Small Business

How Digital Technology Has Changed How We Do Business9 min read

May 6, 2021 7 min
How Digital Technology Has Altered the Way We Do Business

How Digital Technology Has Changed How We Do Business9 min read

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In the early 1940s, when computer technology was in its infancy, it was hard to imagine the digital age’s impact on the future of how we do business.

Fast forward to today, digital technology has changed the world around us, not only in our personal lives but in how we do business.

In this article, we will discuss extensively the impact of digital technology on business today, highlighting the following;

  • Banking
  • Home working
  • Keeping up
  • IT support
  • Internet of things
  • Digital payments
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Accounting
  • In the cloud
  • Gaming
  • Security
  • Human resources
  • The growth in digital products
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Getting Social

Banking

Banking dates back in a recognizable form to the late 13th century.

International Merchant Banks were set up to facilitate the transfer of funds worldwide. 

These institutions remained unchanged for centuries other than growing in number and increasing the types of service they provided.

It wasn’t until the late 20th and early 21st century that anything genuinely new happened. This came along with the incredible speed with which digital technologies were growing.

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The Internet

The invention of the World Wide Web, or the internet as we call it today, began in the mid-1990s.

It was a user-friendly network designed for sharing information. Its first fifteen years revolutionized business, changed communications, and fueled economic growth worldwide.

By the time Microsoft invented Internet Explorer, the demand for easy-to-use Internet browsers had led to the appearance of others, such as AOL (America Online), CompuServe, and Netcom. 

It wasn’t until the early 2000s that millions of businesses and homes were connected to the internet 24 hours a day via broadband.

This digital technology has continued to evolve, along with others connected to it, such as the advances in hardware, including increasingly more powerful computers and mobile devices – laptops, tablets, phones, and even watches.

This digital technology has changed how we do business and will continue to do so in the future.

Home Working

Before the internet, it would have been unimaginable for most people to work from home.

Now our online connection allows us to communicate using email or via text, voice, or face-to-face message, using messaging software.

The increasing need for businesses and other groups of people to hold remote meetings has caused a surge in the number of programs designed to facilitate this.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, and many others; allow us to see one another as we talk, share documents, and record meetings.

We can review what was said, by who, when, and in what context. This makes them very useful business tools.

Keeping Up

Using the latest technologies allow businesses to stay ahead or at least keep up with their competitors.

Everything today is about having the things we want now, which translates to the world of work.

Employers expect results of the highest quality and in the shortest possible time from their employees. 

One of the most significant downsides to the speed by which technology changes is the difficulty of keeping up.

As soon as you’ve implemented one thing, something newer takes place.

This can be problematic for businesses on two fronts – the expense of upgrading hardware and software and training personnel to use it.

IT Support

A new role has sprung up in businesses of all sizes that require a single person or an entire team to keep the software running smoothly.

They are challenged daily by cybercriminals that target cyber technologies.

The IT support team ensures the latest legal legislation, software updates, hardware, and the best systems for the companies they work for.

Businesses rely heavily on their skills for good reasons.

The IoT or Internet of Things

We often take it for granted, but today the internet is everywhere.

Smart devices, from lightbulbs to our central heating system, all use the internet to function.

We are connected everywhere as these devices send and receive data to perform the functions we require of them. 

The ever-growing number of everyday objects being brought to life is astonishing, and it must be remembered that these devices require a whole infrastructure behind them.

The device itself, the software it uses, the secure data storage it produces, the programming that permits it to function simply for the end-user, and so on.

All of this has created the need for people skilled in these areas and is a market enjoying a booming increase at a truly supersonic rate. 

Within the workplace, smart devices are finding increasing popularity. It allows employees to stay comfortable and work more efficiently.

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Digital Payments

With the development of online banking, it’s possible to make immediate purchases, receive payments or move multiple currencies freely worldwide.

Payments for goods and services can be made digitally using a smartphone instead of a credit or debit card.

Apple Pay even lets you do the same thing with an Apple Watch.

The manufacturers say this is more secure than using a card because the devices don’t hold your payment details; they facilitate the transaction. 

