Standing still as a business has never been an option, but the breakneck speed at which technology advances makes it feel like a constant race to remain competitive. There is also an array of tech to invest in that can improve every aspect of any enterprise. However, one wrong move, this richness of choices also has the potential to drain any available cash and cause a wide range of short or even long-term business difficulties.
Finding the best transformational options and integrating them seamlessly into business operations relies on having innovative business decision-makers on a team. These qualified business administrators are the key to gaining a solid return on investment and making changes that match an organization’s current needs and goals.
The double-edged sword of advancement
Emerging technology provides incredible solutions in the business world and dynamic ways to do things quicker, better, cheaper, more sustainably, and with less waste. The perfect example is the increasing number of ways to automate processes, saving time and money and reducing errors.
Alongside that exciting ‘new world’ are risks that companies must be highly conscious of. That includes security, of course. Cybercrime figures and data breach case studies are constant reminders of how reliance on digital information to support your business growth brings many new responsibilities.
There is also the constant possibility that investing in the latest systems, software, devices, and equipment can prove to be a poor investment. For instance, what if transitioning to a new way of doing business — or a new operational process — takes too much time to action? Many companies are on a knife’s edge regarding their competitive edge and cash flow. Even the slightest business interruption can be problematic, if not disastrous.
Worse still is the prospect of embracing a category of emerging tech and making changes, only to find the expensive new hardware or software does not fully meet one’s needs, or quickly becomes obsolete, not fit for purpose, and in need of a costly update.According to one study, 50% of all enterprises waste 10% of the money they spend on such developments as new software, cloud systems, and tech services they do not use. Also, the bigger the company, the more likely the organization will experience costly software delivery, licensing, and functionality issues.
What business admin skills are crucial?
Traditionally, the most highly prized managerial candidate may well have been someone with specialist knowledge in their industry.
The relentless march of progress demands that the most ambitious organizations attract and recruit visionaries, critical thinkers, analysts, communicators, and problem solvers who can look well beyond their employer’s day-to-day operations. In summary, to make progress and make changes, businesses need senior personnel who can ‘see the bigger picture’ and map the most assured route to success by harnessing emerging technology well.
A highly skilled business administrator in a team can mitigate many risks regarding digital transformations and adopting new tech. That includes having someone fully aware of how data can be used for careful evaluation and testing before jumping into a substantial-tech investment.
The need for business leaders who can think creatively and critically can mean looking for management candidates with a broader skill set and experience. Including those with qualifications based on the latest business insights, knowledge, and personal and professional abilities.
To become a ‘well-rounded’ professional who can fully embrace the technological age, one popular option is to enroll in an accredited online MBA program. St. Bonaventure University’s online MBA course is specifically designed to endow students with the confidence and competence to slot into diverse business environments, and quickly show results from their understanding in innovation and leadership. This includes focusing on superb decision-making and a different way of thinking to embrace a global mindset.
Management preparation for emerging tech adoption
With the right skills in a leadership team, there is far more potential for an organization to optimize the latest technology in a way that dovetails with genuine business benefits. That is in sharp contrast to spending on gadgets, gizmos, software, and systems to follow competitors unthinkingly or because it’s the latest ‘big thing’ in tech.
Instead, using drilled-down data and other business intelligence, the correct developments can be sourced, commissioned, and integrated into a business as smoothly as possible.
Research and proper consideration from high-caliber administrators ensure that planned changes are tied closely to business strategy, processes, culture, and resources. It is also likely that integrating a new development would be designed to dismantle any obstacles or gaps that could become detrimental.
Big data analytics
This is one of the significant technological advancements that businesses have already begun to embrace fully.
It appears that by 2023, 92% of the world’s digital leaders reported that their companies have successfully adopted cloud technology. Second place in the most common technology investment was the ability to optimize big data analytics (61% of leaders).
This makes sense — as moving as much of a business on to the cloud as possible brings vital security benefits. Also, it is natural that one of the most significant technological breakthroughs has been the ability to collect, store and analyze data from diverse sources, covering all aspects of life and business.
The best business leaders in any department or executive team will be ready to interpret and apply this data to support confident, evidence-based decision making within companies. For example, in marketing and sales, there are innovative strategies transforming business success, that are based on finding and analyzing data from such things as search histories, purchases and lifestyle. It enables the possibility of digging much deeper into customer behaviors and preferences.
Using data analysis, companies of all sizes can then make their outbound marketing far more automated, and highly personalized, greatly improving the outcomes. A good illustration of this in action is major online retailers recommended products to customers, based on their digital ‘fingerprints’. That is just one way a well-qualified business professional can use data analytics to support many of the other technological transformations that companies must consider to stay viable and competitive.
Data supported AI and machine learning
This is possibly the best known ‘disruptive technology’ that businesses are being compelled to consider, to survive and progress (this term refers to emerging tech that significantly alters the way that an industry sector or business operates).
AI and machine learning are used to automate repetitive tasks, and that can be successfully applied across many types of businesses, from massive manufacturers to small professional firms. Using AI relevant for a particular sector can save substantial time and resources and improve accuracy and efficiency. It is just important to pin down what is ‘relevant’.
This is a technological advancement that cuts across all aspects of life, such the increased ability of people to self-manage their health and fitness using wearable devices. AI-supported wearable tech is projected to be worth a stunning $180 billion by 2025, while back in 2018 it had an already impressive $35 billion global value.
So, how are the best business leaders and most visionary business graduates harnessing wearable tech to business growth?
