computers. It means, one minute out of every three minutes spent online is on the devices like smart phones and tablets other than PCs.

As SMBs are now inundated with information on mobile business process and the advantages of virtual or cloud-based strategies which will drive growth, the decision-making process to engage with the best-fit partner has become more challenging than the cloud and mobile platform technology itself.

Challenges mobile/cloud strategy partner will have to deliver

The challenges which a mobile/cloud strategy partner will have to resolve for any SMB looking at the above are as follows:

  • directly interact with business processes at employee and customer level
  • address and integrate resources as well as financial management
  • establish mobile solution ROI

Top reasons why mobile and cloud solutions will empower your business

SMBs which have moved to the new digitalized platform of business processes on the cloud and mobile are as follows:

  • Enhance employee productivity by nearly 59%
  • Provide access points for employees and quality information by 59%
  • Remote work operations enhanced by 57%
  • Customer services optimized by 28%
  • Business processing possible even when out of the office enhanced by 25%
  • Direct impact on sales increase by 23%

The current phase of mobile and cloud adoption by SMBs has been through the use of Apps, as the platform for mainstream business productivity. Typical business processes which SMBs now engage on via cloud and mobile devices and find highest growth traction are:

  • Accessing company email
  • Synchronizing calendar
  • Contact Information
  • GPS or navigation and mapping
  • Localized services
  • Web-based conferencing
  • Documentation processes
  • Management of documents
  • Sharing services

Current mobile industry adoption studies indicate that there are two distinct standards evolving for mobile device management with external management and intra-organization mobile platform.

Nearly 41% of SMBs who were part of the studies have already adopted mobile device management. Another 27% are planning to move to device management within the year.

Additionally, 27% of them are proposing that they will use mobile platform for development, with another 25% planning to implement it within the year.

Most business are using off-the shelf mobile apps, while a sizeable section of them are already engaged in using current business applications by certain vendors.

Social media sharing, CRM use reservations, queuing, marketing, building and managing shipment are some of the other status where this is in use.

Additionally, it is critical for mobile and cloud based business processes in SMBs to find and deploy the decision maker in the entire set-up. As mobile strategies and cloud based strategies become the norm than the exception newer roles for decision making in the new scenario are indeed a requirement.

Experts Speak

Considering the multiple options available in terms of cloud and mobile service providers, SMBs need to choose partners which deliver customized solutions.

The concerns for every SMB should be that the partner who will support its business services on the cloud or the mobile is beyond being a qualified service player has the expertise in its niche, to pre-guess on business requirements and address them effectively,  by way of adaptive  business apps which integrate or work seamlessly with existing business structures of the SMB.

Moving to a diametrically different platform with most of the current processes non-cohesive would not only prove to be technical glitz for the SMB but a rich recipe for disaster!

The current breed of partners in this industry range from the customized and individual consultancy based providers to the enterprise and large organization catering service providers as well.

Services these partners provide range from online App stores, such as the kind offered by SAP store directed for industry specific processes, customer or client-facing business apps, besides analytic apps which are free-form and are easy to scale.

For those SMBs with a larger picture of mobile or cloud platform adoption, there are service partners who can deliver full service platform itself. There is special focus by most providers on building backend agnostic features which ensure optimized productivity..

Mobile and Cloud partners’ delivery goals need to be as follows:

  1. Focus and develop a business strategy for your mobile or cloud use
  2. Based on above strategy provide end-to-end services in identifying and using mobile apps which achieve SMBs business goals
  3. Optimize productivity by agnostic backend solutions
  4. Design and implement management solutions for the mobile or cloud

Deliver on behind-the-scenes monitoring and management of mobile solutions as well as infrastructure. 

Reference Links
1. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2012/mar12/03-28smbcloudpr.aspx
2. http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/windstream-serves-enhanced-cloud-partner-strategy-enhances-smb-reach/2014-02-27
3. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/feature/Small-businesses-drop-data-centers-for-advantages-of-cloud-computing
4. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/essentialguide/Expect-the-unexpected-with-a-solid-cloud-DR-strategy
5. http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/small-businesses-mobile-122495

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