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Get ready to implement technology ideas to increase efficiency in business operations

Businesses use innovative products and services from technology to improve productivity, reduce costs, scale their operations and increase revenue. Small and medium-sized businesses are the largest beneficiaries of “business tech” — a term used to describe business-related technology. Some examples of business tech include business intelligence, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, and cloud computing. Here is how businesses are using these technologies to scale.

Business Intelligence and Analytics: Businesses use business intelligence (BI) to analyze data and deliver actionable information to support workers, managers, and executives in making informed decisions. BI blends big data analytics and management with data reporting tools and methodologies to attain success. Organizations using BI first collect data from external sources and internal IT systems, prepare the data for analysis, and query it for trends and insights. The data query is then used to create data visualizations with analytics results that give users insights into strategic and operational decision-making for a better competitive advantage.

Employee Call-Off Hotline: Tracking employee call-offs in large companies is difficult, and most businesses lack standardized protocols to track employee call-in data. Businesses are using call-off hotlines where employees get a dedicated hotline to report their deviations from company work schedules. This way, the hotline company collects employee call-in data such as the employee’s name, department, shift, their call-off reason, and additional information and reports this information to the right channels. This helps ensure that information travels in time and to the right channels and individuals to help streamline workers’ attendance management.

Artificial Intelligence: Companies are looking at Artificial Intelligence (AI) through business capabilities and technologies. Examples of AI technologies are smart assistants such as Siri, Alexa, robo-advisors, self-driving cars, email spam filters, and conversational bots. Businesses are using AI to support three vital needs:

Cognitive Insights: This includes gaining business and market insights and trends through data analysis such as predicting customer behavior and buyer preference, identifying credit card fraud, and targeting digital ads.

Automation: This encompasses automating business processes such as transferring email and call-center data into record systems like updating customer files and info with new phone numbers and addresses and reading the terms of the agreement.

Cognitive Engagement: This involves engaging with employees and customers with tools such as chatbots, intelligent agents for 24/7 customer service, referral programs, and internal employee answer machines. AI technology processes billions of data points and combines historical data to provide insights, predict future outcomes, and support engagements. This allows businesses and executives to make better and more informed decisions.

Big Data Analytics:  Big data is the new gold, a competitive advantage for businesses, and the gas for analytics and applications. Big data involves all the tools and processes related to collecting, managing, and utilizing large data sets. Businesses use big data for insights and to understand markets, target audience, and customers in terms of trends, patterns, and preferences. The advantage of big data analytics is in three things:

  • Volume
  • Velocity 
  • Variety

Volume: Businesses collect volumes of data from various sources, such as transactions, social media, smart (IoT) devices, and more. Big data analytics helps transform these large sets of data into insights.

Velocity: The growing trend of technology and the Internet of Things increases speed in how data from different sources such as sensors,  RFID tags, and smart meters stream into businesses in real-time. Companies must handle these large data sets in time and use the information for further operations and decision-making. Big data analytics makes this analysis possible.

Variety: Businesses receive data in various formats – from numeric, structured data to unstructured data in text documents, chatbox texts, emails, audios, videos, and financial transactions. Without Big data analytics, it would be impossible to analyze these data sets and understandably present them.

Robotics: Large retailers, SMBs, assemblies, material handling, health, manufacturing plants, etc., are using robotics for automation and to scale their operations. Robots as a service (RaaS) is now an industry in itself, and there are currently over three million pieces of industrial robots being used. The cost to use these machines is coming down, even as functionality goes up. Robots provide productivity boosts, and with AI, machine learning, IoT, and new sensor technologies, modern companies and SBMs are using robots to improve their productivity and Return on Investment.

Cloud Computing: The internet is changing, and it’s catching fast. Businesses today utilize cloud computing technologies to store and access information anywhere and on the go with any compatible device. Thanks to cloud computing technology, rather than storing data on physical computers or an office server, businesses can rent or own cloud storage and store data on the internet using three models:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) and platforms such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms such as Amazon EC2, Windows Azure, Rackspace, etc
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) provisions such as Windows 365

The type of cloud computing a business chooses depends on the needs. In general, cloud computing makes information easily accessible, reduces IT costs, supports collaboration, and provides easy data backup.

Endnote: Business technology includes technologies that help businesses run their operations Smart, effectively, and with increased efficiency while reducing cost. These technologies can be smart techs like AI and IoT, customer-facing solutions like CRM, and data analytics. Technology continues to grow while changing every aspect of business operations. Finding the right technology to adapt can help businesses scale their operations and stay relevant in the industry.