Technology plays a crucial role in the efficiency and growth of all businesses, small businesses in Australia should be leveraging technology to respond to a fast-moving marketplace.
Around 5 million Australians work for small businesses. These jobs are spread across industries like hairdressing, real estate, food, retail, tourism and more but all have the common goal of being a sustainabile business over the long-term.
Competition among small businesses was already fierce, but since Covid, its now even harder to get people to part with their money, given the global uncertainty.
If you are the owner of a small business, you’re responsible for the livelihoods of other people, so looking for new opportunities to improve business operations, make them more efficient using technology, should be at the top of your priority list.
Below is a list of 4 top trends in 2021, that small business is focusing on, so if you’re not, your business is falling behind.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have been amongst the top hot tech topics for 2021. Despite that AI sounds like something integrated by large enterprises only, it has been analyzed that small businesses will integrate AI in 2021.
The integration of AI means a wide range of implementation scenarios, including personalized customer experiences and voice assistants. AI will offer small businesses the opportunity to provide a personalized experience to the customers by maximizing manual tasks and time.
By using tech solutions with AI, small businesses can save loads of time. In 2021, automation and the integration of AI can be a huge asset for small businesses.
The number of possibilities in this space is incredible and it’s about considering how your business could leverage AI to solve business problems or unlock new opportunities.
Adoption of 5G
The adoption of 5G technology is another vital tech trend for 2021 that small businesses are more likely to follow and integrate. Thanks to Coronavirus, many employees found new places to work, which creates a connectivity issue.
Thanks to some fortuitous timing, the rollout of 5G devices and networks has also occurred over the last 12 months and that means it’s now possible to work remotely, from the home office, or out in the field and be assured of great internet speeds, to get the job done.
5G is also a crucial advancement for IoT (internet of things), enabling a growing fleet of connected devices to transmit data large distances, in thanks to low latency.
Take the example of a farmer who uses an autonomous drone to capture aerial imagery of their crops. With 5G, the data captured by the drone, could be sent back in minutes, instead of hours, allowing for faster application of the necessary treatment to encourage growth, or kill pests. It’s also possible that problem areas could be inspected remotely thanks to the low-latency on offer with 5G.
While the 5G rollout is still occurring, Australia’s largest telcos have done an excellent job at continuing the rollout, despite the pandemic. This means you should check the rollout maps, as your area may have been recently added.
5G hotspots can also provide enough speed for a whole team to run their laptops from, great for when we return to some more face-to-face meetings. This would really support what employees have come to love now, the flexibility of office locations.
5G is a great option when working from a coffee shop, or fast food outlet, and eliminating concern about the security issues associated with joining their public WiFi hotspots.
Extensive HR Tech
As a result of the pandemic, another business company that received loads of importance is the HR software that helps small and large businesses keep track of their employees and organization’s assignments.
Let’s hope the world gets back to some sense of normalcy in the next 1-2 years. Until then, we need systems and workflows in place that enable the smooth processing of HR regardless of whether employees are in the office or not.
Even in normal times, small businesses can gain loads of benefits with integrating HR software in terms of enhanced productivity, communication, project management, etc.
Centralized HR information systems have become critical in 2021 as HR has developed and stands for more than just a record-keeping and record-tracking system.
I’d also include in this review of IT systems, a heavy move to automate clumsy, manual business processes with automation. This helps on several fronts, employees can be reallocated to more enjoyable work tasks, while the accuracy and timeliness of data is dramatically enhanced.
With the world turning increasingly digital and remote work becoming the latest norm, cybersecurity has turned into a major issue, especially in 2021.
Referring to cybersecurity, it has been estimated that smaller businesses are more likely to be targeted by malicious software and hackers than large-scaled businesses.
As a matter of fact, many small businesses have already been affected by data breaches and cyberattacks.
In 2021 its time Cyber security gained a high profile in your business, regardless of your industry. Small business needs to take an active role in securing their business, with the average security incident costing millions of dollars in remediation, which could be business-ending.
One way to do so is by encouraging employees to attend cyber security courses to take security measures to heart.