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For many, the start of a new year means time to begin working on a resolution. For entrepreneurs, a new year represents something else: a time to look at startup technology trends and make adjustments to how they are running their business.
The start of the new year is a perfect time for entrepreneurs to plan, strategize and review the business landscape. If business and market assessment is part of your routine at the start of 2017, here are six technology trends that you’ll want to observe.
- Cloud services become ubiquitous
Software-as-service has gained steam over the past few years. Almost every business now uses some form of cloud service, and startups in particular are heavy users.
Cloud services benefit startups more than most businesses because they allow instant scalability and business processes that previously were only available to larger enterprises. Now, startups can get Fortune 500-grade quality for just about anything for a low monthly fee.
In particular, cloud storage has become universal.
A SurePayroll survey found that 85 percent of small businesses now use a cloud storage provider.
As this statistic supports, most startups can ill-afford disaster recovery setups that basically come standard with all cloud storage options.
- Video chat becomes the norm
Business relationships are key for startups, and that means face-to-face contact over email or phone. Yet, startups are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to travel budgets, in most cases.
Thankfully, there is video chat. Etiquette rules aside, most professionals are now comfortable and familiar with the video chat medium enough that holding meetings over chat is a viable possibility.
New real-time communication services such as those provided by video chat company Agora.io make it easy for startups to hold virtual meetings with coworkers, clients and partners without the quality issues that sometimes befall consumer services like Skype and Facebook Messenger. This makes video chat a compelling form of communication in 2017.
- Virtual workers go mainstream
Another startup trend to keep an eye out for this year is the rise of remote workers. The gig economy isn’t just for Uber drivers and content marketers, and startups are increasingly using video chat, collaboration platforms and cloud services for gluing together contractors and remote workers for better employment flexibility and selection.
Millennials are particularly receptive to working remotely and as freelance contractors, which is great since they’re slowly taking over the workforce. The option to work remotely is important for many millennials, and it is a perk that startups can take advantage of in order to acquire the right talent and keep them happy.
- Big data for small biz
We all know big data is supposed to rule the world. Currently, it only really benefits large enterprises, but that’s changing, and 2017 is the year that startups get in on the act beyond niche applications.
The cloud is part of the reason for this trend. Cloud services such as small-business CRM vendor, Agile CRM, help startups get in on the big data trend fast by making it easy to use business data. Companies like ClearStory Data also make big data approachable for startups, and there are other cloud services such as KISSMETRICS that make data-based decisions approachable.
- Mobile will rule the world
Mobile already rules the world, and many startups are based on this fact. Even those startups that are not mobile-based will find it good business practice to focus on mobile opportunities in 2017.
Roughly half of all small business will have a mobile app by 2017, according to B2B research company Clutch, and 70 percent of startup online traffic will come from mobile.
The top drivers for this mobile focus are improved customer service, increased sales and better competitiveness, Clutch found.
- Mobile ads will rule advertising
Finally, mobile advertising will completely take over startup advertising spend.
Over the last two years, mobile usage has exceeded desktop usage; we only need to look at our friends and colleagues to know this is true. Consumers now use mobile for reading, banking, shopping, browsing and just about everything else that once was done through a computer. This makes mobile the place for advertising, too.
Brands worldwide will spend roughly $100 billion on mobile advertising in 2017, according to ZenithOptimedia. Startups will want to make sure they get in on the act.
There are other trends, of course, but these are six of the most important for startups. While you’re taking stock and plotting your next move as a founder, make sure your plans factor in these above technology trends.