Innovation and creativity are essential for business growth in our fast-paced world. Having the right software in place can ultimately impact how effective executing those innovative ideas will be. While the constant evolution of software and SaaS options offers an incredible opportunity, the ever-shifting landscape can also be overwhelming.
If your business is evaluating opportunities for growth and innovation, keep these five burgeoning software trends in mind.
The Rise of Fintech
Financial technology— a.k.a. Fintech— is the synthesis of technological advances as applied to the financial services industry. In layman’s terms, it’s the development of software applications that make financial services more accessible and user-friendly.
While Fintech is arguably revolutionizing the financial services industry, it’s also making a mark on small businesses and startups. These innovations range from end-user access to professional credit repair software to peer-to-peer lending opportunities.
The rise of Fintech is making it easier for small business owners to process payments, centralize accounting and payroll, and better manage business (and personal) finances. Fintech applications have helped small businesses become more competitive and less limited in the pursuit of innovation and growth.
Automation and Machine Learning
While the push for automation in business has been around for years, the events of 2020 have solidified the necessity of this area for many small businesses. For industry leaders, automation is a must to free up dedicated human resources to focus on high-value tasks— for example, automating marketing content curation and scheduling to allow the marketing team to focus on new product ideation and development.
Machine learning is another burgeoning software trend for businesses to explore. During this AI-driven process, programs learn via data collection and analysis to predict user or customer behavior and make automated data-driven decisions. Using the previous example of social media scheduling, the software would evaluate high-traffic periods and adjust the posting schedule based on audience behavior.
Machine learning and automation take the repetitive tasks and guesswork out of daily business operations. As a result, small businesses and startups aren’t dedicating valuable resources to low-value tasks.
IoT and Smart Assistants
The IoT and smart assistants are also impacting small businesses across all industries. These devices— and the subsequent interconnectivity between the digital and physical world— contribute to automation and data collection. This effect leads to streamlined processes, deeper business insights, waste reduction, and cost management.
In a few short years, smart assistants have evolved from simple search tools to navigating conversations with humans without detection. As this software technology continues to evolve, startups with minimal resources will function as though they have a large team at their disposal. Whether it’s starting the coffee for the daily blue sky ideation session or sending invoices to clients, the IoT will continue to revolutionize the world of business.
Augmented Reality in Business
Whereas virtual reality takes the user into a different world, augmented reality brings an otherworldly experience to your reality. While many people associate AR with video games— we all remember the Pokemon Go phenomenon— it offers endless business applications as well.
Businesses can use AR for training and education for their internal team, enhancing skills and expertise in a semi-virtual setting. Retailers have the opportunity to create a “try before you buy” experience. IKEA offers an AR experience for customers to visualize furniture in their homes before purchasing. Eyewear purveyors at Zenni use AI to allow customers to virtually try on a pair of glasses before ordering.
In addition to functional business applications, AR offers the opportunity for captivating marketing collateral. Living Wine Labels brings brand stories to life by utilizing AR to tell a story when customers scan a bottle of wine. In other words, the AR potential is endless for business innovators.
Enhanced Demand for Cybersecurity
Cloud storage, remote work, and integrated software all culminate in the demand for enhanced cybersecurity. Small businesses are the most susceptible to a cyber attack and are the least likely to recover should a breach occur.
As businesses depend more on machine learning and the IoT, it’s essential to have the right cybersecurity software and protocols in place for continued success.
While technology will never override the need for creative, innovative teams and businesses, the software provides the foundation for growing a successful enterprise. Keep these five software trends in mind when setting your business up for longevity and success.