In the last year, we have seen many technological trends and improvements such as new smartphones, tablets, gadgets, operating systems, etc. However, what goes unnoticed most often are the improvements and upgrades for business IT solutions. Executives of small and medium-size enterprises are constantly faced with challenges and pressures to reach business objectives. Many times, without realizing it, the only thing holding them back from attaining these goals is their out-dated software systems or reluctance to invest in the latest business trends that will help their business grow all around. As an IT consultant, I have witnessed this amongst many enterprises and I’d like to share with you the top trends that can have a big impact on a business’ success.
Fully Integrated ERP Software Solution
As I have mentioned, it’s time to let go of the old and bring in the new when it comes to your business management software system. Out-dated solutions can slow companies down, prevent employees from working efficiently, cause many errors and headaches and in the end, prevent any growth in the company. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are designed to streamline and automate every aspect of a business. This means that your Accounting, Warehouse, Sales, Manufacturing, Production and Purchasing departments can be using one software platform, one database. Not only will investing in a fully integrated software solution improve efficiency, but it will also provide higher quality, real-time data, decrease the decision-making process time and in turn, increase ROI. On top of it all, software investment is now affordable for SMEs, thanks to SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings.
Electronic Commerce has of course been around for some time now. However, it’s unfortunate how most small to mid-size businesses have not taken advantage of this online tool. According to Statistics Canada, only a very low percentage of Canadian businesses have an eCommerce site. On the other hand, many Canadian consumers are shopping more than ever on the web. Shoppers are now expecting their favourite stores to be accessible 24/7 online, making their buying experience easier and more accessible. Therefore, this trend is here to stay, as consumers prefer to browse product catalogues, make purchasing decisions and buy products and services through an eCommerce store. Businesses cannot ignore this opportunity any longer.
Enterprise Mobility & Mobile Commerce
Mobile, mobile, mobile. The mobile market has exploded with tons of new business opportunities to reach more consumers, who are constantly connected to their mobile device. Smartphone and tablet sales in 2013 reached 1.8B, which should make SME executives giddy with excitement. Two new developments can come from this increase in sales: Mobile Commerce and Enterprise Mobility.
By 2017, it is predicted that 25% of eCommerce sales will be done from mobile devices (eMarketer, 2013). In other words, consumers are shopping from their smartphones or tablets rather than their desktops. However, businesses need to start creating a mobile commerce presence by creating a mobile-friendly eCommerce store. Allowing your online store to be accessible from mobile devices will attract mobile consumers, which in turn can generate more revenue.
The other growing opportunity of 2014 is Enterprise Mobility. This trend enables employees to use their mobile devices for business purposes. The ability to conduct and run a business while on the go, anywhere and at any time has the ability to enhance employee productivity and accessibility. Other advantages that come with expanding your business management software system onto a mobile application include eliminating paper and pen data inputting methods, in turn allowing data to be more accurate, as well as increasing the speed of information shared by employees. Therefore, mobilizing important business applications to adjust to the growing mobile workforce will definitely have positive outcomes.
Keeping up with new IT trends and solutions can be very beneficial to any small and mid-size enterprise. Think of how efficient a business would be with an eCommerce and mobile commerce store integrated within an ERP software system that is also accessible via mobile devices. The trends I have listed above seem to be here to stay – so what are you waiting for?
Content Courtesy: http://it.toolbox.com/