First, there is greater potential to protect employee wellness using this emerging technology. This increases job satisfaction and workforce loyalty, as well as reducing absenteeism and recruitment activities.
However, there is also wearable tech that underpins improvements in productivity and performance. Add to this the possibilities provided by augmented reality (AR) tech, and you can ‘asset’ track key personnel, and explore such developments as gesture control and risk management for tasks linked to hazardous situations.
Using a voice-activated virtual assistant is clearly a fast-growing trend, leading to the potential for this tech market alone to be worth $11.3 billion by 2024.
The big question many companies face is how to integrate AI, machine learning and voice activation into ways to effectively automate processes. The answer is a diverse range of business improvements, such as voice-controlled robotics in warehouses.
However, this emerging tech is also being used by innovative business decision makers to transform their organization’s interaction with its customers. For example, there is work underway to enhance already increasingly used website chatbot and LiveChat features, to be voice-activated customer service features.
Banking has been quick to adapt this tech to digital interaction with customers via their mobiles and other devices. Voice technology applications (VTAs) are being used to enable customers to get the location of ATMs and account balances and to authorize transactions. There is no need for personnel to be involved, and the customer gets what they need quickly, without waiting on a phone line or clicking around a website. This is just one of the fascinating business implementations possible using VTAs.
Augmented and virtual reality
This is a great example of how emerging technologies can be existing developments that are finding innovative applications. AR and virtual reality (VR) have been features of the gaming world for some time, but software engineers, business leaders and other visionaries are finding ways to use them as a commercial solution, or competitive advantage.
An illustration of this in practice is the way manufacturing companies can now accurately and precisely visualize and simulate products and processes. Doing this in the virtual realm provides the opportunity to save money on physical prototyping, and it makes research and development faster, less expensive and more error-free.
Building on this, there is also the option to create product prototypes using 3D printing, to make less abstract ways to test and evaluate R&D projects. The combination of techniques creates plenty of scope for evaluating product performance, and even the reaction of target customers to such things as the aesthetics of the product.
All of that relies on the company having the correct business intelligence to support AR, VR and 3D printing, which in turn depends on project teams consisting of problem solvers and confident decision makers.
AR and VR for training and maintenance
This is another example of how this emerging technology is transforming the business world, with the support of business administrators who specialize in such things as HR and health and safety. Using visualization and simulation tech, it is possible for staff to be trained in all manner of things in the virtual world. They can also practice and rehearse tasks, in the safety of an IT suite.
For example, maintenance crews can perfect time-sensitive and hazardous repairs that they need to do on remote and problematic structures, in advance with no immediate safety risks to contend with.
The business intelligence reports that come out of this can then inform the management team about a wide range of matters too, such as areas of concern, or staff competencies that could make the tasks more streamlined and safer.
AI, VR and AR for healthcare
Healthcare — a huge market in the US — offers another great example of how emerging tech can be harnessed to solve major threats and pressures, including the strains caused by an ageing population. It has turned to emerging technology for answers with greater commitment than probably any other sector.
This includes using tech to find ways to monitor patients, and administer treatments, in a far more intuitive and responsive way, such as non-invasive smart implants to help manage disease risks, collect real-time data and manage chronic conditions.
However, healthcare is also a big adopter of AR and VR, based on data and AI that can enable it to do specific tasks. For instance, surgeons can practice tricky and high-risk procedures virtually, to be more adept and swifter when the patient is on the table. Also, patients are increasingly able to access professional healthcare and support from the comfort of their home, as virtual consultations become more feasible and acceptable.
Drones and other autonomous vehicles
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are increasingly commonplace — from the military to companies delivering goods to homes using carrier drones. Also, the prospect of driverless cars, buses and delivery vans has been discussed and tested for some time.
There has been a substantial move to apply some of this technology to assist drivers, however, rather than solely focusing on the creation of autonomous vehicles (AVs). For instance, using AI to create safety features within cars to make driving a more pleasant experience.
However, specialist business intelligence professionals are part of project teams looking at a multitude of ways to use this ever-advancing technology for other applications. It includes ways to transform tasks carried out by on and off-road vehicles used in law enforcement and the military, but also agriculture and forestry for instance. As one report mentions, there are time, money, safety, and efficiency benefits to be gained, by having “minuscule sensors embedded in their compartments that extract and communicate data into software that helps these vehicles react properly in real-world scenarios.”
Data from ‘highly intelligent vehicles’ can also then be analyzed for further change and improvement.
Cybersecurity and emerging technologies
The best qualified and most innovative business administrators know that with all these digital transformations and new tech comes an even greater need to delve into crisis management techniques. This is not just about what could go wrong — such as a substantial data breach — but also how business continuity can be protected, and any financial risks avoided.
At the core of this would be a continuously updated cybersecurity strategy, and data recovery procedures in the event of a serious issue.
In some organizations, this makes the chief information security officer one of the most crucial figures in their management team. According to the EY 2023 Global Cybersecurity Leadership Insights Study, these particular business administration professionals are not only taking steps to reduce cyber vulnerability. They are also using their cyber expertise to improve the value of technology spend and help to create collaboration and trust.
What does the future hold?
Much of the emerging technology and ‘data power’ referenced above is still in its infancy. Its full potential has yet to be fully exploited. There are some universal truths, however.
One is that much of this tech has the potential to make businesses more streamlined, agile and profitable. The second is that it relies on having business leaders able to “separate signal from noise and embrace technology’s evolution as a tool to revolutionize business.” For many companies, that demands serious consideration of adding experienced and ambitious MBA graduates to their talent pool.