IT innovation: Which new technologies deserve your attention — and your money?

The shape of information technology is very different from what it was in the 1990s. The idea of business has existed for centuries. However, the last 25 years have absolutely transformed the “ways” of doing business, many times over. The reason — the breakneck speed of IT innovation. Trends in global IT spends indicate that there’s no stopping the wave. Businesses, irrespective of the industries they represent, need the latest technology to compete and grow. So, be prepared to face testing choices, in terms of choosing a few out of several lucrative business applications. Here’s a guide to help you make the right choices and harness IT innovation for your company.

Integration

CTOs and CIOs are different from technical solution architects in their ability to build ecosystems of synergetic technologies. The one word they look for is — integration. The ease of integration for a technology or business application can tilt the balance in its favor, even when compared to a more inexpensive product.

Software upgrades are necessary not only because of the feature-expansion they bring in to the software but also because they make the software better integrated with other software. Also, any technology that helps different apps talk, deserves your attention. Integration helps massively expand the potential of existing applications and helps the entire business reap their rewards.

Automation

IT innovation

It’s the buzzword in information technology and business. This is the era where the value placed on human time is supreme. Enterprises want people to perform the most value-adding tasks relevant to their roles. Repetitive tasks are best performed by software and robots. Manual tasks that drain the human mind are best performed via algorithms. The confluence of several technologies has helped make deep and far-reaching automation possible for businesses. When repetitive, low value and manual tasks are automated, human time is freed up for value-adding work, which brings in transformational improvements at every level in an organization’s operational hierarchy.

Cloud

The ideal time to start embracing services based on the cloud computing model has passed! Don’t delay it anymore. The cloud model has leveled the playing field for everyone. Expensive technology is now accessible for everyone. Small businesses don’t need to budget for capital expenses related to purchasing servers, setting up server rooms, maintenance, and upgrades. Instead, they can opt for monthly subscription plans and pay only for the computing resources they require. Under the cloud computing model, businesses can seek any business application, right from a basic accounting or inventory management system to a full-fledged ERP.

Security

IT innovation

Cybersecurity breaches have wreaked havoc among organizations worldwide in the past couple of years. The result — cybersecurity has become the key focus of the technology strategy of most companies. Thankfully, as cybercriminals have turned the heat on, security researchers have responded in kind. Organizations now have access to advanced cybersecurity technology — right from anti-ransomware tools to full-fledged antivirus and anti-malware suites. Also, businesses would do well to invest in applications that use machine learning to detect potential cybersecurity violation attempts.

Task over technology, and process over platform

Because there’s so much going around in the technology universe, businesspeople often feel puzzled. New tools are launched every week, they see competitors blogging about how tool X is a great disruptor, and feel the pressure to join the party.

Look beyond the tool and think deeply about the task you’re looking to perform/improve by using it. Then look beyond the platform and think deeply about the business processes it can positively impact. Your technology choices must be made thinking about task and process, and not the technology itself. Once you do this, you’ll naturally start looking for tools that provide 360 degrees visibility, generate reports to showcase improvements in process KPIs and offer reliable mechanisms to measure ROI.

Video

Marketing is a key business function across industries. In the past year, video content’s relevance as a content medium has skyrocketed. Cisco estimates that by the end of 2020, 80 percent of global web traffic will be driven by video content.

In the wake of video’s unabated penetration, organizations have to adopt the format for managing communications with partners, employees, and customers. Video can deliver a lot of information in a highly contextual manner, and do it in an easy-to-consume manner. This makes video ideal for marketing, as well as dissemination of information for training.

Video production is not as expensive as it used to be. Video-editing software licenses can be purchased for reasonable prices. The best option is to subscribe to SaaS-based video production and editing software. With ready-made templates, community-generated content, quick and automatic effects and improvements, video production software can quickly speed track and upgrade your business’ marketing efforts.

Data science

IT innovation

Data has been touted as “the new oil.” Well, if that’s true, data science represented a set of every possible tool you need to dig and extract oil.

Data science skills are tough to acquire. Data science technology can make it easier for you to pitch your organization as one that’s truly committed to data science. This is one IT innovation that is still in its infancy.

Centralized communication apps

Email was once the hot IT innovation, but that was decades ago. Today, overdependence on email communication is one of the biggest roadblocks for business. Even if you use a more sophisticated communication application, the problem persists if it’s not centralized. On the other hand, with centralized apps, such as a CRM solution, a project management suite, or a communicator, organizations can improve the effectiveness of communication manifolds.

When collective information is available just a few clicks away, your people will be able to perform their jobs well. Look for tools that help bring together information in different formats (email, chat, documents, images, videos), provide an easy and effective meta-tagging system to organize information, and enable role-based access control.

IT innovation: Spend your dollars wisely

Tools will come and go. Platforms will move in and out of love with businesses. When you brainstorm to decide into which hot new IT innovation you want to put your technology dollars, revisit this guide. The technologies that align well with the principles and guidelines shared above will deliver concrete and measurable business benefits.

Featured image: Pixabay

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