How Does Technology Influence Business?
By Oneil Williams
Technology results in change, and businesses that do not adapt to these changes swiftly enough get consumed by them. Agility can be a tremendous asset to companies in this rapidly evolving technological age. However, the companies that fare the best in an ever-shifting marketplace are those that have the foresight to stay ahead of the curve.
Research company Gartner Incorporated reported that worldwide media tablet sales to end users saw a 261 percent increase from 2010 sales (17.6 million units) to 2011 (63.6 million). Companies that are not capitalizing on the upsurge in mobile technology devices, applications and platforms are leaving themselves at a disadvantage. Consumers want the convenience offered by mobile devices; businesses have an opportunity to attract and retain customers by building a presence, promotions, advertising and rewards on mobile technology platforms.
A business without a social media presence is a business excluded from one of the fastest growing media markets of our time. Word of mouth is still a valuable form of attracting new customers. However, businesses that fail to jump on the social media bandwagon are missing out on a golden opportunity. Customers love to share. Social media allows them to do this in a relatively simple and effective manner. If your business gives great customer service and has quality products and services, you don't have to wait for your customer to physically interact with others to spread the word. One click of a button from a PC or mobile device can promote your business to all within that customer's social network – but for this to even be possible, your business has to have a social media presence.
Many small business owners have begun taking advantage of application products that reside "in the cloud." Cloud computing refers to data stored on servers hosted by third party providers rather than on the computer user's local machine. Purchasing IT infrastructure to scale with a business's needs can be costly. Cloud computing allows businesses both small and large to access their applications on a third party provider's servers where they can pay for storage and access on demand. Detractors of the model say that security is a concern and that businesses may be opening themselves up to privacy risks. But in a highly competitive business environment where companies have to weigh costs against the risks and potential benefits of an offering like cloud computing, the choice is obvious for many businesses.
Companies must constantly evaluate their models to see how they are being impacted by advances in technology. Entities like MySpace lost control of their market for not being agile enough to withstand technological trends. However, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have already created mobile platforms to adapt to the shift amongst consumers to mobile computing. Businesses must keep up with or ahead of trends. Barnes & Noble created the Nook and an entire online presence to capitalize on the digital era. History has taught us that technologically superior companies win. Businesses must be willing to adapt to technology or run the risk of being left behind.
Oneil Williams started writing professionally in 1993. He wrote for "The Sunday Gleaner" and the "Jamaica Observer," two newspaper publications in Jamaica, and immigrated to the United States in 1995. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Central Florida.