Year on year we are seeing some amazing examples of technology come to market and 2015 looks set to impress and excite just as much, technology-wise as previous years have done.
The coming years carry with them the exciting promise of wearable technology (smart watches), the Internet of Things (where natural or man-made objects transfer data over a network), drones, flexible ‘hard’ materials (such as the LG G Flex), and the outstanding, innovative process of 3D printing.
Whilst this technology may not be accessible to all in 2015, it is certainly coming our way and it is a very exciting time for geeks and non-geeks alike. But what about the technologies that are already available and which are set to become mainstream in 2015?
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Customer relationship management tools have been around for many years, however, up until recently they have dominantly been used by large corporations. Only now is CRM starting to take off amongst small to medium sized businesses (SMEs), who are grasping on to the fact that effective customer relationship management is key to business growth and success.
The reason for this is clear; CRM technology has evolved a lot and is therefore a lot more attractive, easier to use and cost-effective for smaller businesses. CRM technology now utilises cloud-based tools which are a lot less expensive than previous tools. The technology for CRM now is also a lot better at helping clients manage their campaigns, leads and opportunities more effectively; indeed, you’d be very foolish to ignore this CRM technology trend.
Companies have been experiencing problems with internal communications for years and as such many began introducing automation into workplace applications in order to help things move along smoother and faster. This has, in turn, led to the introduction and resulting explosion of workflow services into the everyday business word.
The reason for this growth in workflow popularity is clear; workflow services help companies effectively manage their workers and the often chaotic communication process between the different teams in their workforce.
Workflow services are visually engaging, incredibly useful and participatory working tools which link across to one another, as well as physical things in the workplace; things such as mobile phones, social media and people and help to manage user performance. This in turn helps improve productivity therefore making workflow an incredibly important part of your business management strategy.
Example workflow services: IFTTT, Zapier, Yahoo! Pipes, Elastic.io
Recent trends over the past year have shown that video meetings are becoming increasingly popular as more and more business managers and bosses realise the benefits, such as solving the issue of distance, breaking down cultural barriers and thus improving productivity. This means travelling physically to meetings and even technologies such as webinars, are on the decline.
Video meetings save time and are a lot easier to organise than traditional meeting technologies, provided your company has a high quality internet connection and appropriate levels of security in place. Whether you want to share training instructions, health and safety procedures, and case studies or just catch up with colleagues working on the other side of the globe, video meetings are the way to go.
Example video meeting services: GoToMeeting, Google’s Hangouts on Air
E-signatures are becoming mainstream for very good reason and that is because the technology simplifies and speeds up the whole sign off process. In the past businesses have had to spend so much time sending out word documents, emails and even faxes to their customers and then spend even more time waiting for customers to apply their physical signature and send back.
E-signatures allow processes to be sped up, enabling transactions to be finished in minutes instead of hours or days. Transactions and processes remain secure and free up your employees’ time to track down new customers instead of spending hours chasing paperwork.
Example e-signature applications: Adobe’s EchoSign, DocuSign
Cloud accounting has literally exploded in the last year, with recent trends leading many to predict that the year 2016 will see the industry grow to approximately $2.16 billion! This is simply staggering. This growth is, however, justified by the fact that cloud accounting is incredibly easy for organisations (and their accounting software vendors) to support, deploy and run.
Traditional accounting software can be very time-consuming, whereas cloud software can save organisations a lot of time and money. Using cloud accounting means software will always be up-to-date and readily accessible; even better it can be integrated with a huge number of add-ons, making it personalised to your organisation. 2015 will most definitely see more organisations taking advantage of this scalable, cost-effective and easy to use technology.