The Patriots won the Super Bowl!
In my books, that’s a great start for 2015, and it goes down as a prediction come true for every faithful Pats fan.
Now as we look ahead, let’s consider predictions for technology for the year ahead. The rate of innovation is speeding up. Moore’s law is continuing to hold true and has become shorthand for the exponential rate of progress in technology.
This means great change, great opportunity, and potentially great disruption. So what are the technology trends that are likely to impact small business this year? We discuss this quite a bit as a team.
Here are a few of the technology trends we’re watching closely, and the predictions we are making for small businesses, nonprofits, and the like:
1. Security will become something no one can ignore.
The unprecedented scope of the attack and publicity around the Sony hack has increased the general awareness of how critically important security is. Small businesses have been notoriously under-focused on security and too many still think they are safe simply because they are small. Not so. We are seeing a more rapid expansion of threats and attacks than ever before, and we believe the nature of the attacks against small businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities will be such that before long, no one will be able to put on blinders when it comes to the importance of securing their technology!
2. More environments will move fully cloud.
Cloud technologies have already brought incredible innovation to small business, dramatically bringing down the price of technology power and stability. A small business can now compete technologically with its enterprise competitors. What will be different in 2015 and beyond? We’ll see a greater adoption of the cloud for all facets of IT (including workstation interfaces), not just the back-end infrastructure.
3. Mobile apps and mobile websites will become increasingly relevant.
At least 30% of website traffic is now coming from mobile devices. Even small businesses need mobile-friendly websites. Mobile apps are becoming cheaper and easier to create and will continue to become more compelling for small businesses.
4. Enterprise level software will become more accessible.
Massively powerful software systems (such as ERPs) used to be the territory of large enterprises only. Small businesses have access to increasingly powerful, increasingly economical software thanks to companies like SalesForce, NetSuite, and Microsoft. We will continue to see a shift towards larger, centralized software systems that can be tailored for individual clients.
5. Training will increase in priority.
All this power, all this innovation means nothing without a staff who can put it to good use! We expect to see the gap grow between companies who have a reactive focus on IT, versus those who systematically ensure new technologies are leveraged, planned, implemented, supported, and trained well. It’s not just the speed, stability, and effectiveness of good technology, it’s having a staff who are well trained and partner with the organization on security and efficient usage of the technology.
6. Wi-Fi expands and powers the Internet of Things.
In the not too distant future everything is going to have a sensor on it, from your clothes to door locks to lights. Commonly called the Internet of Things (IoT), incredible automation, intelligence, and control comes from layering technology into more areas of our life (there are downsides too! Discussions over privacy is going to be a growing trend also). In 2015, Internet of Things will become a term more familiar to small businesses and more commonly encountered in our daily lives. Widespread adoption is likely still years out for small businesses, but we believe the first of this wave hits this year.
And fueling this expansion will be expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, speeds, and range.
7. Microsoft will become increasingly known for innovation.
Over the last decade, Microsoft’s reputation has diminished, in light of the massive innovation that has come from Google, Apple, Amazon, and the like. However, we are seeing an exciting shift happen at Microsoft. Their business model is being reinvented – explosive growth in cloud is just one example of what Microsoft is becoming known for.
Not only has Office 365 (as an example) cemented itself as a true industry leader (and a terrific fit for small business), but we are seeing exciting signs of deep innovation and future-focus. Satya Nadella’s first year as Microsoft CEO is a success by almost any measure. And if you haven’t seen the videos yet, check out what the future might look like, with the Hololens…
We probably won’t see significant use of robotics or 3D printing in a widespread way in small businesses in 2015, but expect both to create significant change in the next few years. And speaking of next few years…
(End of blog post. We have to stop somewhere!)