Thursday, 24 May 2018

How to Successfully Implement New Enterprise Software

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Times change and technology advances — this is the state of the world. On the business side, this translates to a need for enterprises to be on top of any new developments, or risk falling behind. In other words, whenever new enterprise software solutions come along, enterprises need to be on top of them and assess whether they can be used to streamline processes and make the organization more efficient.

More often than not, this involves implementing new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that functions as a business management tool to streamline everything from customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources (HR) to payroll management and business analytics. The problem comes when you realize that implementing ERP software is an enterprise-wide commitment with implications throughout the whole organization.

Despite this, that enterprise software implementation is a challenging process, successful implementation positively impacts the organization's bottom line. By enhancing capabilities and injecting modern and relevant technologies into the enterprise, it can operate more efficiently and eliminate redundancies that are taking away from it. Yes, implementation will not be an easy task, but it’s a much-needed one that should not be overlooked. Here’s how you can make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

1: Appoint a Project Manager to Oversee Implementation

To begin with, you want a project manager in charge of overseeing the pre-implementation, as well as implementation and post-implementation process. This is someone who’ll be responsible for ensuring that the project moves along as seamlessly as possible, as well as supervising the technical aspects and keeping everyone up-to-date on the implementation’s progress, so make sure it’s someone who can answer and elaborate on the question, what is enterprise software?

2: Clean Up Your Data

Before you begin the actual implementation, i.e., when you’re in the pre-implementation process, take this time out to get rid of unnecessary clutter that has no place in the updated system. Whether you’re integrating new enterprise software or completely replacing an older one, the fact remains that you don’t want to transfer nonessential data, such as outdated data or duplicated entries that will only tax your system.
3: Go Over Existing IT Infrastructure

After you clean your data, go over the existing IT infrastructure and determine exactly you want to accomplish with the implementation. For example, if you’re integrating the new software with the old, will they be able to work seamlessly without any issues arising? If you are retaining software, you always have to make sure that everything works without a hitch, otherwise, you have another overhaul in your hands.

4: Get End-Users Involved

Finally, think about who will end up using the new software and get them involved. These people, your end-users, know the ins and outs of what’s needed to run the enterprise on a day-to-day basis, and including them in the conversation is essential if you want a system that’s most conducive to productivity. After all, the decision to implement new ERP software was prompted by the previous one’s failings, and they know first-hand what’s needed.

Final Thoughts

Enterprise software implementation is designed to automate operations within an organization. While revamping enterprise-wide software may be stressful and overbearing, and the implementation process time-consuming and laborious, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

That is to say that when done correctly, new ERP software can completely change how a business operates. For example, by streamlining some tasks and automating others, more manpower can be diverted where it’s needed most. Along the same lines, the real-time capabilities that updated software often bring the lead to a competitive advantage that would’ve been forgone.

At the end of the day, the last thing you want is to stick with the same sub-par system just because it’s been working ‘just fine’ and implementation seems daunting. It’s not what your competition is doing and it’s not what you should be doing either.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Best Technologies and Trends for Enterprise Application Development

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The importance of web and app development cannot be understated in today’s marketplace, especially for enterprises who rely on applications to keep everything running smoothly. If there’s a need — whatever it is — an app can be created to satisfy that need. As such, enterprise apps need to be able to do a lot of things that vary from industry to industry and from business to business. For example, a retail company will benefit from an inventory management app, while a law firm will do better with an app that compares marketing regulations across different sectors.

Enterprise Application Development Trends

Enterprise applications do a lot of things, but more importantly, they increase productivity and empower workers to do more. Their adoption is also increasing dramatically as it becomes easier and cheaper for businesses to develop them. This adoption, in turn, is reshaping how these organizations function and respond to demands, whether internal or external. But, as with all technologies, enterprise applications change over time with evolving trends. Failing to take notice and act on these trends will only prove detrimental in the long run, which is why it’s extremely important to stay on top of any and all developments. For example, these three enterprise application development trends that are currently making the rounds.

