Let’s face it — it’s difficult to keep up with the pace (and price) of new technologies. Business owners face a barrage of new technologies, all promising revolutionary results. Wading through the hype can be time-consuming, but the right investments will reap dividends that more than make up for their cost.
Technological advancements offer the ability to make processes more effective and efficient, from cloud computing for scaling processing power to green technologies that decrease energy consumption and save on electricity bills. And with the advent of artificial intelligence, many time-consuming processes can be outsourced to software. Not only will this work be accomplished with a higher degree of accuracy, but valuable human resources will be freed up to pursue more pressing objectives.
Thoughtful, intelligent investment in innovations like these can help almost every kind of business succeed. To save both time and resources, the following three technologies, in particular, are worth pursuing.
1. Reduce waste with inventory management technology.
According to Wasp Barcode, an astounding 43 percent of small businesses either don’t track their inventory or are stuck using outdated manual methods to do so. Ultimately, these businesses are missing out on data that’s essential to making informed decisions. Leading retailers, which have long leaned on big data to optimize their inventory, are starting to take their efforts to the next level. Target, Walmart, and Lowe’s are now testing the use of robots to scan store shelves and further automate their inventory management processes.
Information technology consultants such as Pariveda Solutions, a strategic services and IT consulting company, can build multichannel inventory management systems that function in real time. In one case, Pariveda helped a global packaging company with five separate inventory-tracking systems save several million dollars annually by creating an integrated inventory solution. Through effective inventory management, businesses can boost their resource efficiency in order to maximize profit and minimize the amount of capital tied up in warehouses.
2. Ensure safety and savings with cybersecurity investments.
Protecting a business against cybercrime is a costly endeavor, and Ponemon Institute research suggests that the average enterprise falls victim to around 130 successful cyberattacks in a year. Not surprisingly, repairing the damage from these attacks is costly — almost $12 million, on average — even as these organizations must also spend huge amounts protecting themselves from many other unsuccessful attacks.
Because businesses have a limited budget for cyberdefense, they must focus their efforts on the most efficient means of protection — namely, deploying security intelligence systems. These systems will protect valuable data while producing an average cost savings of more than $2 million compared to other defenses such as perimeter controls or automated policy management.
3. Scale customer service efforts with AI bots.
Millennials are leading the charge toward automated customer service, and IBM reports that 65 percent of them favor this form of interaction over talking to live agents. That’s good news for businesses, as conversational bots can scale to accommodate any demand.
Customized bot creation can be accomplished with AI agency partners. IV.AI, for example, uses AI to help businesses such as Netflix and Sony increase their revenue while decreasing costs. IV.AI also worked with Aeromexico to automate an astounding 96 percent of its customer service demands. According to CEO Vince Lynch, “conversational AI is a ‘customer whisperer’ that’s capable of navigating buyers’ needs and emotions with minimal human input.” In other words, it can lower the demand on business resources while improving customer experience and satisfaction.
Technology is rarely a set-it-and-forget-it method of solving business dilemmas — more often, it comes with a significant learning curve. But when users overcome this obstacle and familiarize themselves with new tech, it generally makes their lives easier and more efficient. Especially when businesses have well-defined processes, it can be hard to go out on a limb and make investments that don’t appear essential. In many cases, however, the benefits will greatly outweigh the costs — it’s only a matter of time.