5 Types of Technology All Entrepreneurs Need Access to in the Digital Age

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To say that we live in a “digital age” might seem a bit cliche, but there’s no denying that the internet and social media have revolutionized the way we interact. Survey data from the Pew Research Center shows that 81 percent of Americans use the Internet every day 28 percent say they are online “almost all the time”.

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This dependency on digital tools carries over into the business world as well. The pandemic has accelerated online shopping trends, and countless businesses are relying on SaaS and PaaS tools to keep their operations running smoothly.

For entrepreneurs, this reliance on technology creates new opportunities, but it also requires that startups employ the right technical tools and technologies themselves. Think of this as a starter kit.

1. Cloud Native Technology

“Cloud-native technology is no longer a ‘good thing’ – it’s absolutely necessary,” Karan Nangru, Founder of the cloud-native consulting and solutions company StatusNeo, shared with me during a recent email exchange. “Cloud-native technology offers speed, scalability, and elasticity that businesses of all sizes can leverage to their advantage. The ability to build and run cutting-edge solutions, hosted in public, private or hybrid cloud environments, leveraging containers, microservices, immutable infrastructure, APIs and serverless computing are now mainstream.”

Large companies and entrepreneurs have a common focus – business transformation. In most cases, technology enables this transformation, while cloud-native platform services accelerate it.

Related: It’s time to prepare for a multi-cloud future

2. Marketing tools

The digital age has introduced a variety of new marketing techniques, and successful entrepreneurs need to leverage each of these tools if they want to reach their customers. Social media, email campaigns, SEO and PPC are a significant source of traffic and customers for brands.

Of course, many startups don’t have the financial resources to hire an advertising agency. The good news is that marketing tools make managing every task easier and less expensive. For example, HootSuite allows startups to schedule social media posts weeks in advance, while Mailchimp helps entrepreneurs create and manage email campaigns.

Modern marketing tools take a holistic approach, offering campaign analytics and integration with other cloud platforms. Many even offer tutorials and guides to help your team implement best practices that will drive better ROI for your campaigns.

3. Machine-driven data monitoring

One of the greatest advantages of modern technical tools is their ability to collect data. By learning more about your customers or the efficiency of your processes, you can make important changes to your business to improve your profitability.

Data acquisition is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. That’s why many startups are turning to machine learning tools that automatically monitor data trends and provide insights to unveil what the numbers actually mean.

In an email conversation, Victor Zhang, co-founder of the analytics monitoring company, said, orbiter, explained, “Machine learning software enables analysis of normal behavior for metrics within your system. Using this baseline, machine learning modeling can also determine if any changes that are taking place are abnormal. These anomalies trigger proactive alerts to keep you aware of important trends impacting your organization’s ecosystem. By transforming numbers and data into meaningful information, entrepreneurs can act quickly to improve their business.”

4. Customer relationship management software

Since customers are so important, it should come as no surprise that an entire segment of tech tools is dedicated to them. Customer relationship management (CRM) software gives businesses more choices in how they manage these important relationships.

CRMs collect a variety of information that can help your sales team convert leads into sales or improve customer retention metrics. For example, by tracking customer touchpoints with your brand, sales reps can know which prospects are most likely to convert, so they can prioritize customer engagement accordingly.

When used effectively, CRM tools can make a huge difference to your bottom line. A opinion poll of Capterra found that 47 percent of CRM users said the software had “significantly improved” retention and customer satisfaction.

Related: The Best CRM Software for 2020

5. Basic Automation

There are only 24 hours in the day, but entrepreneurs often feel like they need an extra hour or three to finish everything that’s on their plate. This is especially true for solopreneurs who are tasked with running an entire company on their own.

While there are many tasks that are essential in any startup, many of them are mundane, routine activities that don’t contribute that much to the growth of your business. This makes automation tools or the use of a virtual assistant essential for overworked entrepreneurs.

Automation tools can help with everything from tracking expenses and sending appointment reminders to creating contracts or managing client onboarding. Indeed, WorkMarket’s 2020 In(Sight) report found that 78 percent of executives think automation could help them save three hours a day — or roughly 360 hours over the course of the year.

With strategic automation, you can free up significant time for tasks that make a greater contribution to your bottom line.

Use the right tools to get the right results

No matter what industry you’re trying to make a splash in, the right technology tools will make all the difference for your startup. With software that enables collaboration, helps you gain better insight into the status of your business, or simply automates basic tasks, you have the resources it takes to grow meaningfully.

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