1: Increased Popularity of Progressive Web Applications

Progressive web apps (PWAs), originally proposed by Google, are applications that combine the best of both worlds — mobile and web. In essence, they’re applications that take advantage of the best features modern browsers support. They have an app shell with cached content that loads instantly, and then use service workers to fetch dynamic content for a well-rounded experience that’s cheaper to create than native app development.

Another way of thinking about PWAs is as web applications or websites that have a native mobile app feel. They not only work offline and have extremely fast load times, but are also responsive and work for all users, making them ideal for our mobile-centric world. This mobile distinction is important because it’s one of the driving factors behind their popularity growth. We live in a world that prioritizes speed and inclusivity, and PWAs offers both of these things while native or web apps tend to fall short in or the other.

2: More Focus on Security

Security is getting an overhaul because breaches have dominated the news recently and it’s making everyone uneasy. Enterprises are worried about their systems getting hacked and end-users are worried about their sensitive information being leaked. There are many contributing factors that go into each and every breach, but a recurring theme is that apps are commonly built with vulnerabilities that make them a prime candidate for hackers. Backtracking, what’s causing these vulnerabilities?

As Julien Bellanger, CEO of Prevoty, says, it may be because developers aren’t security experts.  “Application developers are rarely (never?) hired because of their security expertise,” he says, “[t]hey are hired to deliver new applications and new functionality. In order to attempt to stay ahead of hackers, security professionals need to spend a lot of their working lives monitoring the “state of the art” in terms of publicly available knowledge around vulnerabilities. It takes a thief to catch a thief. Developers were not hired to do this, they don’t have the time to do this and their skill sets are not best placed to implement mitigations against complex attacks.”

Another issue has to do with management. In many cases, management doesn’t consider security a big issue until something actually happens. It’s a sort of trade-off — more security means slower apps, and many don’t think that their own technologies are vulnerable. This is made worse by the fact that many applications are a one-time endeavor that doesn’t get much-needed updates and security patches until, again, something happens to spur action.

3: Rapid Mobile App Development and Citizen Development

Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) uses code-free programming tools that speed up and simplify the development process, and citizen development uses easy to build processes that can be operated by users. In essence, both allow users to quickly build and manage internal apps, and function to lessen IT dependency. As this article states, “IT has at least one major opportunity left to lead the digitization of the remainder of our organizations. Trends like low code and the resulting citizen developer that it can enable are going to be one of the key catalysts for next-generation IT that unleash a new wave of local, more decentralized solutions at scale within our organizations.”

Enterprise Application Development Programming Languages

As we’ve covered, enterprise application technologies are extremely important today, and their uses are vast. Similarly, the programming languages used to create them are also quite extensive, and they vary based on personal preference, the organization’s established code base, and so on. For example, let’s take a look at some of the most popular backend languages for enterprise app development:

1. Java: Java is popular among cloud providers and is universally supported by cloud APIs. It’s also simple, intuitive, object-oriented, robust and secure.
2. SQL: SQL is a staple of backend development because it’s used to extract and update records from databases, and most backend services include a data store.
3. PHP: PHP is very useful for dynamically generating content on Web servers. It can also be embedded directly in an HTML page.
4. JavaScript: One of JavaScript’s biggest benefits is that JavaScript for Web apps is code compatibility across client and server modules, meaning that it can run both client-side and server-side.
5. C/C++: C is efficient and flexible, and C++ is a more modern version that adds object orientation, operator and function overloading and templates.
6. C#: The latest to come from the C family, C# is like Java in that it can compile to an intermediate form that uses the .NET runtime interpreter and sandbox, and eliminates mistake-prone tasks like memory management.
7. Python: Python is an interpreted language that’s object-oriented and its syntax is extremely clear and understandable, leading to its popularity in introductory computer science courses.
8. Ruby: Ruby is an object-oriented language that shares many syntactical elements with Python. It’s commonly used as a Web backend and usually paired with the Rails framework.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Here’s the tl;dr version of everything we covered today in case you’re too busy for the full read:
The importance of web and app development cannot be understated in today’s marketplace
If there’s a need, an app can be created to satisfy that need
Enterprise apps need to be able to do a lot of things that vary from industry to industry and from business to business
Enterprise applications do a lot of things, but more importantly, they increase productivity and empower workers to do more
But, as with all technologies, enterprise applications change over time with evolving trends such as these:
a. Increased Popularity of Progressive Web Applications
b. More Focus on Security
c. Rapid Mobile App Development and Citizen Development
As for the most popular programming languages for enterprise apps, the top 8 are: Java, SQL, PHP, JavaScript, C#, C/C++, Python, and Ruby

Best of luck!

