The Optimized Office – 2014
There is an ever-increasing array of office technology available for streamlining processes and providing quality data, much of which is faster and easier used than ever before. Some of it has been around, in one form or another, for a while now, unifying operations and impacting business decisions.
As office technology improves, we are beginning to see a new attitude emerging, moving away from ‘nice to have but not essential’ to ‘critical to operations’ school of thought.
Smaller businesses with tighter budgets are becoming able to access the technology to implement workflow processes and access data which was previously only available to large organizations and this access will be a real game-changer for them in 2014.
Amy Harris, Community Manager for business website Expert Market, discusses the top office technology trends for 2014.
Migration to Cloud Computing
Although cloud computing has increased in popularity over the last five years or so, 2014 will see more businesses adopt some form of the technology as owners become increasingly aware of the benefits.
The ability to lower costs associated with software upgrades and hardware components coupled with the numerous IT hours that can be saved are attractive benefits in themselves.
Combine these with the increased use of mobile devices and the cloud opens up a whole new range of effective working possibilities. Now you can have easy but secure access to data from a home office or on the move via smartphone or tablet.
Streamlining Processes & Eliminating Human Error
Automation of back office processes is set to grow in 2014. The integration of document management systems will go much further in creating a paperless office.
Easy access to precise information required by key personnel and the ability to locate and communicate with them, whatever they’re doing and wherever they are, will make tasks easier for them and increase productivity for the company.
The repetitive tasks and processes required in office work are well known to be the most prone to human error and can seriously damage an organization’s reputation and profits.
Automating office tasks is a collaborative measure rather than an attempt to take humans out of the equation, combining human direction with technological precision and control for consistently accurate results.
Big Data, Big Decisions
Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources. Never before has so much data been available to businesses, but it comes in all shapes and sizes.
Today marketers seek to enhance customer experience across numerous devices, web applications, social platforms and face-to-face interactions. If collecting and controlling this information seems impossible, it is – especially without an army of statistical analysts kept on staff to unravel it all and work out what it means for the business.
Now analyzing complex, multi-structured information can be automated and customized. Tracking such things as key performance indicators, trends in business spending and cash flow, customer experience and staff performance can now be cost effective to large and small business allowing innovation, expansion and planning as never before.
The Mobile Office
It’s becoming increasingly important to be able to work while mobile and although laptops will remain popular throughout 2014, tablet PCs are set to become important business accessories.
Developers will work to provide the necessary features including longer battery life, better screens, Internet access at all times and in all locations and the ability to connect with other devices.
Developers are already realizing the importance of using several devices and are creating cross-device software. Software providers will be forced to follow suit and allow their programs to be downloaded to multiple devices without charging more.
New Skills Required
Cutting edge technology will continue on its journey to reach new levels of ingenuity in 2014 but now it will no longer be seen as exclusive to big corporations.
The ability to customize performance to suit requirements and budgets is beginning to level the playing field. A company’s IT infrastructure will be seen as a crucial component of its competitive advantage, touching every aspect of day-to-day operations.
Those who try to continue with outmoded manual tasks, thinking them sufficient support for their most critical operations will find themselves lagging behind, and the longer they leave it the more difficult it will be to catch up.
Skills required for office staff will have to change in order to manage the new technology emerging. Likewise, new and ongoing training programs will be developed to accommodate.