Among the many small business trends worth watching, the adoption of cloud ERP is one that we’ve been monitoring for a long time. Cloud ERP and cloud-based applications, in general, provide new and better ways to access and maintain company data. The cloud connects every part of your company through one seamless, internet-based interface you can access anywhere, anytime.
Cloud ERP adoption is only one part of the story. The business trends for this year and beyond encompass many of the macro changes we’re seeing across all industries. Here are the business trends that will impact your company soon.
Mobile Is Mandatory
Mobile technology used to be optional. Now, it is mandatory. Cloud ERP satisfies the need for companies to “go mobile” by providing access to their accounting, financial, operational, warehouse, and inventory data through streamlined interfaces accessible from any mobile device.
Almost 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind and 77% own smartphones, according to Pew Research. With so many people already connected wherever they go, it makes sense that businesses expect to be connected to their data, too. And customers expect websites to be accessible and easily navigable from their smartphones.
Cloud Technology Dominates
At some point in the not-so-distant future, businesses may regard site-based technology the way they once regarded the manual typewriter; a relic of ages past.
Today’s business systems are heavily dominated by cloud technology, with more companies pushing for all-cloud or hybrid-cloud access. It makes perfect sense and dovetails nicely with the push for mobile connectedness.
Acumatica Cloud ERP offers all that businesses demand in a cloud-based enterprise resource planning system. Personalized dashboards, access from anywhere, and customizable suites of business applications are just some of the many features that make cloud technology like Acumatica ERP so appealing to small and mid-sized businesses.
The IoT Will Become More Commonplace
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already become commonplace in many industries. Manufacturers use IoT devices to track raw materials, monitor equipment, and more. Data collection software and hardware, along with tools for analytics, can help small businesses enter the world of IoT without costly investments. Soon, the IoT will take its place among necessary technologies for many businesses.
AI in Everything
AI, or artificial intelligence, is also making inroads in many areas of business. Have you asked questions on a company’s website about their products or services? Chances are good you were chatting with an AI programmed to answer, respond, and learn from previous conversations.
The latest blend of AI is AI and CRM systems. CRM, or customer relationship management, has become increasingly complex as customers now have their choice of multiple systems for communications. Phone calls, emails, chat bots, social media channels, and more are all ways in which customers can choose to communicate with a company.
CRM systems equipped with AI can automatically discover information and relay it to the customer without human intervention. This is an incredible time-saver for busy customer service desks and a great use of AI.
AI may also be used to help personalize the CRM experience for customers. Since AI can use machine learning to improve with time, the AI programs can include remembering customer preferences each time they interact with the same customer. The result? A personalized AI experience through CRM, which may be expanded to personalized shopping, concierge service through web portals, and more.
Cyber Crime Prevention
Cyber crimes and related thefts are big news these days, and rightly so. They impact about 43% of all small businesses. And, given that 60% of all small businesses impacted by cyber crimes go out of business within 6 months of an attack, preventing them should be first in every business owner’s mind. Yet, only 14% rate their ability to fend off or handle an attack as “highly effective.”
If you’re serious about your business, you’ll take steps now to prevent cyber crime. The most common attack is one in which hackers or attackers seek customer data. They look for customer information, social security or employer identification numbers, and other information that can be sold at a profit to other criminals.
Confidential information, business records, and even patents can be at risk of an attack. Prevention is the key to safeguarding your business’ valuable electronic assets.
Cloud-based applications offer greater protection against cyber threats than site-based ones. Acumatica Cloud ERP offers enhanced protection against attacks. Cloud providers put more resources behind security than most individual companies can; they are safeguarding many companies’ data and add additional layers of protection for their customers.
For more tips, Acumatica also has a good article on the topic of cyber crime and fraud protection.
Trends Come and Go, But Good ERP Remains the Same
Business trends come and go, but these trends are likely to remain in place for many years to come. Solid cloud software, like Acumatica Cloud ERP, will remain a vital part of the small business scene for many years to come.
Emerald TC can help you prioritize your next technology purchase. We offer Acumatica Cloud ERP, Sage 100 and Sage products, and others from selected partners.
Please contact us now for a consultation—we are happy to help. We specialize in helping mid-market, multi-location companies increase efficiency, productivity, and profits. Contact us or call 678-456-6919 today.