2016 is here, bringing with it a host of new (and not so new) technologies which promise to make your business more efficient, more effective and cheaper to run. But which will you invest in? We take a look at 6 upcoming technologies we don’t think you can afford to miss out on …

Customer Relationship Management

2016 is already being touted by some as the ‘year of the customer’ so it makes sense that experts think businesses should be investing in CRM tools over the coming months. According to Emazzanti Technologies, who included CRM in its list of technologies which will help businesses gain an edge in 2016, currently 71% of small businesses don’t use CRM solutions, despite it being proven that a CRM can increase sales and improve customer relationships.

In its predictions for 2016, Nucleus Research suggests that it’s worth considering predictive CRM solutions which help businesses make best use of customer data to help support them and encourage future business.

Converged infrastructure

A growing number of businesses are saying goodbye to the traditional data centre structure and embracing converged infrastructure, which consolidates components such as networking, computing and storage onto one platform. Not only does converged infrastructure simplify your IT system, optimising it for the specific tasks your business needs and freeing up valuable time, it can help cut costs down.

Remote access

Most smaller businesses are still managing at least a few applications on local servers. However, it may be time to embrace remote access fully. Moving your applications and files on to the cloud is something more and more companies are embracing. Or, Emazzanti suggest that an effective way for companies to embrace remote access without moving to the cloud is using Windows Server 2012 with virtualisation.

Internet of Things platforms

The Internet of Things has grown for a number of years, but experts suggest that 2016 is the year it will really take off. Put simply, the Internet of Things refers to two or more devices being connected via the internet so they are able to communicate effectively and efficiently.  Data from Intel suggests that there will be a massive 200 billion smart objects able to be connected to each other by 2020. Businesses can make use of the internet of things in a number of ways from monitoring stock levels to tracking customer spending patterns.

Ambient User Experience

In its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016 report, Gartner acknowledges that “Designing mobile apps remains an important strategic focus in 2016”, but goes on to add that the leading edge of that design will be focused on customers’ behaviour journeys to provide an experience that flows across and exploits different devices, including IoT sensors and common objects such as cars.

Data visualisation tools

Still using spreadsheets to analyse your business data in Excel? 2016 might be the year you do things a bit differently. Data has become increasingly important to business in recent years and now drives many important decisions, so it’s important that it is presented as effectively as possible. Data visualisation tools can help you transform data into insights and clear actions.  IBM Watson Analytics is a popular option with packages starting at £58.63 a month for professional users.

Alternatively, for a more customised view of your data, consider investing in a bespoke database that enables multiple users to simultaneously access and process live data and offers real-time reporting and data analysis from intuitive user interfaces – no more hours spent trying to extract meaningful information.