Technology Trends Small Businesses Should Watch Out for in 2010
This year as the economy slowly enters the recovery phase, small businesses are continuing the search for improvement and they are turning towards new technology trends that are emerging as tools for helping businesses achieve higher efficiency and better costs control. For most small business owners it is difficult to stay on top of ever-changing business technology trends, but there are a select number of them that offer great benefits to small businesses.
Cloud computing in the past year was still a new and not so widely excepted way to consume and deliver services; but it is expected to enter the “mainstream” this year. Whats so great about cloud computing is that it enables users with little technical skills to execute very complex computing tasks without having to understand the technology behind them. Cloud computing has large potential to bring innovation to business by delivering easy-to-use computing services to users on demand, regardless of their location or the type of device they are using.
The main benefit of cloud computing are reduced costs. These online services do not require purchasing costly upgrades or paying high startup fees which is the case with traditional desktop software they replace. As in the first six months of 2010 Microsoft is planning to launch Microsoft Office 2010 together with “Office Web Apps”, a free online version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, cloud computing will make a huge step forward.
In 2009, companies of all size realized the business benefits of social networking. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social media sites opened new space for the small business owners to target specific customer groups, make announcements, advertise, etc. Social media sites flourished but it was very hard for small business owners to measure the results of their social media efforts. Good news is that now there are companies offering programs that allow business owners to track who is viewing their page, what they are looking at, what they are sharing with their friends, etc. Therefore, business owners will be able to leverage social media more effectively, as this trend will definitely enter even more widespread use this year.
Last year, a major trend of “going local” emerged with the development of sophisticated location based applications. Using location-based mobile apps, businesses can do some innovative things such as rewarding those who check in to their establishments frequently. These applications are tools that incorporate both social networking and mobile location based advertising. This year will point out the importance of location data, and savvy small business owners will know how to use it to their advantage.
The use of smart phones and tablets is increasing which means that more and more of your customers will be communicating with you via these devices. Mobile marketing is becoming very attractive to small businesses that are looking to reach customers who search for products and services through mobile search. Preparing your business for this type of customers includes making your email marketing messages mobile friendly, building an opt-in mobile text messaging list, and also create a separate mobile-optimized website.