If you want to stay competitive, you must embrace the technologies that empower customers and staff to be efficient and effective in an increasingly “on demand” world.

With the act of cleaning such an “old school” physical activity, seeing truly innovative technological additions in only the past couple of decades, it’s easy for business owners to overlook the rise of – no the essential role of information technology in operating and growing their business. As best-selling author Daniel Burrus so clearly states, “If you don’t use these technologies to create a competitive advantage, someone else will.”

[EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250]Burrus shares the first twelve game-changing technologies, with the admonition that “Over the next five short years the following game-changing technologies will transform how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, educate, train, innovate, and much more.”

  1. Big Data Gets Bigger and Becomes a Service: just as businesses automatically subscribe to and pay for telephone, internet, and digital communication services, so will they come to think of the collection of data integration and analysis services as standard rather than innovative.
  2. Cloud Computing Gets Personal and Advanced Cloud Services: we’re already seeing the move from locally installed business “software” (like scheduling software and accounting software) to online business services – aka cloud computing. And cloud computing is getting more advanced and more secure by the day.
  3. On-demand Services: companies providing “as-a-Service” opportunities are making access to powerful programs and cutting-edge technology faster and easier, which means you can get your new business process up and running faster. This makes realizing an ROI potentially faster and stronger.
  4. Virtualization of Storage, Desktops, Applications, and Networking: as cloud security continues to improve, no longer will local memory and storage or shared access to common documents be a problem…it’ll all be virtual.
  5. Consumerization of IT: as with all aspects of business, consumers drive innovation. This has led to the “consumerization” of business applications, making access and connection to their services easier for consumers to control (or at least think they are controlling).
  6. Wear Your Own Device (WYOD): you’ve seen it or at least a commercial for it – the smart watch, the fitbit, and more. All of the WYOD movement is designed to make information and access even easier, faster, and everywhere. Businesses NOT implementing this internally will find customers walking away because they can’t get the answers they want, not necessarily because they don’t like the service any more.
  7. Gameification of Training and Education: the youngest generation of the workforce – regardless of the industry – grew up learning through video games. The business owner who sees the value in training and education would be wise to seek ways to incorporate entertainment value into their training procedures and knowledge certifications if she wants the worker to retain and implement that information or procedure.
  8. Online Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC): We’re already seeing the move to make industry-specific education available online through IEHA certifications and several residential cleaning training and education opportunities offered only online through live or recorded classes. The reduction of physical borders and travel expenses in favor of professionalizing an industry is made possible through online learning (aka e-learning).
  9. eBooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines and Interactive Multimedia eTextbooks: notice an eTrend? Nearly every cleaning industry publication has reduced their print and increased their digital publication, to the extent that the newest publications are only digital. This makes it easier, faster, and usually cheaper to access quality information.
  10. Social Business Applications: the merging of social media with marketing media is in progress and evolving daily. You see it in the ease of “sharing” an article to multiple communities – right on this page even, you can Like, Post, Share, Tweet, Link, Google +1 and more.
  11. Smart Phones & Tablets Get Smarter: “phone” means so much more than a calling device, and the sooner you “get” that, the easier it will be for you think about how it not only fits into your business but is essential. Even something as simple as the bump app can empower an in-home estimator to share business information with and collect client information at the same time – with just a light bump between smart phones.
  12. Mobile Apps for Business Processes: If you’ve ever wished there was an app for that, then it’s likely your current customers have asked the same question of your services. Consider what information and customer service processes you can make available to them at their fingertips.

Remember, you don’t have to like technology, but you do have to recognize that your customers do. If you want to continue being the competitive business you are today, you’ll want to at least keep up…never lag behind technology.

Read the full article at LinkedIn.com.