INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGIES, INC’S NEWS & TIPS BLOG
SMB Technology Predictions for 2019
Laura Schomaker, Marketing Associate
January 10, 2019
This time of the year, it seems experts in every field are sharing their predictions for what the new year will bring. The technology field is no exception. So, we thought it would be fun to research some major technology predictions for 2019, especially those affecting small and medium-size businesses and share a few of our favorites. We hope you enjoy our list of technology predictions for 2019. If we’ve forgotten your favorite, leave it for us in the comments below.
Technology predictions for 2019 #1: small and medium-size businesses will continue to look for new ways to use the cloud
This one probably comes as no surprise. The cloud has been increasing in popularity for close to a decade now. And, research shows, this trend is likely to continue. According to a recent study by the SMB Group, the areas where small and medium-size businesses are using the cloud the most are
- Business intelligence and analytics (37%)
- Marketing automation (36%)
- Sales and contact management (31%)
Perhaps surprisingly, accounting and finance lags with 62% of those surveyed still using on premise software in these departments. There could be many reasons this is the case. Chief among these are likely concerns about data security and compliance. But, as cloud vendors continue making strides in these areas and building trust with their customers, the market for cloud accounting and financial software will explode.
Technology predictions for 2019 #2: AI will become more prevalent, specifically in the areas of analytics, customer service, and improving manufacturing efficiency
According to the SMB Group’s 2019 top 10 SMB technology trends, 51% of SMB’s surveyed believe AI and machine learning will be important or very important to their future success.
Though the market for AI will still be far from mature, 2019 promises to be an exciting year for the industry. With more and more cloud providers adding AI features to their service offerings, SMB’s can easily explore how best to use this technology. One of the most common ways I believe we will see AI grow in the SMB space is with chat bots, virtual agents, etc.
In today’s digital economy, it has become clear many customers want self-service options for resolving issues. AI is a natural fit for this. It makes the process of finding the information customers need that much easier and more pleasant. Once upon a time, customers had to search endlessly through a knowledge base with hundreds of pages of articles to find the answer they needed. But now, AI can suggest the most relevant articles, making the task much quicker and easier.
Not only can AI help customers help themselves, it also allows businesses to speed decision making. For example, many CRM and ERP systems offer dashboards that give users a quick way to see key stats that are most important to their role. And, when you add AI to these dashboards, they become much more powerful. They can make smart recommendations based on current data or sometimes, even act for you. Right now, one place this is often seen is the manufacturing industry. Many manufacturing ERPs offer features where if an item’s inventory level dips below a certain level, the system will reorder it for you.
As helpful as these features are, they only scratch the surface of what AI is capable of. As it continues to grow and mature over the next several years, we will see AI‘s capabilities expand exponentially.
Technology predictions for 2019 #3: IoT becomes more widespread
As with AI, in the last couple years, SMB’s have dipped their toes into the IoT water to see what this technology really is and how it can help them. According to the SMB Group’s 2019 top 10 SMB technology trends, 36% of SMB’s currently use or plan to use IoT solutions. As they mature, IoT solutions will find new use cases in the business world. However, some ways businesses of all sizes are currently using IoT technology is to:
- Make their facilities more water or energy efficient, thus saving them money.
- Increase security.
- Create entirely new lines of business or services for their customers.
Similar to AI, if software and hardware providers begin to bake IoT into their service offerings, SMBs will be able to more easily take advantage of the benefits this technology has to offer.
Technology predictions for 2019 #4: agility and willingness to adopt new technology will give SMB is a strong competitive advantage over slower moving enterprises
Would it surprise you to know companies which have been in business for less than 10 years are over two times more likely to be planning to increase their technology spending? What if I told you businesses which have been around for less than 10 years are almost 1 ½ times as likely as their older counterparts to forecast revenue growth?
We were a bit surprised when we first read these statistics from the SMB Group‘s 2019 top 10 SMB technology trends report. However, the more we thought about it the more sense they made. Smaller organizations are generally more agile than their larger counterparts. This means they can make decisions and change operations more quickly because they have less red tape deal with. Because business in the digital economy moves faster than ever before, this can mean a huge advantage for smaller businesses. Also, thanks to technology advances like the cloud and SaaS solutions, small businesses are most times able to offer their customers an experience that‘s just as good or better than their larger competitors.
No matter whether our technology predictions for 2019 turn out to be right or wrong, one thing seems clear. Technology will continue to be key in leveling the playing field between businesses of all sizes.
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