No-one could have failed to notice how technology is continually and rapidly evolving. Anyone able to look back over the past 20 to 30 years will see how much their lifestyle has changed in that time thanks to scientific advances. The same is true in business. Sometimes we take current technology for granted, and may forget how just a short while ago everyday items like smartphones, digital cameras and even the internet didn’t exist.
Technology has always been an integral part of business, from the industrial revolution onwards. The modern money-making era is dependent on the use of machines and as these have progressed and developed, so have the businesses that rely on them. Indeed, the development of technology is often driven by the needs of business. We can think of the mechanised loom, the steam engine, the motor car, the pocket calculator and the home computer, and beyond. Other than war, business is the main driving force behind technological development and if a business does not keep up with and use the latest technology, then you can be sure its competitors will.
Technology may be the product a business sells, or it may be used to manufacture that product in the most cost-efficient way. However, scientific advances have also changed the way that products are sold and services provided. In recent years, one of the major impacts of technology has been on communication, both between a business and its customers and within the business itself.
Internet and email now allow instant communication and the rapid digital transfer of documents, which has transformed the way many businesses work. More recently, the innovation of cloud computing allows documents to be worked on remotely by individuals all over the world, giving rise to the “virtual office.” Smartphones, tablets and laptops mean we can work from home, on the train or even on the beach. The other side of this is that many employees are working longer hours as a result, and the boundaries between our work and home lives are becoming increasingly blurred.
To maintain their high reliance on technology, many businesses now have their own dedicated server rooms in order to keep all their computer systems running smoothly, 24-hours a day. These may include a wide range of automated processes, as well as hosting the company website. These rooms require regular maintenance and updating, giving rise to dedicated companies offering a full server room fit out as well as a full range of trouble-shooting services.
The near future will see the internet of things, 3-D printing, artificial intelligence and increasingly sophisticated robotics impact upon the business world. It’s estimated that 65% of children currently entering primary school will eventually work in jobs that don’t yet exist. Office, admin, manufacturing and production jobs will decline in number, while computing, engineering, finance and business management roles will be more complex and in greater demand. Technology has already changed the way businesses are run almost beyond recognition over the past 50 years, but experts predict that the biggest changes may be yet to come.