Whatever technologies a business favors, whatever level of sophistication the operation, one thing is certain to hold true for 2011: there are going to be a number of technology trends of which no successful business can afford to be unaware.
Technology has changed the way modern businesses operate almost beyond recognition over the last few years and this is not only likely to continue, but the pace will almost certainly increase over the coming months. The following five trends will make 2011 one of the most exciting for technology we will have yet seen.
- Business on the move. Perhaps the single greatest technology trend of 2011 will be focused around mobile communication devices. We have already seen major advances with the introduction of the latest model of the iPhone, the new iPad and Blackberry and other smart phones. These devices are fast becoming so capable of multi-tasking activities that the office on the road is now a reality. 2011 will see even greater speed hikes that will close the gap between plugged-in computers and mobile devices to such a degree that many businesses will be comfortable making the move to fully wireless mobile devices. Although costs at this stage may prove prohibitive to some, the investment may well signal the beginning of the end of wired business device.
- It’s still about the dollars. Businesses will continue to keep a close eye of costs as the recession continues to impact all sections of the marketplace. From a technology standpoint, this will mean that more and more businesses will be looking at the benefits of cloud computing. The savings are only outmatched by the performance improvements and the knock on benefit to customers/clients. 2011 will see many businesses moving away from storing their own data and moving to the cloud so that information and data can be accessed from the ever-increasing number of mobile devices.
- Setting workers free. The increase in cloud computing along with the advance in wireless devices will mean that 2011 will see a new level of mobility for employees. It may well be the year that finally sees workers unchained from their desks and offices to create a more dynamic and fluid working platform that can offer increased benefits for staff (think about the savings in child care for example) as well allowing staff to get out there and interact with customers to a much greater degree.
- Rip up the desk planner. The days of the paper-based desk planner have already passed, but their computerized replacements are already beginning to look far too passive. 2011 will see new technologies where a web-based planning system will become much more interactive by helping the worker plan their day/week/month/year in the most productive way. New tools will make use of automation to suggest the best way to manage projects, budgets and meetings to help staff get the most out of their time.
- Paperless world. Perhaps not the whole world, but 2011 will certainly see technology gather speed in the move from paper-based activities. The ability to produce and publish online without the need of paper to be involved anywhere in the process will lead to not just an increase in newspaper and magazine online-only editions, but it will create a whole new way of business communication. Everything from individual memos to in-house journals and detailed strategy presentations will be written, created and published on the web so that they can be accessed from mobile devices anywhere in the world. This will in turn lead to further advances in mobile devices and a sea change in the worlds of journalism and business communications.