7 Tech Trends That Will Make You More Competitive in 2017

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While 2016 was all about going mobile, big data, and the novelty of being able to talk to household items, such as your refrigerator, with your smartphone, the 7 tech trends that will make you more competitive in 2017 build on last year’s trends and take them to new, more extreme – and more useful – levels.

The biggest tech trends competitive businesses will want to embrace for 2017 will revolve around security, connectivity and compatibility (we’re talking about the Internet of Things – having everything be able to connect to each other via the Cloud), and usability. No more technology because it’s novel and clever. Users are looking for technology with a purpose and a practical end goal – that goal being to make their lives easier.

While you will see a lot of trends and buzzwords thrown around (like “virtual reality” and “wearables”), if you are looking to stay ahead of the competition and grow your business this year, these are 7 tech trends that will make you more competitive in 2017.

Security

Security breaches and identity theft have been plaguing businesses and consumers for years, and the hacks are only getting worse. In 2017, trust and security will be paramount. As consumers do more day-to-day things online or from mobile devices, security will be a top concern for consumers.

Your number one priority this year should be to look at the security of your website, databases, applications, and data to ensure you are not susceptible to a data breach. Such a breach isn’t just expensive – it could be a PR nightmare for your business.

READ: Is Your Website a Sitting Duck for Hackers? Cybersecurity Best Practices

Reliability

Making sure your products and services are reliable sends a strong message to consumers. It builds trust with your customers.

Reliability means making sure your system is scalable, so that when users and orders suddenly increase, your system doesn’t crash. It means users are able to log on to your website or use your application without fear that connectivity will be slow or features won’t work. It also means that if there is a problem, users or customers know they can rely on your customer support to resolve the issue.

Today’s users expect technology to work right the first time and to load right away. When it doesn’t, they expect the problem to be fixed or addressed right away. Your reputation depends on being reliable.

Incredible user experiences

“Throw things out there and see what sticks” is not a good practice for doing business in 2017. The consumer expectation is way too high – especially when it comes to technology. If a product is inferior, it won’t fly with consumers because they already have a certain level of expectation. And first impressions are everything. If your tech product doesn’t work on the first try, most users aren’t willing to give it a second chance.

Your products and applications need to be well researched before they are built. They need to be tested and designed with the user in mind and have UX and UI principles in place. In 2017, incredible user experiences will continue to be an expectation.

READ: Good Design Is … 8 UI/UX Design Principles to Make Your Next Project Even Better

Simplicity

Here’s another thing that won’t fly with users in 2017: complicated products. People don’t have the time or patience to learn how to use your app, website, or software. Consumers expect very simple and usable products. Things they can use intuitively on the first, maybe second try. If yours is not simple and intuitive, they will move onto one that is.

Connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) will become even more prevalent in 2017, especially with home devices. Think about all the things you can control with Amazon Echo. We will see more products that are connected and can be controlled through mobile devices or by voice command.

We will also see an increase in the adoption of automated home systems. If your business offers home products or products that have the potential for connectivity and automation, jump on this trend! Just remember that security is going to be important. Security should be in place to protect users against hackers who might gain access through wifi or directly through the connected devices or systems.

Beyond IoT, connectivity in 2017 will also mean connecting people to the things or services they need. For example, using a product like Salesforce Communities to connect passionate customers to a community of likeminded people (who all support and love your product). It also means connecting users to the services they need – like Uber does with drivers and passengers. Or like concierge medicine connects patients to resources and physicians.

Customer support automation

Automated customer support and artificial intelligence are going to be key in 2017. People have high expectations when it comes to technology. They expect your product to be up and running perfectly all the time. They also expect support right away when things don’t work.

But staffing a customer support desk in order to provide that kind of support is expensive. Customer support automation doesn’t just make sense. It will help reinforce trust and reliability in your company and its products.

For B2B businesses, capitalizing on artificial intelligence in order to support your customer’s customer is going to be huge.

Data

Most businesses spent 2016 harnessing big data by setting up business intelligence systems and collecting all their data in one place. This year, businesses who want to get ahead will need to make data the foundation of almost everything they do. Business intelligence works wonders, but only if the data is prepared and set-up properly. Whether it’s Salesforce, Tableau, or another business intelligence solution, if you spent the money on BI, making data the foundation for every decision you make will make you a smarter, more efficient, and more reliable company.

These are the overarching tech trends we see as key to fueling growth in 2017. The theme is technology with a purpose. If that means pulling the trigger and finally investing in a custom technology solution you’ve been thinking about, download our whitepaper on preparing a strong request for proposal (RFP).

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