Monday, 5 March 2018

How to Guarantee Success for Your eCommerce Business According to the Experts

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Whether brick and mortar or eCommerce, growing your business and ensuring its success has never been easy. This rings especially true for an eCommerce business that has to deal with the countless competitors coming out of the woodwork day in and day out. You need successful eCommerce business ideas, but the difficulty comes from options and indecision. For example, should you do this? What about that, will it be better than this? And even when you do make a decision, how can you know if it’s the right one? You can’t unless you see it through and find out what happens. What you need are tips, but not normal tips, you need tips for eCommerce success straight from the experts.

Tips for eCommerce Success According to the Experts

And now we arrive at the tips from the experts, AKA the successful eCommerce business ideas you need for your eCommerce business to succeed:

1: Neil Patel — Paid Traffic is a Must

Paid traffic can be one of the best ways to quickly generate sales for your eCommerce store. You might think that paid traffic is expensive and you’ve probably heard some stories of people who have spent a lot of money – and saw no return. However, if done properly, paid traffic can, in fact, be quite affordable and once you have a winning campaign on your hands, paid traffic can really take your business to the next level. — Neil Patel

As an eCommerce business you NEED traffic to your website, and apart from organic methods that take a couple of months to come through, you have no other way besides paid traffic of attracting your audience to your site. In other words, unless you’re a big brand that’s known around the country or globe, paid traffic is a must. Even then it’s important, but more so for those of us who are just starting out or are in the process of growing. It comes down to the fact that you can’t survive eCommerce without sales, you can’t make sales without an audience to sell to, and you can’t have an audience unless they know who you are.

2: Larry Kim — Remarketing Is Incredibly Powerful

I discovered the power of [display remarketing] a few years ago when I realized the vast majority of our site traffic came to us through non-branded organic searches, didn’t convert, and left and never came back. We were awesome at getting people to our site, but totally sucked at getting them to remember us after they got here…Just 18 months out, remarketing allowed us to increase our repeat visitors by 50%, boost conversion by 51%, and increase time on site by an insane 300%! Remarketing helped make our SEO 7x more awesome by keeping us in front of interested consumers and compelling them to take action. — Larry Kim

Remarketing is a step above paid advertising and works even better because you’re targeting people who are not only already familiar with your brand, but who are also interested enough in it that they previously visited your site and browsed around; you have all the ingredients of a customer except for the actual purchase. There are countless reasons that explain why they logged off in the first place — maybe they had to go somewhere, they could have wanted to buy something but an unexpected expenditure put their purchase from you on hold, or maybe they simply got distracted and forgot. Whatever the reason, the goal with remarketing is to show your audience why they visited your site in the first place and convince them to take the next step.

3: Richard Lazazzera — Implement a Customer Loyalty Program

Reward customers for their loyalty. Developing a loyalty membership to your store is another way to increase conversions from your current customers while rewarding them for their repeat purchases.  Creating a loyalty program can be as simple as rewarding customers on their second purchase at your store or after a set dollar figure. — Richard Lazazzera

Last on our list today, a customer loyalty program is exactly what you need to grow your eCommerce business. For one, it gives customers an incentive to become repeat customers. Second, you can incentivize them to invite their own friends to join, who can then become repeat customers as well. For example, you can offer points for every purchase, and once your users accumulate a certain amount of points they can use it toward an additional purchase. You can also offer discounts and reduced or free shipping to users who join your loyalty program, making it more likely that they’ll choose you over your competition when they need something.

Final Thoughts for Startups

Everything we covered today is important for all eCommerce businesses, but especially so for startups that are trying to make a name for themselves in the dog eat dog world that is eCommerce. When starting out, you first need to grow your audience — something paid traffic can help you out with. Once you have traffic, you need to convert as many site visitors as possible — something remarketing excels at. And once you have a steady stream of customers, you need to turn them into repeat customers who, in turn, point their friends and family your direction — something loyalty programs can do for you.

