Technology can make businesses more efficient while lowering operations costs. It can also increase employee satisfaction when it makes work easier. Businesses that are slow to adopt technology may lag behind competitors that integrate cost- and time-saving technologies that help accelerate positive results.
Evolving technologies are changing consumer expectations about how they interact with businesses. Similarly, disruptive technologies are having a positive influence on business operations. Here’s a look at how disruptive technology affects business and four of the most influential tools in operations today.
1. Cloud-Based Storage
Increased adoption of remote work capabilities during the pandemic helped illuminate how well business could be conducted using cloud-based storage.
Virtual storage provides businesses with an extra layer of protection in the event that physical documents or computers are stolen or damaged. Cloud storage backup helps ensure that critical business documents remain in a secure storage space, one that’s accessible from any connected device, anywhere in the world.
Cloud pay-as-you-go options
Startup businesses can save money and scale more quickly using the cloud instead of building a robust and expensive physical technology infrastructure. Cloud computing provides pay-as-you-go options that scale as businesses grow. The accessibility and cost-effectiveness of cloud-based storage models also enable more players to enter the field. Businesses can also expand rapidly with cloud storage capabilities that are available on-demand.
Cloud storage can also decrease information technology management costs because cloud servers have their own teams providing data protection. According to Statista, as of April 2021:
- 33% of global organizations ran 51% or more of their workloads in the cloud
- 56% of organizations are expected to do the same by 2023
Over the past few years, cloud storage has facilitated remote work and kept businesses open and running amid a global pandemic and beyond. McKinsey & Company reports that in June 2022:
- 58% of Americans have the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week.
- 35% are able to work from home all the time.
2. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things includes devices such as smartwatches, smart thermostats, and smart cars that have web-based connectivity to record, store, and share data. According to a 2021 report by IoT Analytics report, overall enterprise IoT spending grew:
- 12.1% in 2020 to $128.9 billion
- 26.7% annual growth in spending is expected to reach $411.9 billion in 2025
While IoT accounted for an average of 7% of an organization’s IT budget from 2017 to 2020, businesses planned to increase spending to 10% of IT budgets over the next three years, according to a 2021 Inmarsat report. That makes IoT budgeting higher than technologies, such as cloud computing.
Improving business operations
IoT can improve business operations in several ways, by helping to:
- Develop smarter products and devices and new IoT-focused products.
- Automate many supply chain functions using IoT technology. Businesses can use IoT sensors for servicing equipment, monitoring productivity, and tracking products, rather than traditional, more time-intensive methods like barcodes and scanners.
- Collect more data and using it to make better decisions.
- Decrease energy use by businesses in lowering their environmental footprint and cutting energy costs.
IoT targeted usages
Farmers can use IoT to monitor livestock health and location. In hospitals, it can help providers improve patient care.
Iris- and fingerprint-based airport identification helps airports improve customer service. As self-driving cars become smarter and gain popularity, businesses can transport goods without having to hire drivers.
Personal IoT devices are also having a positive effect on business operations. Employees who use wearable tech can link up work notifications and messages. In this way, IoT can get work messages to employees round the clock and expand work schedule possibilities.
3. Big Data
The amount of data accumulating globally continues to climb exponentially every year. According to Statista, the total amount of data created, copied, and globally consumed reached 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. It’s expected to grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025.
Businesses can use data to improve operations ranging from marketing and customer experience strategy to supply chain and manufacturing operations. Ways businesses can harness big data in operations include:
- Supplying warehouses according to historical product demand in various regions
- Developing employee training programs based on managerial performance data
- Influencing research and development choices
Big data and predictive analytics
Decision-making of high-performing businesses is five times more likely to be driven by analytics rather than decided by intuition, says Technology Magazine.
Predictive analytics — advanced analytics that help businesses make predictions about future unknown events — help businesses identify and mitigate business risks early on. For example, if supply chain data predicts a shortage of a specific material from one supplier, a business can pivot and engage with a different supplier to prevent supply chain disruptions.
In healthcare, predictive analytics can improve patient outcomes. It can also help marketing teams decide which promotional channels to use. Predictive analytics can help businesses pinpoint sales trends, inventory control, cash flow, and customer churn.
4. Artificial Intelligence
AI can help make workers’ jobs easier by automating redundant tasks, while also driving better business models that increase customer satisfaction and lead to business growth.
Cloud storage and big data development has facilitated the ease of use of artificial intelligence in business operations. AI tools use data-driven algorithms to make decisions and recommendations that can help business operations be more effective and efficient.
Businesses can use AI to:
- Collect and analyze data
- Perform research tasks, such as data cleansing
- Streamline hiring processes by finding relevant and qualified candidates
- Analyze employee satisfaction data to predict turnover and measure employee engagement
- Manage basic logistical operations, such as accounting
- Develop better customer service, such as online chatbots and virtual assistants
- Drive marketing development using tools such as automated online ad placement
According to a 2022 CompTIA report:
- 86% of CEOs say AI is considered mainstream technology in their offices.
- 91.5% of leading businesses say they consistently invest in AI.
Adopt, Adapt, Succeed
Organizations that adopt disruptive technologies such as those mentioned above, may be able to improve their standing among the competition. Organizations should identify pain points and strategize how to use top disruptive technologies.
To learn more about how disruptive technology affects business, check out these Wharton Online course offerings:
- Artificial Intelligence for Business online program
- Digital Leadership Certificate program
- Business Analytics Specialization
Request information on how our online programs can help you advance your career or business team.