As little as a few years ago, some of the most basic advice being given to businesses was to “set up a website”. Initiatives from governments and private firms emphasised the importance of being online.
In 2015, that advice is so rudimentary it makes you appear dated by just recommending it. The pace of technology innovation has no mercy for businesses refusing to stretch beyond the bare minimum.
The future of business even in ten years time looks no less confusing. Again, a few years ago, entrepreneurs could be forgiven for thinking the next steps of social media and online marketing lay in Facebook alone. Today, a hodgepodge of social networks dominate the landscape.
How are businesses supposed to decide which tech to use, and which remains important, to ensure they not only exist but thrive in 2025?
Thankfully, there are some basics to adhere to. Michael McKinnon, a security expert at AVG, points to the dominating factor – mobile.
“We have families who are using only mobile devices and have ditched a laptop or a PC,” he says. “If that’s happening at a consumer level, I don’t believe it’s long before we’ll see that in business.
“Think about a tradie, for instance, who is running a business solely on a mobile phone. This could happen soon.”
This has a knock-on effect. The higher the emphasis on mobiles, the higher emphasis on cloud computing and app development for mobile and wearable devices.
To be a key player in the business environment of the future, he says, you need to communicate effectively. Products like Yammer and other social networks play a massive role there. The recent release of Facebook for Work underpins this.
“Time zone issues will continue to be a struggle for the most experienced global operators. Communications systems will help bring those teams closer together,” says McKinnon.
The rise of all-virtual companies, for instance, with employees in different countries, will make this point more important over the next decade.
That statement comes with a fairly dire subtext. If you’re using tech that isn’t connected to this type of functionality, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
Take Windows Server 2003, for instance. Countless businesses use these server operating systems, but Microsoft is ending support for the 2003 edition in July this year. What then?
If you’re stuck on outdated OS infrastructure, with no mobile support, you’re left in the cold. Your employees aren’t getting the fastest, most dependable access to the internet and the tools they need to do their job.
You need to think long term when it comes to tech. Cast your view out 10 years – the internet of everything is running our world. Will your business and employees have access to the data that infrastructure is generating which could supercharge your business?
Paul Wallbank, a leading commentator on tech in Australia, says business owners need to start asking themselves the hard questions now about what tech they’re using, and how to make sure their employees are plugged in to that future.
Just as some businesses provide a clothing allowance, Wallbank suggests giving employees an allowance to bring their own devices into the company.
“Let them buy their own equipment. You would have to make sure your network is robust, but it changes the nature of the relationship with technology,” he says.
“You’ll make sure everyone is happy with the tech you’re using, and of course, you’ll be up to date.”
Most importantly, however, Wallbank says businesses simply need to put the effort into making capital investment into modern hardware.
“Struggling along with an old Windows operating system is just not going to cut it anymore. If you’re going to have a hand up in the next stage of business, then you need to move up to the latest generation of technology.
“There’s really no question about it.”
Find out more about transforming your business with a technology refresh here, or talk to a HP Consultant on 1300 303 663.