The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly changing our world, both personal and business. For those who don't know - IoT literally means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the Internet, increasing the amount of data we store, share and move. Is YOUR business ready?
There are many technologies in the works for businesses that will capitalize on the IoT trend, digesting the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created every day to drive actionable insights using predictive modeling solutions - such as machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI.)
The best way to be prepared is by gaining a better sense of what data your business is producing and how to improve the quality of that data. Here’s a short checklist to get you started:
Digitize Your Organizational Structure
The first step towards preparing your business for the next big innovation in tech is documenting how your organization works. Key items to consider would be your workflows, business practices, strategy, methodology, org chart and role expectations.
Once that information is documented, it should be consolidated into a database that is accessible by all employees. Doing this allows any pertinent information related to the organization to be readily retrieved. When the time comes that you want to quickly identify which processes can be automated, adapted or optimized through the addition of new technology, you're already prepped to do so.
An example of what this looks like in practice is an internal wiki, that only employees have access to. Digitizing your organizational structure also bolsters transparency, which in turn strengthens employee trust, which is a win-win for everyone.
Beef Up Your IT Security
As we transition into IoT, the data you have will multiply exponentially and your chances of being attacked online will increase just as fast.
It's imperative that your IT security strategy is as current and up to date as possible with current security best practices and tools. If not, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to attacks.
Keeping pace with advances in the cyber security field is often difficult when your IT staff are bogged down by common maintenance tasks, such as help desk, software updates, etc. As a result many organizations are shifting to an IT Managed Service Provider to lessen the load on their in house IT team.
This allows the team to spend more time improving the company’s IT strategy, freeing up time to improve your security posture (if you have the internal expertise - otherwise be sure to outsource it) or attacking other important IT projects that may have been left on the back burner.
Digitize Your Communications System
The next area that you should look to digitize in preparation for the next big thing in IoT is your communications system.
With poor communication costing industries billions of dollars a year, ensuring that sure your communication tools are making your company’s communication more effective and efficient is a key component of your success.
Adopting unified cloud communications tools and services, such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), allows you to digitize your entire communications system and throw out that old land line. Integrating UCaaS into your organization also lets you track and manage data on how both your customers and employees communicate.
8x8, a popular cloud based unified communications solution is a good option for a wide range of businesses, including vertical industries that may have security and compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, FISMA and others.
Lastly, digitizing your communications system has the added benefit of getting rid of the high maintenance requirements that plague traditional communication systems.
Digitize Your Task Metadata
The last portion of your business you should digitize is the metadata associated with every significant task in your organization.
Task metadata refers to the data surrounding the execution of the task, rather than the data required for or produced as a function of the task. Examples include the length of time spent on a task, the number of resources utilized, and the financial cost.
Collecting and analyzing this data can provide major insight into what your organization is doing efficiently and what your business can improve on. You can then use these insights, as an example, to determine what your marketing spend should be, or which products you should try to sell more of.
The next generation of business tools will be able to use this data to automatically provide new insights and identify trends, allowing your company to decrease operational costs, optimize overall production, and optimize workflows - fully embracing the notion of “work smarter, not harder”.
Once you've digitized each sector of your business, you're more than ready to take full advantage of the new tech tools that will change the way businesses operate, utilizing data to derive new insights and optimize your processes.
While some exciting new tools are around the corner, we'd also like to share with you some practical steps you can take TODAY to utilize existing technologies to improve your business. Take a look at our latest white paper "How to Use Technology to Improve Your Bottom Line" to learn more!