Australian businesses are looking at an interesting but potentially volatile 2024. A slew of advanced technology is set to transform many sectors, with generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) continuing its disruption. We look at six SMB tech trends that will be particularly significant.
Australia’s small and medium businesses (SMBs) have had a challenging past twelve months, but there may be more pain to come. The International Monetary Fund forecasts slowing growth in Australia, with risks from high inflation, global uncertainty and climate-related shocks.
To navigate these choppy waters, Australian businesses will need to keep an eye on emerging technologies and try to stay ahead of the curve.
The following six SMB tech trends will be particularly significant:
1. Transparent, tech-driven supply chains
A robust, agile supply chain is critical for business success. Advanced ERP solutions based on AI and blockchain will help make complex networks much more transparent and resilient.
Many SMBs still work off inadequate systems, such as ancient legacy systems or spreadsheets. They don’t have stock visibility and can’t guarantee fulfilment – a serious business risk in volatile times.
Those who invest in technology that gives them transparency and real-time data will best position themselves to survive future volatility and take advantage of opportunities in 2024.
2. Composable capabilities in the Cloud
The cloud isn’t just a data haven, it’s the crucible where modern business strategies are forged. As trust in cloud technology grows, SMBs can leap towards streamlined operations and data-driven decisions.
Gartner sees industry cloud platforms addressing industry-relevant outcomes by combining software, platform and infrastructure-as-a-service with composable capabilities. This composability will give businesses the adaptability and agility to respond to disruption.
3. Precise data drives better decisions
The world is inundated with data. Collecting it is easy, but storing, sorting and processing it remains challenging. Precision is needed for data to be useful, with real-time analytics and insightful data processing.
Cloud-based solutions are ideal for SMBs to manage it, providing data privacy compliance, higher security, and centralising information so it’s accessible and can be used to generate valuable insights. This ensures every decision made is not just timely but astute.
4. Getting a crystal clear grip on cashflow
Clarity over costs and financial forecasting remains a major headache for many SMBs. Research shows that managing cashflow is a top priority for 85 percent of small business owners. But to reach the next stage of growth, they need certainty and complete transparency in their operations.
2024 will see a surge in SMBs adopting ERP software that takes a much more holistic approach than a basic accounting package. Having real-time clarity around their financial position with accurate future projections will make it much easier to undergo digital transformation, plan expansion into new markets and access external investment.
5. Warehouses get mobile and agile
Mobility is not a luxury but the lifeblood of modern warehousing and inventory operations. Warehouses play a critical role in supply chain, bridging the gap between production and distribution. They’re essential to providing a good customer service.
To ensure a seamless supply chain, warehouses need to be as efficient and agile as possible while also keeping a cap on costs. The way to do this is with mobile tools, where key operational tasks can be executed with a tap, swipe, and scroll. Real-time data is critical in a sector with increasing automation and robotics.
6. GenAI unlocks a wave of innovation
GenAI was the standout tech trend of 2023, with tools such as ChatGPT and Dall-E making advanced AI available to everyone, from businesses to individuals. As its potential unfolds, it’s poised to become the creative catalyst in the business arena.
For SMBs, this means a universe where data doesn’t just inform but inspires, leading to innovative product designs, optimised operational models and personalised customer experiences.
A capability previously only accessible to the big end of town is now in the hands of the smallest startup. As Gartner observes: “business users will have ubiquitous access to knowledge and technical skills that wasn’t possible before, heralding a new wave of productivity.”
In 2024, you should follow the SMB tech trends; successful Australian SMBs will not just ride the tech tide but be the tide. There is so much exciting potential out there, and businesses equipped with the right tools and technology will be able to take advantage. GenAI, analytics, smart cloud solutions and mobility will take us into a realm of continuous innovation and creativity.