Rea­sons all com­pa­nies should in­vest in tech

Tehran Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Small busi­ness own­ers and startup dream­ers know the im­por­tance of tech­nol­ogy when it comes to com­mu­ni­cat­ing with cus­tomers, po­ten­tial clients, other busi­nesses and the en­tire world. Though it may seem over­whelm­ing to in­cor­po­rate deeper tech than Face­book, In­sta­gram or LinkedIn on a small busi­ness bud­get, it is pos­si­ble. And his­tor­i­cally, it’s proven cru­cial to the growth of a busi­ness, re­gard­less of shape or size, to in­vest in new tech­nol­ogy.

As the CEO and founder of an on­line de­vel­op­ment soft­ware com­mu­nity, I’ve devel­oped these three rea­sons all com­pa­nies should ded­i­cate some of their funds to soft­ware de­vel­op­ment and other tech tools:

Tech in­vest­ments are worth the (low) over­head

First and fore­most, it is im­por­tant to note that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of tech­nol­ogy does not have to be ex­pen­sive. Star­tups of­ten balk at the thought of spring­ing bud­get money on soft­ware de­vel­op­ment or other tech; how­ever, a Forbes ar­ti­cle, pro­vides a de­tailed break­down of the real cost of tech­nol­ogy when stacked up against other reg­u­lar busi­ness ex­penses. The find­ings demon­strated that of­fice space costs on av­er­age $2 per hour, a “knowl­edge worker” costs ap­prox­i­mately $60 per hour and tech­nol­ogy such as a high-end work­sta­tion (a more ad­vanced com­puter that al­lows a busi­ness to use high-tech so­lu­tions without lag or other tech­ni­cal is­sues) or new soft­ware de­vel­op­ment with a pro costs ex­po­nen­tially less at just $0.20 per hour. Though staff and the ap­pear­ance of the busi­ness space do in­flu­ence clien­tele, it’s worth it to pay cents on the hour for the tools that will al­low for greater reach to a broader au­di­ence.

Se­condly, for tech­nol­ogy to be cre­ated that will suit small busi­nesses and star­tups, and not just their big busi­ness coun­ter­parts, star­tups have to play a part in the in­vest­ment process. If a tech group such as a soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany sees there is a mar­ket in the small busi­ness world for their of­fer­ings -- in­clud­ing soft­ware or app de­vel­op­ment, cod­ing, UX, web de­vel­op­ment and de­sign -- they will be more in­clined to cre­ate new and im­proved small busi­ness so­lu­tions.

Soft­ware de­vel­op­ment can im­prove busi­ness

Smart soft­ware has proven to take busi­nesses to the next level. It started in the ‘90s when com­pa­nies that have since as­cended to great heights were just em­bark­ing on their suc­cess jour­neys in search of al­go­rithms that would be able to take their ideas to the next level. And just like the soft­ware de­vel­op­ers who helped those en­trepreneurs launch their big ideas, soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies of to­day are look­ing for the next ad­vance in smart soft­ware and be­yond to turn a small busi­ness or startup into the next bil­lion-dol­lar project.

The im­pact of new tech­nol­ogy on busi­nesses can be gauged from the pop­u­lar­ity of cloud com­put­ing. Al­most 40% busi­nesses re­port bet­ter agility and re­spon­sive­ness af­ter they have de­ployed a cloud com­put­ing so­lu­tion, such as SaaS.

As many soft­ware de­vel­op­ers know, the faces and brains be­hind the new­est star­tups are highly ed­u­cated in­di­vid­u­als who have grown up with tech­nol­ogy since they were able to hold a tablet in their hands, and they know how to dis­cover the next great soft­ware. Mil­len­ni­als want to work for them­selves, and they want to suc­ceed. Their in­vest­ments in the tech in­dus­try, among oth­ers, have prompted an in­dus­try first: Small busi­nesses have ac­cess to de­vel­op­ment, busi­ness soft­ware, apps and other prod­ucts that are even bet­ter than the va­ri­eties used by big cor­po­ra­tions from a cou­ple of decades ago.

Tech in­vest­ments can help cre­ate bet­ter in­ter­ac­tions with cus­tomers

Con­sider the case of chat­bots. They are a hit among the younger crowd, with 60% of mil­len­ni­als hav­ing in­ter­acted with a chat­bot at least once. In fact, 70% of those mil­len­ni­als re­ported pos­i­tively on their in­ter­ac­tion. It does not come as a sur­prise, then, that the chat­bot mar­ket is ex­pected to reach $1.23 bil­lion glob­ally by 2025. With ad­vance­ments in nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing and the rise of voice as­sis­tants such as Ama­zon’s Alexa, chat­bots are able to pro­vide faster re­sponses to cus­tomer queries, thus en­abling bet­ter in­ter­ac­tions with cus­tomers.

There is also the case of so­cial me­dia en­abling bet­ter cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions. Eighty-four per­cent of small busi­nesses in the U.S. use at least one so­cial me­dia plat­form to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to cus­tomers, and 80% of small en­ter­prises use dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, such as in­stant mes­sag­ing apps, to com­mu­ni­cate with ven­dors and cus­tomers. As AI and ma­chine learn­ing tech­nol­ogy start to ma­ture, per­son­al­iza­tion in tech­nol­ogy can be ex­pected to be­come more com­mon­place as it be­comes more af­ford­able for small busi­nesses.

Busi­nesses that didn’t pay heed to the in­ter­net at the start of the 21st cen­tury had a hard time keep­ing up with the com­pe­ti­tion. The same holds true to­day when it comes to tech­nol­ogy. Whether you’re part of a startup or an es­tab­lished small busi­ness, you should al­ways be on the look­out for the next big in­no­va­tion -- not just to stay in the game but to build the next bil­lion-dol­lar busi­ness.

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