Futureproofed: Digital disruption and SMBs in 2017

All signs suggest that digital disruption will continue as a megatrend – radically changing accepted business models across all business sectors. Here we’ve handpicked some of the biggest emerging trends of 2017 that are most relevant to nimble-minded SMB owners.

As consumers discover, browse, interact, and buy from businesses on increasingly online, mobile, and social channels – digital touchpoints are the places to be where SMBs can shine and steal share.

Likewise, as data-driven, cloud-based, and remote-enabled technology reshapes what it is possible to do from a business operations point of view, SMB owners who are agile and adaptive enough toward the following tech and trends are best placed to play the edge ahead of their competitors.

Big data digs deeper

Data analytics will continue to be a fixture of the innovation economy. Applied to more and more sectors, data is proving to reveal important trends in demographics, population movements, customer preferences, climate, agriculture, commerce and traffic – just to name a few. Leveraged properly by organisations, these insights can be powerful tools to guide future development.

A word of caution – data without insight is noise. Expect to see a boom in data visualisation organisations in 2017 who help humanise, internalise, and make sense of big data for businesses.

The Internet of Things

To date, the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) has seriously outweighed the rollout of any associated tech, but in 2017 we’ll see some broad advancements in an array of industries. The energy sector will push towards the creation of a ‘smart grid’, supply chain and infrastructure management industries are toying with driverless vehicles on smart roads, while medical and emergency services see opportunity in communicative implants and patient observation.

Across retail, water resources, agriculture, and construction the IoT is set to slowly expand at scale into a number of sectors. This expansion is likely to be rapid, opening up a wide array of opportunities for SMBs – either by creating or maintaining IoT devices and services, or re-pivoting existing products and services to leverage emerging IoT technology.

On-demand, on point

On-demand services and brands have seen rapid growth – people are getting used to having everything anytime via their phone. From ridesharing and medicine supply, to food delivery, and on-demand accommodation, this market is only growing and moving into more niches in 2017. Imagining and implementing an on-demand capacity of your SMB could ride this wave if wise about it.

A grain of salt

While the particulars of this article may not transpire precisely as predicted, all signs suggest that, broadly speaking, the digital revolution is set to continue, broaden, and leave disruption in its wake – for SMB owners, the trick is to see disruption as a friend.