There has also been a surge in companies facilitating online transactions, such as PayPal, Stripe, WorldPay, MTN MoMo, and Wise.

They are not banks but provide a service that makes it easy to move money between accounts.

These have allowed businesses to make sales of their goods and services quickly and pay their vendors and employees wherever they are.

Cryptocurrency

As the world of Cryptocurrency grows, it is almost certain that it will soon have a more significant part to play in our day-to-day transactions.

Many banking organizations use blockchain to increase transaction speed and security.

However, they are slower at passing these benefits on to their customers.

In the future, this will hopefully change, and traditional banks will begin to compete with blockchain transactions.

Accounting

Along with the ability to accept and make payments digitally, you can keep all your business accounts online. 

Akaunting is an excellent example of this. It allows business owners to manage and maintain their accounting needs.

It cleverly adapts to all types of business with the addition of 200+ apps that offer a vast range of extra services.

One of the best parts about Akaunting’s product is that the basic package is completely free.

In the Cloud

There was, not so long ago, the need for businesses to maintain their digital records using computers with extensive amounts of memory and giant hardware servers.

These giant servers were either on-site or provided at a high cost by a third-party service remotely. 

With the invention of cloud data storage, it is now possible to benefit from simple software that facilitates keeping our digital records in the cloud.

The providers of cloud storage sell chunks of storage to users at low prices. 

Cloud storage can allow anyone with authorization to access the information.

This facilitates remote employees and widens the talent pool companies have to pick from.

It allows companies to recruit globally and not just local talents. 

Gaming

Year after year, gaming is increasing its revenue over movies and sports combined, and the growth is set to continue.

The eSports market will be valued at around 1.08 billion USD in 2021. This is set to rise to an estimated 1.62 billion by 2024.

Businesses enjoying these revenues include not only the makers of the games but advertisers, sponsors, publishers, merchandisers, and streaming platforms.

Security

One of the most significant concerns with the advances in technology is security.

Cybercrime is an ever-present and ever-growing threat to any business that uses online technology. Cloud storage, digital banking, IoT devices, email, and so on can open a company to attack.

Cyber-security continues to evolve as criminals find new and ingenious methods to access sensitive data.

Businesses must keep up with these changes to protect themselves and their clients. 

Human Resources

Today, business is no longer local, as even small companies can access global markets.

Another benefit is recruiting the best candidates for a job, no matter where they are in the world.

Specialist software has been developed to help HR departments select the best candidates.

It does this by filtering the applicants with regard to set requirements that are input into it.

This could be a particular skill set, qualifications, years in the role, and so on, saving hours, if not days, of sifting through often 100ths of applications manually. 

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Online freelancing platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiver can help HR managers outsource work to qualified individuals at highly competitive rates. 

The Growth in Digital Products

One business area that has seen a massive boom in sales is digital products.

Many people have recognized the demand for digital items and have cashed in.

Artists and graphic designers can offer their work as printables for clients to print off at home. Writers or people with authority in any given subject are writing e-books.

Even regular authors sell in digital mediums, and audiobooks have become increasingly popular.

Many businesses offer e-books for training purposes, and the growth in online courses has been enormous, partly fueled by the Covid-19 crisis.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has started to impact many sectors.

Tech like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Home is already a part of our lives.

The likelihood is that this type of technology will soon become part of our everyday work environment too.

Getting Social

Social media has also become a part of many businesses.

It’s a powerful marketing tool that most companies cannot afford to overlook.

It allows them to target a very specific demographic, getting their products and services in front of a niche audience far more likely to buy what they are offering.

It also allows for split testing and maintaining a budget that can be carefully controlled.

Final thoughts

There is no denying that digital technology has altered the way we do business in the world today.

With everything demanded now, our need for speed increases our reliance on this tech and will only raise the demand for innovations in the future. 

As incredible as these advances are, the implications for data security, both personal and financial, are still a concern.

For businesses to thrive and stay competitive, they need to keep up with technological advancements. 

Technology has, for the most part, made our lives more convenient. Still, it has created many new jobs and forever altered our business.