2. IT Departments Will Expand Their Use of Automation
The growing uses of automation have helped organizations grow more efficient in meaningful ways. Automation is helping many IT organizations free up limited resources for more mission-critical problems.
Security, data storage and data analysis are three areas in which automation could be particularly beneficial for small IT shops. It can be almost impossible for employees to manually review network logs for security issues, but platforms such as Microsoft 365 have automated checks built in that will alert users to irregularities. Automating data storage and backup can similarly save employees a lot of time and allow for more regular and uniform practices. There may be growing pains in adjusting to process automation, but the payoff can be lucrative. More small businesses will turn to automation to maximize efficiency.
3. Small Businesses Will Focus More on the Mobile Experience
A website simply isn’t enough for an organization anymore. As customers move away from their computers and to their smartphones and tablets, businesses across all industries have to make sure their mobile experience is up to snuff. Mobile apps can increase engagement, provide personalized marketing and establish an on-demand marketplace that customers have come to expect.
Some small businesses may see a mobile app as an extravagance, but there are services that are making app development more accessible than ever. Expect more SMBs to take advantage of these options as they look to grow in 2020.
4. More Small Businesses Will Harness Data Analytics
Data analytics are a must for every organization, providing a wealth of actionable insights, from internal information about how the business is running to customer data used for marketing.
Tools such as IBM Watson and Tableau can allow customers to gather and visualize all of their information to power business decisions and achieve organizational goals efficiently. Small businesses can outsource the process and deploy Analytics as a Service. With each person expected to generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second next year, the number of options for SMBs will only grow.
5. Small Businesses Will Utilize Blockchain Technology
Cryptocurrency — the most popular use of blockchain technology — is exploding. Decentralized currency isn’t just for black-market purchases or ransom payments to hackers; more and more, consumers are also buying in. The number of users on leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase jumped from 400,000 in January 2017 to an astounding 5.6 million by June 2018.
Using blockchain can help businesses save on payment processors and maintain secure records of those transactions, but there are a lot of other ways the technology can be useful. The shared ledger for transactions can be helpful for transmitting financial contracts or data, and the built-in verification can keep it safe and accounted for, all without having to go through a middleman. As the technology becomes more accessible, small businesses stand to gain.