Grow your business
As businesses, we operate in such a technology-satiated environment, that we sometimes don’t realise how quickly the technology we use can be superseded by new, better tools and systems.

If you are a business looking to grow in 2016 and beyond, you may want to keep a close eye on the trends emerging now and consider how adopting new technology can help accelerate your growth and put you in a position of advantage in the marketplace.

This is a selection of tools that have garnered huge interest and have shown the potential for becoming solid building blocks for growing businesses for years to come.

1. Cloud Services

Cloud computing has gone from strength to strength in the last ten years and is now considered to be a mature technology with momentum in even some of the most security-conscious industries across the world.

Thanks to the agility of cloud infrastructure, entrepreneurs can re-invent their business models as the market changes. The cost of business failure is reduced, while scaling up operations when things go well is affordable and easy.

Cloud services feature in some of the strongest success stories of the decade, such as Amazon, Netflix and Uber. Their speed to market enabled them to disrupt and grow, without huge upfront investment in infrastructure. And herein lies the beauty of cloud: Any business can be a potential disruptor as the power of cloud computing is so readily available.

In the past, organisations have been forced to design business models on the IT available to them, restricted by cost. But with the rise of hybrid IT – using both private data centres and the public cloud – almost any business model can now be put into practice. This is a major key to growing your business, as IT has traditionally been the one hurdle that organisations stumble upon when wanting to expand services or availability.

Some of the main benefits of cloud computing include:

  • Unbeatable cost flexibility that benefits cash flow
  • Instantly scale services up or down
  • Adapt your service offering quickly, based on user feedback
  • Deploy user-friendly systems despite complex back-end technology
  • Improve information exchange and collaboration across the business

2. Log Analytics

Log Analysis is a business area that is becoming increasingly important as we get more and more inundated with information and data. Having the ability to make sense of the data available to us will help us provide better services, work more efficiently and stand out from competition – attributes which all promote growth.

These systems allow you to review and analyse complete suites of operational data, which helps your business identify, isolate and resolve problems.

These types of software can integrate data from a wide range of sources including logs, user data, metrics, documents, support tickets and more. There is specific web log analysis software available, such as WebLogStorming, which can provide key intelligence about when, how, and by whom a web server is visited. This gives you the option to capture immediate data on web traffic or produce reports on demand, helping the business determine how successful various web initiatives are.

Some of the main benefits of log analytics include:

  • Reduced time for root cause analysis by rapidly searching and visualising results
  • Ability to get the most out of diagnostic expertise from technology partners
  • Improved overall service availability and maintenance for infrastructure, applications and networks
  • Save time by diagnosing various types of data in one application

3. User-Driven Analysis

One recognised key to business growth is empowering teams and members of staff to own, build and monitor data analysis dashboards. By shifting data accountability further down the management chain, your business will be able to free up more time for senior team members to focus on developing and implementing growth strategies.

The idea of user-driven analytics is based on having access to simple, visual systems and apps that provide rapid discovery and analysis. By equipping your teams with these analytical tools, you can create an environment of transparency, insight and operational effectiveness. One example of such a solution is Qlik Sense, which is a system for insight discovery and data visualisation. With the help of their app, the user can easily create views that help illustrate various aspects of business data – helping the business make meaningful decisions.

Some of the main benefits of user-driven analytics include:

  • Maximise staff skills and experience by enabling them to focus on what they do best
  • Save time by re-using data models and dashboards previously created
  • Monitor sales performance and productivity
  • Monitor supply chain through inventory and availability
  • Track costs and ROI
  • Measure and report on marketing effectivity

4. Virtual Reality

The market is buzzing with excitement over the recent commercial implementations of Virtual Reality (VR) such as Google Cardboard, optimised for a whole library of new mobile VR apps.

The world of gaming and entertainment is said to be edging ever closer to traditional business, as the number of touchpoints increase, and VR is no exception. The future of business is expected to be even more engaging and immersive than previously known. This year and the next are expected to see a major breakthrough for VR technology as a content format, but – as with any emerging technology – there are pitfalls of being an early adopter. Unless your target audience also consists of early adopters, a VR initiative may not be a strategic fit as a marketing channel for your business. However, if you do see it as a viable option, there is a huge opportunity to innovate solutions at an early stage, before the concept becomes widely used, and stand out from the crowd.

Joss Davidge, Director at BEcause Brand Experience, says: “Choosing the right VR platform comes down to three simple questions: How are you planning on using it? What content will you show? And what audience are you looking to reach? Simply put, the VR viewing experience is enhanced by the amount you decide to invest. VR provides the opportunity for significant levels of interactivity, but with that of course come additional costs.”

Some of the main benefits of Virtual Reality include:

  • Enhance existing product or service to better serve customers
  • Ability to bring audience closer to your brand and improve engagement
  • Set your business aside from competitors with a unique communication channel
  • Position your business as embracing and driving technology initiatives

5. Collaboration Software

Many growing businesses are experiencing the pain of not being able to communicate internally as easily as before. Being able to gather all employees into a single conference room for a weekly update is no longer an option when you’re managing a large workforce with remote workers and external contractors.

Project management can also be a major challenge when the systems and infrastructure haven’t developed at the same rate as the team has grown. This prompts many businesses to regularly review innovations in project management software, in order to ensure they bring in the best possible solution for optimising efficiency.

Some of the most popular solutions for communications and collaboration are SamepageBloomfire and Confluence, while the top rated project management tools include LiquidPlanner and DaPulse.

Some of the main benefits of collaboration software include:

  • Improved productivity across the entire business
  • Greater employee buy-in due to improved transparency of communication
  • Ability to spot and remediate any project issues immediately
  • Reduced training costs through the use of knowledge bases
  • Reduced travel costs thanks to virtual meetings

 

If you want help to navigate your growth journey, we’re here to support you. Our skilled software consultants will guide you through the software technology options available and help find the solution suite that best suits your business today and as it grows in the future.

Contact us