Small business are slowly transforming into technology-enabled businesses. Entrepreneurs in 2017 and beyond should look into new technology developments to help automate their work, boost visibility, add value, increase income and gain a significant edge over their competitors. Here are six major global technology trends pushing small businesses into new ways of working.

 

Trend #1: Chatbots Will Develop and Learn

A few basic examples of chatbots or autonomous interfaces are Siri, Facebook Messenger and customer support systems. These have been around for years and entrepreneurs are starting to use them more to manage their business. This new trend is changing the way humans and computers work together. Currently, people use a keyboard or mouse to control their computers. Eventually, commands will be made by the use of a hand gesture, voice or eye movements. This could make experiences more convenient and enjoyable for everyone. This software will soon be able to act without the user's intervention and will take information once and be an ever-improving self-learning machine.

 

Trend #2: Artificial Intelligence Will Share Data

The amount of data and information companies collect over time can be overwhelming and time consuming. Not to mention, information can be missed, resulting in frustration. Business owners should consider using artificial intelligence to handle the ever-growing volumes of information. If policies and laws aren’t a problem, business could share information with other companies in a collaborative way. Thus gaining access to a larger pool of data and further understanding how customers behave, their needs and where to better focus their energy.

 

Trend #3: Blockchain Will Build Trust

Blockchain, in short, is a way to simplify and organize transactions of digital assets between two parties. All parties have their own identical copy of the ledger and any change made is then applied to all in a matter of minutes. This makes a transparent system and creates trust among those involved. Lawyers, notaries, bookkeepers and accountants may all see an impact in their business model with the help of blockchain. Booking transactions, transferring money and paying invoices will become easier and more accurate.

 

Trend #4: Money Will Move in a New Way

There are many in-app payment solutions currently being used to transfer money or buy product. For example, Apple Pay and Square Cash. However, more complex systems, like accounting software, are far less user-friendly. This leaves very few options for businesses to make invoice payments or manage transactions between partners and suppliers. Soon, there will be a growing number of solutions integrated into accounting systems that will allow more immediate, reliable and fully-automated ways to make payments.

 

Trend #5: Platform-based Infrastructures Will Be More Accessible

Small businesses will soon filter out their stand-alone software systems and replace them with cloud-based software. The benefit of cloud-based software is that small businesses will have access to other software and services that they may not have been able to afford previously.

 

Trend #6: Internet of Things Will Provide New Experiences

There is a massive amount of information flowing through our world with sensors built into machines, cars, consumer goods and even humans (for example medical monitoring devices). This treasure trove of information will lead to improved customer experiences and many small businesses are currently missing out on these opportunities.