2024’s top 6 technology trends for SMEs

person holding clear glass decor

person holding clear glass decorGenerative artificial intelligence (GenAI) was the standout tech trend of 2023, with tools such as ChatGPT and Dall-E making advanced AI available to everyone, from businesses to individuals. Will the hype settle in 2024, or will more capability be unlocked?

Our arena is the vibrant landscape of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across New Zealand, where the adrenaline rush of entrepreneurship meets the tact of technology.

Here’s our glimpse into the six tech waves we foresee, each promising to add a new rhythm to the heartbeat of modern business enterprises.

1. Supply Chain enlightenment

A robust, agile supply chain is critical for business success. Advanced ERP solutions based on AI and blockchain will help make complex networks much more transparent and resilient.

Many SMEs still work off inadequate systems, such as ancient legacy systems or spreadsheets. They don’t have stock visibility and can’t guarantee fulfilment – a serious business risk in volatile times.

Those who invest in technology that gives them transparency and real-time data will best position themselves to survive future volatility and take advantage of opportunities in 2024.

2. Cloud confluence

The cloud isn’t just a data haven, it’s the crucible where modern business strategies are forged. As trust in cloud technology grows, SMEs can leap towards streamlined operations and data-driven decisions.

Gartner sees industry cloud platforms addressing industry-relevant outcomes by combining software, platform and infrastructure-as-a-service with composable capabilities. This composability will give businesses the adaptability and agility to respond to disruption.

3. The pulse of precision

The world is inundated with data. Collecting it is easy, but storing, sorting and processing it remains challenging. Precision is needed for data to be useful, with real-time analytics and insightful data processing.

Cloud-based solutions are ideal for SMEs to manage it, providing data privacy compliance, higher security, and centralising information so it’s accessible and can be used to generate valuable insights. This ensures every decision made is not just timely but astute.

4. Capital clarity

Clarity over costs and financial forecasting remains a major headache for many SMEs. Research shows that managing cashflow is a top priority for 85 percent of small business owners. But to reach the next stage of growth, they need certainty and complete transparency in their operations.

2024 will see a surge in SMEs adopting ERP software that takes a much more holistic approach than a basic accounting package. Having real-time clarity around their financial position with accurate future projections will make it much easier to undergo digital transformation, plan expansion into new markets and access external investment.

5. Mobile momentum in warehousing

Mobility is not a luxury but the lifeblood of modern warehousing and inventory operations. Warehouses play a critical role in supply chain, bridging the gap between production and distribution. They’re essential to providing a good customer service.

To ensure a seamless supply chain, warehouses need to be as efficient and agile as possible while also keeping a cap on costs. The way to do this is with mobile tools, where key operational tasks can be executed with a tap, swipe, and scroll.

Real-time data is critical in a sector with increasing automation and robotics.

6. GenAI: the creative catalyst

GenAI is still going to be a top trend of 2024. As its potential unfolds, it’s poised to become the creative catalyst in the business arena.

For SMEs, this means a universe where data doesn’t just inform but inspires, leading to innovative product designs, optimised operational models and personalised customer experiences.

A capability previously only accessible to the big end of town is now in the hands of the smallest startup. As Gartner observes: “business users will have ubiquitous access to knowledge and technical skills that wasn’t possible before, heralding a new wave of productivity.”

In 2024, successful businesses will not just ride the tech tide but be the tide. There is so much exciting potential out there, and SMEs equipped with the right tools and technology will be able to take advantage. GenAI, analytics, smart cloud solutions and mobility will take us into a realm of continuous innovation and creativity.

By Charlie Wood, CEO, Wiise

This article was first published by NZBusiness