The Business of the Future, Today
A lot of people like to venture predictions about what the future will bring for business, and many of those predictions are based on anecdotes and hopes. When it comes to information system management and the future of IT for business, there are a lot of claims made by companies looking to take advantage of the reliance on IT and present business owners’ and decision makers’ options on how to leverage this technology for their own good. Today, we thought we would take a look at three emerging technologies that we will all come to use in the future and whether they are right for your business now.
Of all the technologies that have future applications, artificial intelligence (AI) is the one that is being sold to people as a game-changer for their business. AI is an interesting tool, but it is also effectively in its infancy. A lot of companies have started to utilize some type of machine learning technology to offer products to organizations looking to do more with less. The promise is that by having smarter computing systems that can continue to learn, a business can focus its investments away from operations and support and onto revenue building. This sounds fantastic, of course, but many IT professionals would caution businesses not to jump into AI implementation with both feet just yet.
Obviously, AI is here to stay. It is going to be a big part of the next phase of human life, in fact. What’s tricky for business owners, however, is how to bring AI into the fold and get a solid ROI out of that investment. This is where reality and fantasy converge. On social media (and basically everywhere) you will see AI-fueled applications transforming businesses that have struggled with inefficiency for a time. Unfortunately, in practice these companies that are utilizing a lot of AI or machine learning in their day-to-day aren’t seeing the types of returns that smaller businesses need to see to make investment viable. AI needs people to configure it to drive business value and that cost is steep. Additionally, with AI systems, there come questions about infrastructure and governance that simply are too costly for some businesses to seriously consider.
AI is a solid technology with immense growth potential, but unless you have the investment capital or resources to effectively run it, try to see where your company fits first before making a decision on AI. A couple of AI applications that are useful for the modern small business include ChatBot software to amp up support strategies and cybersecurity tools to help ward off the ever-evolving threats that are out there.
Internet of Things
Smart devices and other Internet of Things (IoT) strategies are some of the technologies that are most attractive to smaller businesses because they can be implemented piecemeal and can improve efficiency and reduce costs for palatable investments. The IoT holds some of the best solutions for businesses in every market. From RFID scanners to smart locks to automatic coffee machines, businesses can implement IoT devices for a myriad of purposes. Additionally, IoT devices allow businesses to collect a lot of data that will help the business be even more efficient and productive.
As the IoT expands (upward of 50 billion connected devices expected by 2025), there will be more regulations dictating how these devices will have to be used. This is a good thing and exposes the IoT’s biggest shortcoming as of this writing. These devices aren’t inherently secure enough and not enough is known about how they share data to be completely on board with implementing them for a business unless you build the solution from the ground up. This, of course, is going to be costly. Fortunately, there are more IT providers, like ours at Directive, that are helping small businesses with time and money-saving IoT deployments.
You may be thinking, “Cloud computing? Really?” and frankly, we get it. All anyone has heard about for the past several years is how the cloud can help your business save money and get the computing you need when you need it. This is true, to a point. The cloud makes it possible to get any type of computing your company could need without having to invest tens of thousands of dollars on infrastructure. It can also help you save money in that purchasing application licenses and supporting your own computing infrastructure is much more expensive than paying per month for a managed and maintained cloud platform.
This is why it is still a technology of the future. The more that is possible through cloud computing the more that is going to be possible for businesses, period. The issue, ironically enough, is cost. For platforms that suggest you are saving a lot of money, they may actually cost your organization more in the long haul, especially if you don’t actively monitor all the cloud-based resources that your company uses. It’s prudent to assess your cloud usage quarterly to ensure that you aren’t wasting money on unused and dormant cloud resources.
The IT professionals at Directive can help you integrate technology that doesn’t just look good, it works to improve your business and keep your data and infrastructure secure. Give us a call today at 607.433.2200 to learn more.