Technology is changing much of the world we know. From medicine to industry to military, technological applications are taking over. Barring any earth-shattering events, technology seems like it is here to stay. It is humankind’s effort to make the world function with efficiency.
One of the areas most affected is business. Technology has almost completely transformed the business landscape of today. Small businesses particularly are taking advantage of technological innovation at affordable prices.
This article explores modern technological innovations changing the landscape of small business operations management.
5 Technological Innovations Changing Small Business Management
Small businesses form the backbone of the American economy. Entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream. The ability to achieve success from rags is appealing. Using nothing but your wits, determination, and hard work to do so is an almost romantic concept.
Luckily, technology is making life easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is helping them to realize their version of the American Dream. The slide towards innovation began early, ever since the internet became available to the public in the early nineties.
Over the years, technological innovations have come and gone. But, some of them have stuck around. These 5 technological innovations are helping small businesses achieve success:
- Management Reporting Systems
- Virtual Reality
- Virtual Assistants
- 3D Printers
- Remote Collaboration
Let’s discuss these innovations in more detail below.
Management Reporting Systems
Management reporting systems have been around since the early days of the computer. But the versions we have today are much more advanced than their predecessors. Management systems make it easier for managers to assign work to their subordinates. They also make it easier to manage work queues and reports and make business decisions.
Many management systems are all-in-one solutions for smaller businesses. Others are scalable to your needs as your business grows in size and operations. Management reporting systems also reduce the amount of paperwork your business generates. All your business data and information is within easy reach.
What comes to mind when you hear the word Virtual Reality? A VR gaming headset? A VR cinematic experience? Both are very good examples of VR in commercial use.
But VR also has many applications in businesses, especially small businesses. Over the years, technology has become more accessible and affordable. Design or engineering business functions stand to benefit the most. Why? VR eliminates the need for complex physical models. Instead, your designers and engineers create virtual models. 3D walkthroughs and models tend to appeal more to many customers. They are also easier and cheaper to create in VR than in the physical world.
Virtual voice assistants are very common these days. Some of the most popular ones are Bixby, Siri, and Google Assistant. There are also smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa in many homes across the country.
But did you know voice assistants have a place in many small businesses as well? Investing in a voice assistant can be a good move considering today’s business world. Voice assistants can make calculations, set up appointments, and even place orders. For a small business owner, there is no end to work in sight. So, a voice assistant can help share some of the load by taking on mundane, simple tasks.
3D printers have been around long enough for some of the novelty to wear off. But they are still one of the most important inventions of our time.
They are also much more accessible to businesses now than they were a few years ago. Some innovative 3D printers can be a solid investment for small businesses. Many printers generate gorgeous 3D prints using plastics or inks. Others print in 3D using other materials like metals.
With the 3D printer, you can print almost anything if you have the right plans and materials. Small businesses can use them to print anything from souvenirs to repair parts to tools.
In the Digital Age, physical distances are almost nonexistent. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Businesses have access to international markets. This is possible through the power of the internet and logistics companies.
Businesses also have access to human resources and talents outside their country. They can expand the areas they operate in. Thanks to remote collaboration software you can manage your global team with efficiency. Most of the time you can do it with much more efficiency than you could manage the old-fashioned way.
Cloud-based remote collaboration software is the way to go for diverse teams. They reduce the need for expenses like equipment as well as travel costs. They also make it easier for businesses to operate beyond their physical limitations.
Remote software makes physical distances immaterial. You can manage all your business devices, networks, and servers with ease. You can track remote teams as well as offer support to your field operatives. You can collaborate and communicate with employees that are in different physical locations.
Most important of all, you can do all this in the cloud. As technology evolves, we may see even more changes. How many will become common across small businesses? Only time will tell.
Rosie Harman is a senior content strategist at Visi One Click, specializing in Technology. She holds a Master's in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington and has spent the majority of her career working in tech giants in Texas. When she's not helping the content team, Rosie enjoys adventuring with her two children around her hometown.