Here’s What You Need to Know New year. New beginnings. That’s exciting. However, there are new ways to fall behind the curve if you don’t position your business to keep up with the ever-changing advances in technology. Even though we’re mere days into the big ‘22, being able to clearly articulate a strategy to get the most out of your business is imperative to success this year and beyond. Let’s cover a few things that technology has to offer–from the heavens to our terra forma–to see what can be done to maximize your organization’s workflow, profits, and culture. No Problem Here, Houston Many of us have lost that child-like wonder when we used to look up and daydream about the furthest reaches of space found lingering throughout all of those stars. But there is a lot happening up there. The James Webb telescope that launched at the end of last year is the biggest and most complex telescope ever created. This science observatory has the potential of revealing the most significant scientific discoveries as it travels millions of miles from Earth to explore every phase of cosmic history. If you keep looking up (and there’s not too much light pollution) you will probably see a satellite or two. Be patient. There are approximately 7,500 of them up there orbiting our planet. So what? Those satellites matter because they will continue to provide faster online capabilities and a range of other services through their megaconstellations. If you think business is moving fast now, it’s about to get a lot faster. Even though our 5G networks are in their infancy, tech industries big and small have their eye on the development of 6G. According to a report published by Cisco, 66% of the global population will use high-speed internet by the end of this year with each person connected to 3.6 devices. Mobile is the future. This might not be an action point for you right now, but your general awareness of high-speed trends is vital. As businesses continue to adapt their mobile model to support customer needs, employers will need to include options for remote and hybrid employees making overall internet speeds and reliability carry a greater burden to workflow and systems. Technology changes business. Usually for the better. Really, when was the last time you signed an actual carbon copy or even sent a fax. So 1900s. Getting Down to Earth The pandemic brought along a lot of grief throughout the global community as lives were upended. However, it also provided opportunities for businesses to rethink what their true goals should be structurally, financially, and culturally. Most came to the conclusion that technology needed to be at the forefront of their strategic plans moving forward and not pinned to a small-minded attitude. Like the vast expanse of space, tech in business has reached an almost “Golden Age” status that includes a mantra centered on anything being possible. The Structural Intelligence Having a well-defined digital platform for your business is a must. Platforms exist at many levels and provide the capabilities that serve other products or services throughout your ecosystem using APIs. On the high-end level in manufacturing, human-centric AI creates a symbiotic relationship between the human user and a physical robot counterpart. Together they reinforce the steps required to achieve a specific task – each making the other better – through reliable and scalable processes. On the other end of the spectrum, that “robot,” or AI Chatbot, pops up in the bottom right corner of a customer’s device to offer advice, answer questions, or escalate an issue to a human operator. This form of AI-driven tech helps businesses realize new levels of customer engagement throughout their omni-channel platform. Using AI will optimize any gaps created by the labor shortage because you can put a person in a high-skill position somewhere else in your organization and leave the AI to interface with customers through self-serve kiosks, autonomous ordering systems, and dynamic customer service The point is not to use automation to replace human positions. In fact, AI will help employees do a better job because they will have immediate actionable information at their fingertips to review pricing considerations, anomaly detection, system recommendations, and supply chain management decisions. These necessary incremental changes can happen in the moment to avoid long-term negative exposure and ensure a consistent healthy business outlook throughout the year. It Makes Cents Redefine productivity. That’s what happened in 2021. Every business that worked to recover coming out of ‘20 had to take a long, hard look at how they did business and consider if they could continue to do it in that manner within a world that changed so dramatically. For many, the return-on-investment needle moved way out of place and scratched a few grooves on the record pretty hard. Below are a few things to consider incorporating into your best practices to insulate your ROI. The use of AI algorithms to explore all possible scenarios is an appropriate investment in human-centric technology, but it doesn’t stand alone. Great strides have been taken in the last few years to truly optimize business technology. Digital, cloud, and inventory management technologies have moved forward at an accelerated pace. No longer are people or departments siloed by desks and data. Everyone and everything is easily accessible. Slack, Zoom, Teams, Twitter, the Google or Microsoft suites are a few platforms that have shown business leaders a new way for employees to interact with each other and clients. Success in the coming years will be leveraged by the adoption rates and implementation of these digital tools. Don’t lose out on any potential profits because of a weak digital presence. Since 2016, Google has prioritized mobile versions of websites for results when people use that search engine. Two years later they incorporated mobile page load speed as a key metric when determining a website’s search result. So how’s your website’s mobile SEO when it comes to Google’s best practices? Without a mobile-friendly website, it’s plausible to consider not being ranked in Google searches (you can ask Jeeves about it). It’s important because 90% of internet users are surfing the web on their phone. Gone are the days of reworking a few words in your headers and body copy to help capture a larger slice of those search results. You have to reevaluate your site, and possibly, create a mobile-friendly alternative to secure a decent spot in the rankings. Here are a few quick fixes to get you started: tag every image with searchable keywords, geotag any products to pick up the local market share, and add body copy to your sites that complements the actual search question a customer will ask. With the advent of Alexa and similar voice-initiated services, people will continue to “ask” the question in a simpler method and forgo picking up their phones all together. Alexa, are you ready for the future? Character Counts People go to work in different ways now. How well can you support that option to put employees in the most optimal position? Do you have the basics setup for those who will be more productive at home or in a hybrid setting? What about those multi-generational employees who came up through the ranks with a different set of values and skill sets. The “Great Resignation” is real and it doesn’t look to slow down in 2022. What are you doing to affirm your employees’ decision to stay with you? Your corporate culture matters more than ever. Employees want to know that your emotional intelligence is as high as your sales acumen. Being transparent about the value of a strong work/life balance is critical. Adopting a strong human-first workplace shows employees that you care about the person as much or more than their productivity. Make sure your team leads and managers are trained to pay attention to the emotional needs of employees and lead with these values every day. These efforts will ensure retention at every level of your staff and give you a leg up on your recruiting. Millions of Americans left their employers for numerous reasons in the final months of last year. Many of them are talented individuals who are hard working and future focused. They will reenter the workforce with their sights set on companies that have designed a deliberate culture that aligns with their values, purpose, and culture. Give your employees the right technological tools that fully equip them to engage with their work and others virtually. You might be surprised with how well connected they can be while working from a distance. Eyes on the Prize Technology-fueled growth is the key to long-term viability. Approach this year as an opportunity to leverage technology to create new-found sustainability for your enterprise. Avoid the common trappings of that “old business” mindset and catapult your business to new heights. Be clear about your goals and how you will achieve them. If you keep your focus on the people, the profit will be there. Your employees, stakeholders, and customers will happily go on the ride with you. If you recognize a weak spot or shortcoming in your current tech platform, let us know. We can help you optimize your web presence to be more mobile friendly, implement new systems to track team vaccine status or contact tracing for those getting ready to return to work, automate the difficult systems to help your enterprise run more efficiently, or create a tech environment for you that is easily scalable with options that fit your business model and budget. If the last few years taught us anything, expect 2022 to be uncharted territory. Make sure you have all of the right tools in place to help you navigate it. Let Us Help Technology Consulting is the Software Development-as-a-Service division of Bitwise Industries that specializes in custom software development, managed services, staff augmentation, and Salesforce implementation. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help entities of all sizes navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their operations. If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to find more ways to increase your ROI with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts. This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. When he’s not writing, he’s wondering how your new year is going so far and hopes it will be more of an amazing 2022 and not a 2020, too. Did you love this blog? Subscribe here for new Bitwise blog notifications. Please fill out the required fields above!