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The Top 6 Tech Trends that will Influence SMEs in 2017

Chatbots, collective intelligence and blockchain are among the major tech trends that will transform the way entrepreneurs manage their business in 2017. Entrepreneurs must be ready to seize the opportunities brought by these technological developments. Among these developments, six major trends may well disrupt the working methods of entrepreneurs in 2017 and in the years to come.

1. Chatbots and standalone interfaces

Autonomous interfaces, such as chatbots or virtual assistants, will also be integrated into different solutions that entrepreneurs use to manage and control their activities. These interfaces will radically change the way humans and computers interact with one another. While we used to use a keyboard or a mouse to interact with a PC, we can gradually talk to our systems or interact with them via gestural control functions based on movements of the hand, head or eyes. It is not just about simplifying the user experience, but also making it more enjoyable. These systems will operate autonomously and will have self-learning capabilities. Eventually,

2. Artificial and collective intelligence

The proliferation of data from all kinds of sensors and devices, as well as computer computing power, specialized analysis software and intelligent agents that are increasingly affordable and efficient, enable companies to take advantage of Big Data to develop their knowledge.

Solidarity between SMEs can become a force within the limits of their corporate data protection policies and individual rights laws. Sharing, for example, their computing power and their data in a structured way allow them to benefit from a wider and better information base from which they can draw more information. Like crowdsourcing, this rich database enables them to better understand customer behaviour and their needs, to offer them a suitable offer and to know in which sectors to invest.

3. Blockchain, or how to build trust in the digital age

Entrepreneurs also have an interest in determining whether the blockchain will affect their current business model. This innovative approach should in particular affect all professionals acting as intermediaries between two parties, such as lawyers, notaries, real estate or financial brokers. Blockchain is also expected to have an impact on the accounting practices of staff because it eliminates a significant portion of the workload currently inherent in this occupation, such as checking and recording transactions, remittances or payment bills.

4. Disruption of financial flows

The way people manage their money and transfer funds from one account to another has already begun a radical transformation: on the front-end side, “in-app” payment solutions (within the application itself ) Allow users to make one-click payments and purchase products via mobile devices or websites. Many applications already have this feature. On the other hand, back-end systems, such as accounting software, are hampered by their lack of user-friendliness and integration. For example, it is virtually impossible for companies to settle their bills in a single click or easily manage their financial transactions with their partners, suppliers and banks.

In 2017, more and more solutions will allow companies to establish a value chain of end-to-end payments with their suppliers and customers. These new methods of immediate and multichannel payment, anywhere and at any time, will be fully integrated into the financial accounting systems of the companies of tomorrow.

5. Platform-Based Infrastructure

In 2017, more and more SMEs will replace their standalone, on-site software systems with integrated software solutions running on international cloud platforms that offer their users a multitude of business applications and integrated services. Businesses will also benefit from mobile application platforms, such as the one offered by Apple’s MPP program. The main advantage of these platforms is that they offer innovative services and business software solutions to small businesses that they could not afford to afford five years ago. These types of cloud platforms democratize companies’ access to leading-edge applications as well as intelligent and scalable technologies. Thanks to them,

6.Emerging new services and professional profiles through the Internet of Things

SMEs will have to keep abreast of the new opportunities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT). Multiple data streams from a wide variety of sensors embedded in machines, vehicles, moving and stationary objects, clothing, or even human beings (for example, for medical monitoring purposes) Will provide them with valuable information that they can use to create a host of new services.

SMEs need to think about how to use these data flows to develop their business:

  • Mechanical companies will develop new services, such as predictive maintenance, for a wide range of technical infrastructures.
  • Logistics companies will be able to optimize the navigation of their fleets of trucks by drawing on traffic data from different sources, including “smart cities” (traffic lights, public voices, other vehicles, etc.).
  • Concierge services will develop a variety of monitoring services through New Intelligent Housing Technologies.
  • Distribution companies and merchants will connect to smart home appliances, such as refrigerators or similar devices to Amazon’s “Dash Button”, to supply their customers with products and services in an automatic and early manner.
  • Mobile medical services will be able to take advantage of a multitude of new devices to innovate (better management of elderly people living alone in their homes, etc.).

In 2017, all companies will have to change the way they look at themselves and see themselves as technological players. To remain competitive, they will have to take advantage of the opportunities offered by these developments and rethink practically every aspect of these more or less traditional methods of work. Thanks to these new technologies, administration tasks could soon become as simple as sending a text message to a friend, or be fully automated thanks to the self-learning capabilities of the machines. Instead of wasting their time in basic administrative procedures, entrepreneurs can focus more fully on developing their business while contributing to the development of their communities and economic growth.

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