It’s hard to keep up with every aspect of running a business. Whether it’s finances, social media, HR, sales or technology, business owners are in a constant state of learning and then applying what they learn to their companies. I decided to create a few “cheat sheets” to help with some of the terminology you can expect to hear in 2020. Today’s topic is: Technology. Below are seven tech terms you can expect to hear more of as we ring in a new decade.
- Digital Transformation – The days of running a business by pen and paper are dwindling…quickly. Even the smallest companies are adjusting to working in a digital world with smartphones, social media, and using data to deliver a better customer experience. The key to a company successfully transforming itself into a digital business is understanding that technology is a “means to an end.” First, figure out your 2020 objectives; then see what new tech tools will help you achieve your goals. Remember to stay focused!
- Customer Experience (CX) – In 2020, the customer is firmly in control of their buying experiences. If there were five options for a certain product or service in 2000, today there are 500 options. Companies that competed locally for business must now deal with national, international, and online companies for sales. The winners, in most cases, will learn how to deliver an exceptional “customer experience” from the moment a person goes online to the day they purchase the product or service. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and track your journey from beginning to end. What parts need work? Where is the breakdown in delivering the best possible experience? Once you find it, fix it!
- 5G – This is a game-changer! 5G is the 5th generation of cellular mobile communications. Whereas 4G required massive cell towers spread out over several miles, 5G will use thousands of small antennas probably connected to telephone poles. The new technology will increase the speed of wireless networks anywhere from 10x to 1,000x compared to what we have today. Most homes won’t need WiFi networks anymore.
- IoT – It means “Internet of Things.” These “things” include all connected devices, such as your car, refrigerator, and health monitoring wristband that have sensors in them to share data with other networks. According to Gartner Research, there were over 8 billion connected devices in 2018; that number will jump to over 20 billion devices by 2020. The opportunities for your business greatly increase when you can utilize the data collected by the Internet of Things. You will be able to run a more efficient company and respond to the unique needs of your customers to deliver a better experience for them.
- Cybersecurity – With eight billion connected devices around the world today, there are almost as many opportunities for hackers to break into your network and steal the valuable data. As a business owner, you cannot claim ignorance when it comes to protecting your employees and the customer data you collect. Learn as much as you can about Cybersecurity and take measures to make it harder for hackers to break into your company.
- Big Data – More data has been created in the past two years than in the previous 2,000 years combined! Companies now know how, when, where, why and from whom customers and other businesses purchase their goods. For example, I order a venti-sized coffee between 7:00 – 7:15 am every morning. I pay for it on my mobile app and pick it up at one of two locations. The company uses my “data” to entice me with offers on breakfast sandwiches as well as coming back in the afternoon for a second cup of coffee. Smaller companies also have access to big data on their own customers. The challenge is learning how to harness the data, analyze it, and use it to deliver a better customer experience.
- OmniChannel – Think about all the possible ways companies can connect with customers and prospects. There is direct mail, email, text, online (e.g. websites), in-store and more. To best understand how to properly engage with customers and prospects, companies need to start with an omnichannel marketing approach. In many cases, you won’t need to utilize every channel, but you should know how each channel works—in the event your customers decide to use them.
There will be more terms to follow as our respective industries continue to be disrupted by technology. Keep your eyes and ears open and your fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in your marketplace. Be proactive when it comes to learning and your business will benefit from the disruption.