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Businesses now have no choice but to embrace fast-moving technological advances, not only to
derive benefit from them but also to stay competitive.
Technology often brings with it a price tag and a learning curve, but the good news is that
innovation doesn’t always have to be expensive so smaller organizations can benefit along with
their larger competitors.
Here are five ways technology is changing the workplace:
1. The retail environment - POS (Point of Sale)
The advances in POS technology make sales transactions and inventory management quick and
accurate with the following benefits:
Fast order processing - card swipers make it easy to quickly process payments and capture
customer data whether from new or existing buyers
Data capture and processing - it’s possible to acquire customer information such as their buying
habits and demographics so as to re-market to them accurately and effectively
Inventory management - POS linked to stock inventory tech means accurate stock records are
maintained, making it possible to analyze stock trends
2. Customer profiling through Big Data
The huge amounts of data being captured and analyzed thanks to developments in smartphone
apps, websites and social media means customers can be segmented in a very detailed way,
enabling highly targeted marketing.
Even basic Google website analytics enables organizations to learn much about their site visitors
including how they found the website, how long they stayed and what they did while there.
3. Cloud computing
Generating large amounts of data means plenty of storage is required and the cloud is a perfect
example of how smaller organizations can benefit from advanced tech without being priced out.
The cloud enables relatively cheap storage compared to buying and accommodating physical
servers, so smaller concerns can use and benefit from Big Data through accurate customer
profiling as discussed above.
The cloud is a good example of one type of tech accommodating the other; in this case higher
capacity yet relatively cheap storage to meet the demands of Big Data.
The proliferation of wi-fi and faster mobile data such as 4G and the soon-to-arrive 5G - a huge leap
forward in terms of speed - means more information can be transmitted and digested on the go.
Tech such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things) in the form of ‘smart’
technology, for example chatbots, is benefiting hugely from higher data speeds.
It’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch, and for colleagues to work together, even if they’re
many miles apart using communication platforms such as Skype and other conferencing or project
management platforms such as Zoom and Trello.
5. Mobile tech
Faster data speeds available in more areas and widespread wi-fi facilities mean mobile use is
growing all the time: smartphone penetration is said to have reached 85% of the U.S. population as
people ‘do more’ on their smartphones and tablets, ranging from staying in touch with people all
over the world, shopping, communicating at work, and much more.
As a result, businesses have to make their websites ever more mobile friendly and involve
themselves in ‘marketing on the go’ via the prospect’s smartphone.
In the workplace, communicating quickly to colleagues away from base is quick and easy almost
wherever they are through various methods ranging from cheap or even free calls, texting, and
communication apps such as WhatsApp and Skype.
Bigger screens and faster data mean project management and document sharing is possible on
6. Reduced downtime
Advanced tech generally, but especially in the forms of faster data and improved smartphone
technology, means more time can be used constructively that might previously have been classed
as ‘dead’ time - traveling for example.
This can certainly aid productivity whilst not costing the earth; many communication, document
handling and project management apps are free or very low cost and connectivity is comparatively
The disadvantage of reduced downtime is in not ‘switching off’ both metaphorically and literally
speaking: it’s tempting to stay connected and maintain permanent access to work via laptops and
smartphones almost round the clock - a study by Deloitte found many Americans believed they
were using their mobiles excessively.
It’s important to set boundaries regarding having proper downtime; technology should work for us
not the other way around.