Revised article originally published on NetSuite’s blog by Paul Farrel, Vice President of Product Marketing.
With advancements in technologies such as customer relationship management systems (CRM), enterprise resource planners (ERP) and business intelligence (BI), 2018 will require IT and business professionals alike to make more calculated decisions on their technologies. Over the next year global pressure is set to increase, and technology is having much more influence on how a business handles growth, develops and moves forward.
So, with this in mind, here are 6 trends in technology that businesses should account for;
CRM takes a back seat to CX
IT and business decision makers are starting to take a more holistic approach to the customer, especially when looking to expand/implement a CRM. The thought not only needs to be about current demand but also future goals, omnichannel experiences and being able to serve a customer no matter how they’re trying to engage. Business are starting to see the value of a true 360-degree view of their customers and the opportunity this presents for improving the customer experience (CX). Decision makers need to look for a solution that manages all aspects of customers experience and across all channels such as sales, in-store, online or by phone.
AI/ML will become a must in every IT strategy
With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) developing at an exponential rate, one day these will be common practise within the arsenal of technology businesses have at their disposal. Because of these rapid developments companies of all sizes need to take into consideration 1. one day they will use this technology and 2. account for it to be used with their current technologies. This could be in the form of a 2-year plan, 5-year plan or however long a business maps out projections, it needs to factor in machine learning and artificial intelligence by ensuring its core systems are customisable and able to accommodate these developments.
With these new technologies become more available it highlights the importance of having a cloud-based system which can accommodate these changes on a mass scale with room to grow. Not only do business systems need to be accommodating but it will also need to be customisable, these AI based learning mechanics could need to change workflows, streamline processes and make core modifications. Business that wait to address these advancements could find themselves further behind when factoring in the implementation of a new foundational platform whilst other reap the rewards of these new technologies.
New insights must be proactive and intelligent
One of the biggest issues companies face is not gaining new data but how they utilise their current data. A lot of businesses play host to large amounts of data and with technologies advancing, more data is becoming available to us. Having more data available should be a good thing but most companies only use 1/3 of the data they have access to and even worse, a lot of business claim they don’t know how to manage said data for influential decisions or improving the customers experience. It’s because of this lack of understanding why it’s important for key decision makers to find technology which can not only make data more insightful but easier to digest and use.
Systems which aren’t integratable are already miles behind. Data and insights need to come from the core system, working coherently to give the user a snapshot of what’s needed with actionable requests. Cloud based platforms can manage all of this and allow for multiple systems to converge, delivering a true representation of a business.
Everything must be global
With advancements in technologies and businesses, becoming global has never been easier. With cloud technology you’re no longer restricted the confides of an office hosting all your business systems. The ability to work from anywhere or on any device is more accessible than ever and it’s because of this that running a global business has become easier. You can take advantage of resources abroad whilst providing tools to employees that optimise their everyday working procedures. Multi-lingual currencies and purchases are automatically managed with NetSuite reducing the workload required to manage a global business.
There are plenty of other challenges faced when trying to operate globally and more than just the company’s growth. One of the “hot topics” at the moment GDPR compliance has different regulations in different countries making it near impossible to manage unless you have the right core system to translate and abide by multilingual rules and regulations. According to McKinsey, some businesses are spending up to $50 million to update customer databases to be GDPR compliant.
New technology needs to be consumed in weeks, not years
Modern businesses need to move on from old habits. It’s common for businesses to take years adapting to new systems (Some companies are still running on unsupported business systems) or training staff to use new technology effectively. These sorts of things should be taking weeks, not years. If it takes too long to react to new technological advancements you’re already doomed to fail. This means decisions makers need to ensure their business systems are customisable, diverse and scalable to integrate any future technologies without falling behind.
Every solution should be a cloud solution
With technology like artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT becoming more accessible, it’s important to incorporate them into current and future planned decisions. This simply isn’t possible with an on-premise solution as it isn’t diverse enough to counter balance the expected requirements to integrate these technologies. Not only that but these technologies are being developed within the cloud, allowing for patches, updates and new features to distribute to all of those using their technology.
Other than the limitations on-premise imposes on these systems, the underlining issue is scalability. These technologies can be very demanding and require 24-hour monitoring, 365 days a year without fail. To ensure nothing restricts the development of these technologies there needs to be a platform which can scale and grow to the needs of these technologies and only the cloud can offer that whilst also being cost effective and usable on a global scale.
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