2016 has long since passed and already SMEs are gearing up for a technological overhaul in 2017. 2016 played host to a plethora of new advancements, systems and operations for SMEs to adopt in order to grow their businesses. Now in the beginnings of 2017 we’re already seeing trends that could become a requirement for the future of business technology. So, what should you look out for as a SME in 2017? We have a few aspects we think will be at the forefront.

In with the old, out with the new

Tech TrendsOne thing that SMEs need to reign back on is jumping on the bandwagon of new technologies. Experts believe that in 2017 it is far better to place focus in long-standing technology that can constantly update rather than plummeting head first into the latest fad. All businesses should look at mobile. It has proven it’s not going anywhere and direct access to from consumers to the business via mobile is imperative. Mobile versus web presence is heavily disputed but overall mobile presence has left web outdated. Current numbers dictate this with 74% of people connecting to businesses via mobile than via web or computer based platforms. Obviously, this trend depends on the suitability of the business but should be a serious consideration for SMEs going forward.

No more false sense of security

With constant connectivity, comes constant threat of security breaches. Cyber security is said to be one of the most important aspects of any business in 2017. SMEs are specifically at risk as they are more likely to have weak or no security measures implemented for their confidential information or their consumers’ data. With numerous hackers exploiting the lack of understanding by SMEs, investment in measures to keep your business’ information is vital. Encrypt your communication and get the security systems needed depending on the nature of your SME. Or else it could cost you everything.

Head in the clouds

Cloud computing continues to rapidly advance, with numerous trends in the cloud computing sector alone, things are constantly updating to create easier connectivity, communication and collaboration. Collaboration is something key for 2017 and the best ways to be in constant collaboration is using cloud computing.

SMEs should be readily equipped with the necessary means to undertake collaboration across employees. Tablets and smartphone connectivity is a given but an interconnected workplace is only possible through well integrated cloud systems. Investing in a good service provider will minimise any loss of potential revenue on a daily basis. IBM’s Heidi Dethlof recently spoke on the matter stating, “a survey conducted among 3000 SMEs found that businesses who relied more on cloud solutions saw higher revenue growth, and more than twice as much profit as those who used fewer cloud services.”

Get busy crying, get busy buying

These days, a simple website with lacklustre information about your business is no longer enough for people to want to buy from you. Forbes Magazine recently made the case that that not only is content marketing on the rise but the personal story in the content is the real attention grabber.

People need to feel the way they are connecting with their company’s content is both emotional and understanding. They need a clear sense of identity from a company or product. If a business can get people emotional, it can get people buying into the story and the brand. So how does this relate to technology in 2017?

Well, the main factor that will make your clients feel at home with your SME is personalisation. Personalisation isn’t so much their name added at the top of an e-mail chain, instead it’s outright reaching out to consumers and buyers and getting to know them. Face to face interaction for their problems such as dedicated chatbots being available at all times instead of a simple phone-line to call for customer care. For example, an online retailer could better help customers purchase products with a chatbot but they could also add on more fun or functional aspects to engage with consumers. It’s these little tech investments that will make your SME stand out from the rest.