TUESDAY, April 16, 2024

Five tech trends to watch for SMEs to succeed and scale in 2024

Five tech trends to watch for SMEs to succeed and scale in 2024

Technology is moving faster than most people can keep up. Just recently, the rapid onset of AI and GenAI have enacted seismic change, potentially transforming how we live and work.

For business owners and entrepreneurs, the ubiquity of emergent tech means a constant need for fast decision-making on the right course of action. It’s not just business. We all experience some level of tech anxiety personally or professionally day-to-day. Even digital natives like Gen Z – who have grown up knowing nothing else – are driving trends that hark back to a more analogue age
Five tech trends to watch for SMEs to succeed and scale in 2024

SMEs everywhere must focus on finding tech solutions to make running their business easier and help them tap into new revenue opportunities. When it comes to technology, businesses today need to prioritize three major areas: 

•    Identify the right tech to adopt – pinpointing the solutions that can deliver the most value is key with so much out there.

•    Reduce the risk of being left behind by digital advancements – this can seriously impact growth and business longevity.

•    Invest in the right business infrastructure. This means creating a solid foundation for long-term tech integration – including IT support, software, and skilled employees.

Crucially, businesses today need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to tech. No business is the same, and strategies need to be individual and tailored. With so much on offer, SMEs who are bold, agile, and creative when it comes to tech will benefit most now and in the future.

Despite the need for a custom approach, there are some tech trends that every business should pay attention to, regardless of their size or model. In this fast-moving environment, here are 5 trends SMEs should focus on for a smarter tech strategy in 2024: 

1. Cementing a strategy for AI will be key for businesses in 2024

GenAI's 2023 detonation surprised the world. There has been time to review and educate stakeholders on the pros and cons of AI and GenAI utilization. Business leaders must decide whether and how to embrace AI in 2024. More companies will create AI policies, frameworks, guidelines, and governance in the coming year.

Guide to SME: Laying the groundwork for this now will pay off later. Set explicit AI adoption and risk parameters to align business-wide policy and strategy.

2. Climate tech - and technology that drives sustainable operations - will be front and centre

Small businesses and corporations prioritize software that maps energy or emissions reduction, uses data and IoT sensors, and guides them toward more sustainable practices. This will be even more important to climate solutions in 2024, leading to more financing, interest, and adoption. This market for tech solutions will also become more competitive.

Guide to SME: Both entrepreneurs working on climate-tech solutions and SMEs aiming to adopt sustainable tech to run the business more responsibly will be an important area of focus and opportunity for many SMEs this year.

3. Tech will play an even more crucial role in helping deliver superior customer experiences in 2024

Tech-assisted customer service is growing quickly, raising consumer expectations. To beat competitors and win consumer loyalty. In 2024, organizations will invest heavily in customer experience, from AI chatbots to advanced data analytics around the purchase and delivery route.

Guide to SME: SME growth and operations strategy should prioritize customer experience. Companies have invested differently in a customer service tech. Consumers will see the gap more in 2024 and beyond. If SMEs don't scale up, they may lose out.

4. From security to software stacks, the role of IT will evolve in 2024 

IT departments have their work cut out for them in 2024. Companies require more sophisticated IT and tech strategies than ever, including cybersecurity, IT solutions, and more. This year, IT will matter more for keeping up with tech changes, enabling hybrid working, and choosing software that affects business income.

Guide to SME: Small businesses and startups can't always afford an IT department. Therefore, owners or one TechSpot may handle IT. If so, SMEs should hire digitally-minded people who can advise on business-enhancing IT initiatives.

5. The ability to harness real-time data will continue to prove its worth in 2024

At FedEx, we’ve been advocates for the value of owning and leveraging real-time data for decades. This allows businesses to assess delivery patterns and consumer trends, track crucial and time-sensitive goods, and plan for adverse weather. With GenAI adoption, the power of real-time data is becoming more widely known. The use of obsolete data in mission-critical judgments is a concern for GenAI. Hyperscalers, huge cloud service providers, will tip the scale in 2024. These AI models will transform analytics by allowing real-time data fine-tuning.

Guide to SME: For SMEs, This can improve business solution speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness and provide crucial customer insights while improving customer experience and strengthening your business.

Five tech trends to watch for SMEs to succeed and scale in 2024

Tech changes swiftly. SMEs may need to update their software or tactics to succeed and scale in 2024. If your company's tech and digitalization have advanced, you don't need to make hasty decisions or throw out working tech stacks. Consider modest tweaks or adding one new tool that adds the most value. Every solid business strategy in 2024 will include technology, whether you're a tech leader or beginning from scratch. 

Kawal Preet, the president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) region, FedEx Express

Five tech trends to watch for SMEs to succeed and scale in 2024