Your customers are riding on top of the big technology wave, are you? Three trends you can't ignore

From smart phones to the Internet of Things, companies have to keep adapting to the shifting technological scene. Here are a few notes on what not to miss this year.

Top three tech trends

Gartner recently brought out their top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015. The analysis is sound. It’s just that it may sound a bit daunting if you’re not in IT and your fundamental question is, “How can new technology trends help me improve my business processes?”

Here’s three tech trends that organisations cannot afford to ignore. If you’re interested in the retail or investment sectors, I also spoke to a couple of clients to get their views on what is impacting on their business and how technology can help.

Cloud computing services – Elasticity is a good reason to embrace cloud computing this year, that is, you can increase or decrease capacity as you need to and ‘pay as you go’ for services such as email, document editing and collaboration. For start-ups this means a low entry level cost to administrating the business. For those already using the cloud, why not explore the possibilities? For instance, integrate your cloud-based CRM and accounting packages, to get more intelligent data, accessed anywhere at any time.

Mobile only – The consumer is leading the charge to mobile-only apps and systems. Smartphone costs are declining globally* (see the powerful and cheap Android phones coming out of China at a third of the cost of a Samsung equivalent) and global bandwidth costs are declining. That equals richer digital information delivered faster to your phone. The world is the mobile user’s oyster. No wonder that mobile is growing five times faster than TV and PC. Get on board because your customers are.

* 2014 Internet Trends. Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

The Internet of things – everything is getting connected to everything else and that’s going to create a whole lot more data along with business functions and opportunities. Some of the most common categories are supply chain management, location tracking, real time financial analysis, remote monitoring and maintenance, energy efficiency, business process automation, and health and wellness. Watch this space.

Retail: Smartphones - the best shopping companion

Mobile technology is rocking the retail world. From 2013 to 2014, there was a 127% growth in shopping from smartphones according to Nielsen’s latest online shopping report. Mat Wylie, CEO of Customer Radar, a company that ClearPoint has helped take into the cloud, says that mobile technology is also impacting how we shop at bricks and mortar retail sites. 

“Smartphones are used to purchase, compare prices, find store locations and create shopping lists,” says Mat. “They are also used to place instant feedback on good, bad or indifferent service from retail outlets, something which can make or break a business’ reputation.” 

Harnessing the power of the smartphone, Customer Radar allows consumers to fire off feedback through text or web-based applications, giving businesses a real-time insight into how things are going on the shop floor.

Investment and wealth sector:Big things expected of business tech

Craig Patrick, Head of JBWere NZ says that in the wealth sector the demand is increasing for real-time, up-to-the-minute data, reporting and information such as market updates.

“Big things have been delivered by consumer technology and clients now demand big things from businesses and how they harness technology to provide services,” says Craig. “Our clients expect swift delivery of information on investments to whichever device and operating platform they favour.”

Regulatory change  – post GFC 2008, regulatory change has rocked the financial world. Craig says that the NZ financial market is no exception with the implementation of the Financial Advisers Act and the Anti Money Laundering legislation.

“Technology should play a pivotal role in addressing how the industry tackles regulatory requirements, from both a business and client perspective,” says Craig. “My advice? Get to grips early on with the requirements and develop scalable, adaptable technology solutions to meet client, business and compliance needs.”

We have developed cloud-based solutions that are helping organisations address regulatory change and compliance management plus other issues besides.

Cloud Services – Cloud services top the tech trends. Craig says that with Microsoft moving their Office 365 data centres to Australia it means that financial services companies can now take advantage of Australia’s relatively similar approach to protection of client data and move services to the cloud. This has important advantages from a business cashflow perspective (a shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure). It will also help reduce reliance on in-house technical capability, as well as simplifying disaster recovery requirements for those services.