Best of luck!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

3 Enterprise Software Trends for 2018

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Enterprises crave the innovation new technologies bring because they know that when technology evolves, they evolve with it. This especially holds true for enterprise software, which is used by all for varying reasons — maintaining customer databases, managing assets, taking care of orders, dealing with finances, and much much more. And as every new year that has come our way, new software is appearing and, along with it, software trends enterprises everywhere are quick to adopt.

For example, the frequent data breaches we’re seeing in the news as of late are pushing enterprises to increase their cybersecurity with new software updates. Similarly, the big leaps we’re making in the realm of artificial intelligence are paving the road for AI derivatives like machine learning and automation, which function to make the enterprise smarter as a whole.

This is all to say that emerging challenges and advancing software are prompting enterprises to exchange the old with the new and follow the new enterprise software trends 2018 will bring. Let’s take a look at some such trends.

Enterprise Software Trends 2018 Will Bring

Personalization is becoming more and more important in enterprises because of all the advantages it offers. For example, employees can receive more relevant and tailored information, saving them time as they avoid parsing through irrelevant data they don’t need. Consider a news feed, for instance. Without personalization, there’s no filter separating what’s important to an employee versus what’s not. With personalization, though, they only get what’s relevant; they see exactly what they want to see.

Artificial Intelligence
AI is one of the most popular topics today, and not just for enterprises. In terms of enterprises, though, AI software offers many benefits that come in the form of machine learning and automation. Machine learning, for example, helps in the analyzation of big data, making sense of patterns that can help enterprises make smarter decisions to spur revenue.
In fact, 89% of CIOs are either planning to use or using machine learning in their organizations today, and 90% of those who champion machine learning in their organizations today expect improved decision support that drives greater topline revenue growth. Automation, which is made possible with machine learning, is quickly being adopted by enterprises because it saves them time and money. For instance, when repetitive tasks are automated, employees can devote more time to other pursuits, increasing their productivity.

It’s predicted that the global cost of cybercrime will climb to $2 trillion by 2019, almost 4 times the cost in 2015. In 2018, enterprises will use AI to improve cybersecurity. Why? Because machine learning can ‘learn’ from past events. As such, it can help enterprises identify cybersecurity threats. Exemplifying this, 95% of IT security professionals say machine learning is a crucial component of a cybersecurity strategy.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Another new year means new and updated enterprise software trends. Here’s the Tl;dr version of what we covered today:
Enterprises are always quick to adopt new technologies because they provide the means to grow, keep up with competition and surpass them
This holds true for enterprise software, which is always evolving to handle new challenges and prepare enterprises for the future
Personalization helps employees see only what they want and need to see, saving valuable time that could be spent performing higher-level tasks than sifting through data
Artificial intelligence is extremely important for enterprise because it offers many advantages, such as machine learning and automation
Machine learning aids in the analyzation of big data, and further helps enterprises make sense of patterns that can help them make smarter decisions to spur revenue growth
Automation is made possible with machine learning and helps increase productivity
AI, especially machine learning, can be used to improve cybersecurity by ‘learning’ from past events, which then works to identify future threats
Best of luck in 2018!

Monday, 8 January 2018

3 Enterprise Technologies That Will Rule in 2018

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A new year always brings in new technologies and trends that enterprises everywhere are quick to eat up. While these change every year, many are trends that started the previous year and carried over. Case in point, artificial intelligence (AI). AI has been a hot topic in recent years, with many new technologies stemming from it, and it’s poised to take the spotlight again in 2018. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, AI will be a top five priority for more than 30% of CIOs.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at enterprise technology 2018 strategies need. And as it happens to be, these technologies all revolve around AI.

1: Voice Assistants

Voice assistants are becoming more and more popular in the business world every day. With them, employees can be more productive as they conversationally interact with them, giving them more time to focus on more important tasks.

