During the last 25 years technology has evolved from a peripheral influence to be the primary driver of every aspect of modern business. Since the advent of the internet in the early 1990s, the applications for tech in every industry and sector around the world have multiplied and accelerated at an ever-increasing pace.
Accenture Innovation lead, Rory Moore, believes tech is now the main disruptive force in business due to the inability of traditional levers of production, such as labor and capital investment, to drive expansion and economic growth. Those that fail to adapt and embrace tech will be left behind. He adds: “Technology, and specifically Artificial Intelligence, is a new factor of production and has the potential to introduce new sources of growth, changing how work is done and reinforcing the role of people to drive growth in business.”
AI, machine learning and automation are among the latest wave of tech advances that are changing business. Simple, repetitive tasks once the domain of a physical workforce are now being completed by intelligent systems 24/7 for a fraction of the cost. Integrating AI into customer services empowers enterprises to automate answers for FAQs in web chats and classify messages and tickets, which allows support agents to deal with bigger, more pressing issues. This makes a business more agile, scalable, efficient and productive.
Augmented reality promises to support an evolution in how employees access and consume critical information for core tasks. The tech superimposes computer generated images in real time via hardware such as smartphones and mobile apps. The business applications are considerable. Repair technicians will be able to pull up detailed photos and diagrams of the equipment they are working on and contractors can literally visualize architectural plans in real world settings. IKEA has already used AR in its iOS app to allow customers to see how furniture will look in their homes. That suggests AR will soon be central to marketing and customer engagement too.
While AI and AR are set to deliver a step change in the functionality of business processes, connected forms of software and tools have already moved the vast majority of business activities from laborious offline methods to the realm of digital. DocuSign has been a pioneer in the invoicing sector, where it uses electronic signature technology and a wealth of digital transaction management services to make it easier for F&A to sign documents and facilitate a wide range of exchanges online. The company’s chairman, Keith Krach, recognized how digitization could transform business by increasing mobility and speed. He then used this ethos to empower millions of users to transact anything, anywhere with any device.
Cloud computing has arguably been the most notable advance in business tech during the last decade as it has effectively levelled the playing field, allowing SMEs and start-ups to access a plethora of feature rich applications and software that was once limited to the largest of corporations. The cloud has been a key driver for enterprises moving away from traditional, on premise IT infrastructures in favor of more cost effective as-a-service systems. It means enterprises no longer have to invest in physical solutions as they can store, manage and process all of their data using cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services. Migrating to the cloud can transform every facet of business.
Big data and analytics has changed the concept and value of the mass of data enterprises collect from customers and other third parties across various platforms. Data was once a static asset which had little use beyond customer service interactions, but the rise of cloud solutions has driven a new era where every business is now mining it for critical insights that can inform key decisions. A selection of the most popular big data technologies includes predicate analytics software for mitigating risks and improving business performance, data virtualization for serving up insights in real time, and stream analytics for filtering, aggregating, enriching and analyzing multiple, disparate sources of data in quick time.
The amount of data generated across social sites and other platforms is staggering. A ‘Data Never Sleeps’ infographic published by Domo found that there are 456,000 tweets, 3.6 million Google searches and more than 100 million spam emails sent every minute. Three quarters of large enterprises are already using data and analytics according to a study by IDG, and it is very likely that those that can make the best use of the growing volume of data in the coming years will be the most successful.
Digital transformation has never been more important for modern businesses. As the cloud and other cutting-edge hardware and software continue to mature, those that fail to adapt and evolve, and integrate newer forms of tech will lose their competitive edge and find it harder to make up lost ground in the future.
TYT Newsroom with information from EditorialPR
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