Jan 13 2012

3 Trends Small Businesses Should Anticipate in 2012

When it comes to technology for SMBs in the new year, the cloud is the place to be.

Everyone and everything is on the go these days, including company data. More SMBs are shifting or planning to shift IT services to the cloud, and according to Steve King of Small Business Labs, that trend will only continue in 2012.

Smartphones, tablets and market expectations are all helping power this move to the cloud, which enables workers and customers to interact without being tied to a single device.

But mobility and the cloud aren’t the only things SMBs need to consider technologywise in the new year. Here are King’s three small-business technology trends for 2012:

Smartphones, Tablets and the Cloud Oh My!: Smartphones, the Cloud and mobile computing have been on our top 10 lists in one form or another for years. 2012 is no exception, and we expect mobile computing devices (smartphones and tablets) to substantially outsell traditional computers. These cloud-supported devices are changing the way business is done and creating vast, new demand for apps, online video and audio, games, ebooks, magazines, newspapers, social networking — the list goes on and on.

The Empire Strikes Back with Big Data: The rise of the Internet and ever cheaper information technology enabled even the smallest of businesses to look, act and compete like a large company. Big Data — the collection, manipulation and analysis of large datasets — allows large companies to look, act and compete like a small business by using data and analytics to provide personalized products and services. It also increases their ability to aggressively compete on price.

Big Data Gets Small: 2012 will also see growing small-business use of powerful yet inexpensive cloud-based data and analytical tools. These tools will enable small businesses to organize, mine and analyze their data to improve their results. In particular, the small business use of software and systems that combine and analyze data from websites, customer purchases, marketing campaigns and social media activity will grow and greatly improve small business efficiency.

For more small-business trends in 2012, read King’s full post on Small Business Labs.