For example, Amazon recently announced Alexa for Business, saying that it will help organizations solve the problem of wasted time due to tedious tasks like managing calendars, dialing into meetings, or searching for information:

Alexa lets people use their voice to interact with technology so they can spontaneously ask questions in a way that feels natural. Alexa can help people take care of these tasks just by asking. Alexa can help people stay organized and focused on the things that matter, whether they are working in their office or at home. Alexa can simplify conference rooms, allowing meeting attendees to start meetings and control the equipment in the room by simply using their voice. Alexa can also do things around the workplace, like providing directions to a conference room, notifying IT about a broken printer, or placing an order for office supplies.

2: Big Data and Analytics

It seems that a prerequisite for being an enterprise is handling a lot of data — it just can’t be helped. While tedious to make sense of this data, it’s absolutely vital because it reflects the decisions and consequences of said decisions. For example, an eCommerce can analyze customer data to make sense of purchasing behavior, which can help them tailor their strategies for the future.

There is, therefore, a need to manage, analyze, and extrapolate information from data, which will help enterprises aid in the decision-making process. This is where big data and analytics programs that make sense of it come into play. It’s 2018 and enterprises that previously sidestepped the big data trends are revising their strategies to prepare for the influx of insights they can glean from the mountains of numbers and statistics piling on at their doorstep.

3: Automation

Finally, a third technology AI promotes that will rule in 2018 is automation. The thing is, tasks that can be automated are usually repetitive, routine and time-consuming, which is why the automation trend is definitely continuing from 2017. With machines taking over lower level tasks, more manpower can be devoted to those that require a human touch, which then functions to reduce overall labor costs and lower error rates.

And as Information Age points out, a report by ServiceNow found that highly automated companies are 6x more likely to experience revenue growth of more than 15% when compared to companies with low automation. In other words, if you’re not automating you’re not only missing out on possible growth, but also placing yourself at risk of being overtaken by your competition.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Artificial intelligence is reshaping business and the enterprise as a whole. It makes data easy to understand, allows for accurate predictions, and leads to simplified processes that free up resources. That’s why today we covered AI-based enterprise technology 2018 will see. From voice assistants to automation, these technologies were present in 2017 and will see an even bigger presence in 2018:

1. Voice assistants allow employees to conversationally interact with technology, saving time so they can focus on more important tasks
2. Big data and analytics help the enterprise make sense of their internal and external interactions while extracting important information to aid the decision-making process
3. Automation reduces labor costs and allows organizations to devote more manpower to higher level tasks

Happy New Year and best of luck in 2018!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Understanding the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurship started thousands of years ago, way back when humans began specializing in specific trades and commenced to sell or trade their wares and services. Hunters scoured fields for meat, fishermen spent hours at sea to come back triumphant with nets filled with fish, smiths worked forges to mold metal into tools and arms, and masons built the first cities.

While professions change, entrepreneurship remains. We still have the staples that stem from our basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, but as the years passed and times changed, our range of entrepreneurial opportunities grew exponentially. This is especially true for women, who have traded the homemaker role for the businesswoman role who’s ready to not only compete with men but beat them.
Nowadays, as long as a desk, a phone, and a computer are available, a successful entrepreneur can be born. And if a physical location is needed, companies like WeWork are there to provide everything the next-generation entrepreneur needs, from desks and office suites to entire headquarters.

The Next-Generation Entrepreneur

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 hit entrepreneurs pretty hard. As the economy recovered, consumer behavior changed, businesses evolved, and the successful entrepreneur adapted. With a strong work ethic, a propensity to take risks, and a plan to satisfy a need that’s not being taken care of, entrepreneurs rose from the ashes and started their own business. Rather than working for larger corporations, or waiting until they had a solid understanding of the business world after after a long tenure, these entrepreneurs opted for creative freedom and the chance to start something of their own.

Besides their innate qualities that led them to become entrepreneurs, an emergence of investors also made it possible for them pursue their dreams. With a plan in mind and a strategy poised for success, they found someone willing to bet on them. And with the Internet as part of their tool belt, nothing seemed impossible.

How the Internet Has Bolstered Entrepreneurship

Whether opening a local business or starting an eCommerce company that deals with global customers, the Internet has been there to help. For local brick and mortar businesses, the Internet and SEO can help corral customers to their location — it places them on the map. In the online business world, well, the name speaks for itself: online business. That’s why a physical location is no longer a requirement for starting your own business; depending on your industry, you simply may not need it.

