Here’s what your Chicago SMB can learn from 5 IT services and trends

Technology is evolving at lightning speed. New innovations are changing the way businesses engage with customers and generate revenue. Here are five ways your Chicago business can use different IT services and trends to grow — and real-world examples of brands who already use this latest tech.

1. Use cloud computing to manage data

More and more companies in the Chicago area are storing their data in the cloud. If this is something you are not currently doing, now’s a good time to move your files and documents to a virtual environment.

Cloud storage provides you with plenty of benefits. First, you can free up server space in your office and reduce disk capacity in your data center. Second, you can optimize security by storing your information in a safe, secure place, away from your business premises.

Cloud IT services can also provide you with a lifeline in the event of an emergency. For example, if hackers access your data or a natural disaster damages your IT infrastructure, you can expect to experience some serious downtime.

Staff won’t be able to access data, process payments, or help customers — and these things could have a major impact on your business. In fact, research shows that the total cost per minute for an unplanned outage could be as much as $17,244.

Cloud computing, however, lets you access information from any device, wherever you are in the world.

All the big brands use cloud storage to keep their data safe — like Google.

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2. Use predictive analytics software to forecast the future

The latest predictive analytics software lets you forecast future trends in your business, so you can make quick decisions and solve problems before they happen. These IT services provide you with valuable intelligence into your workflows, customers, and sales pipelines. The result? More accurate data that you can rely on.

Nestle is just one example of a company that uses predictive analytics to improve their day-to-day operations. The popular food brand utilizes supply chain forecasting to make accurate predictions in its production warehouses, which are located in 194 countries around the world.

Before using analytics software, Nestle used to make predictions based on historical sales records. Now, they can track products as they move through the supply chain — from production to point of sale.

Supply chain forecasting has proved lucrative for Nestle. This technology boosted the sales precision in one of their factories by 9 percent, according to research.

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3. Use collaborative tools to improve productivity

Collaborative IT services help you boost productivity in the office. These programs let your employees access, edit, and share documents in one place — reducing the need for multiple pieces of software. Consequently, employees can work on projects together anywhere in the world.

Many of the world’s biggest companies use the tool, Microsoft SharePoint, which stores data in the cloud and streamlines communication and collaboration. In fact, more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use this program as part of Microsoft Office 365. These companies include NASCAR and Qantas.

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4. Use artificial intelligence to optimize your business

Artificial intelligence — or AI — is changing the game. This new technology simulates human intelligence and automates many of the tasks that you just don’t have time to complete yourself. Once limited to the pages of sci-fi novels, AI is now a reality — and more companies in Chicago and around the world are using it.

Take Uber, for example. Recently, they submitted a patent for a new technology that detects whether its customers have consumed alcohol by monitoring their smartphone behavior. This innovation could help drivers decide whether they want to accept or refuse an intoxicated passenger.

There are many examples of other successful companies using AI. Amazon and Google, for example, use the latest AI in their popular smart speaker systems, Amazon Echo and Google Home. These products emulate human behavior and provide real-time information to customers.

5. Use network monitoring to improve your IT systems

Outdated and slow computer systems can have a massive impact on your business. This is where network monitoring comes in. Companies that use this technology can prevent outages and cyber attacks by tracking and maintaining their IT infrastructure and components on a regular basis.

Big companies like Apple and Amazon use network monitoring to detect threats, keep their hardware and software up to date, and improve efficiency.

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These five IT services and trends are changing the way companies in Chicago operate. From cloud storage to artificial intelligence, the latest tech will help you advance your business, drive profit, and generate new leads.

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