Now consider social media, which functions as fuel for the entrepreneurial fire. With it, entrepreneurs can do everything from promoting new products and services to marketing their business and connecting with their audience. For instance, they can lead up to a product launch with a live video that includes a Q&A session. They can also use it to pose questions to their audience for a deeper understanding of what they want to see. The beauty of social media is that it can be used for practically anything, from brand awareness to audience research, and it’s all thanks to the Internet.

The Next-Generation Entrepreneur Is Here

51% of working people see good opportunities to start a business, and in 2014, entrepreneurship rose to the highest level in 16 years, with 14% of the working population fulfilling the entrepreneurial role. This means that if you’ve ever wanted to become a successful entrepreneur, your time is now.

To get started, let’s review what we covered today on the next generation of entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneurs have been a part of society for thousands of years, and even though roles have changed, the entrepreneurial spirit remains unchanged
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 may have slowed things down, but entrepreneurs overcame hurdles and came back
Thanks to more investors and access to tools stemming from the Internet, entrepreneurs, now more than ever, have more and more opportunities to begin

Best of luck, entrepreneurs!

Friday, 3 November 2017

3 Ways Technological Investments Can Grow Your Business

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Technology and business go hand-in-hand; they’re a match made in innovative heaven. In fact, 79% of CEOs believe that innovation in business, primarily business technology, will lead to competitive advantages and increased profits.

Technology in Business

Technology in business can mean many things, primarily growth. It also means evolution and adapting to changing market trends and customer demands. For example, with technologies that enable automation and provide detailed analytics, organizations can strategically cut costs, streamline business processes, and better cater to customers. 

1: Business Technology to Cut Costs
As we just covered, technology can lead to competitive advantages and increased profits. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t realize this and instead choose to cut technological investments when they embark on cost-cutting endeavors. They make the mistake of slashing costs across the board, a strategy that may result in more money in the present, but effectively leaves them weaker down the line. 

Instead, organizations should strategically cut costs by identifying nonessential costs and diverting funds to technological investments, which can then lead to reduced costs in the future. For example, an investment in green technology, such as solar energy, will not only lead to reduced electric bills, but also tax credits from the government and utility companies. More on the IT side, migrating infrastructures to the Cloud will also drastically reduce maintenance costs and will allow you to scale up or down as needed.

2: Business Technology to Optimize Processes
It’s quite easy to understand how technology can be used to optimize existing business processes — when newer technologies come out, they’re usually an updated/upgraded version of previous technologies; they fix what was wrong and add new and better features. At the end of the day, the goal with technology is to find better solutions for the business, and technological investments are perfect for this.

Consider AI and automation, for example. Advancements in these areas could drastically increase productivity and employee performance, leading to business growth. Similarly, analytics technology can be used to get a better understanding of data, which would function to better predict outcomes, strategically manage risks, and streamline business processes.

3: Business Technology to Understand Customers
Building off of technological advancements, organizations can use technology to better understand customers — their needs, their motivations, and what product or service they’re most likely to respond to. By injecting technology into the business model, organizations will also be able to completely reshape their customer’s journey according to what they actually want. Looking at analytics again, they can be used to analyze consumer trends and business drivers. This would effectively lead to a much better understanding of customers, facilitating growth.

Final Thoughts and TL;DR

Technology in business is as important as employees; you can’t grow without either. Here’s the tl;dr version of what we covered today:
79% of CEOs believe that innovation in business, primarily business technology, will lead to competitive advantages and increased profits
Technology in business means growth and adapting to evolving market trends and customer demands
Organizations should strategically cut costs by identifying nonessential costs and diverting funds to technological investments, which can then lead to reduced costs in the future (e.g., investing in green technology or a Cloud migration)
Advancements in  AI and automation could drastically increase productivity and employee performance, leading to business growth
Analytics technology can be used to get a better understanding of data, which would function to better predict outcomes, strategically manage risks, and streamline business processes
Similarly, analytics can be used to analyze consumer trends and business drivers, leading to a much better understanding of customers and increased growth

Good luck and definitely don’t forget to make investments in technology!