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2017 is almost upon us. Time for a fresh start and a refreshed take on your business. With new business ideas come new technologies to make our lives easier. Whether it’s a game-changing software, or updates and bug fixes, it’s time to start planning what technology stays in 2016 and what moves forward with your business. Here are the top five technology trends you should expect in 2017:

1. Mobile Mania

You’ve already seen it happening. We depend on our phones more and more for a variety of tasks. Mobile banking, mobile emailing, and mobile conferencing are among the many uses our mobile phones have to us. When it comes to customers, many now prefer to shop using an app or a mobile site for easier access.By 2017, it is estimated that 70% of a store’s online business will be generated through mobile apps. But stores aren’t the only businesses that should have an app. In fact, 2017 may be the year when mobile accessibility becomes a requirement for businesses to succeed.

Prepare for the shift by researching the best apps in your industry and taking note of what they are doing right. Then, think of investing in your own mobile options. You may find that there is a perfect fit for your business just waiting to be integrated.

2. Cloud is the new norm

If you’re a regular reader, you know how adamantly we recommend cloud-based telephone services for the workplace. Well, that’s not the only thing moving to the cloud in 2017.  Almost all data concerning your business should be backed up onto a cloud software - whether it’s Google Docs or OneNote or Dropbox. If you aren’t using the cloud, then you’re among only 5% of most businesses. It’s time to join the majority.

Switching over to a cloud-based service is easy with the help of the right people. Your cloud service provider, or a company like Sonoran Integrations can provide the transition service for a low cost. With a cloud service, you won’t need monthly maintenance, because it’s usually included in your package, and you won’t have any bulky equipment in your office to set up. The cloud may be the easiest transition you make in the new year.

3. Virtual workforce

In 2015, a study done by Virgin Media Business stated that, by 2022, 60% of office based workers will regularly work from home. While a virtual workforce may not sound right for your business, you can make it easier with cloud-based phones and productivity software like Slack and Trello (or the new integrated system by Asana). Shifting to remote work can break down the barriers of geography and open up the potential talent pool to include many more exceptional workers who may prefer to work from home. We predict that, in 2017, there will be even more technologies that will allow for an easier transition to a virtual workforce.

Start looking into productivity software and integrating virtual practices into your workflow. When your employees take a sick day, encourage them to stay up to date by using the program and getting some of their work done from home so they don’t fall behind. Invest in cloud-based phone systems so your employees can keep up with their work when traveling or when running errands for the office. All this will make it easier to let your employees take a few days out of the week to work from home.

4. Automated marketing

New software is surfacing that helps businesses automate their marketing. That means small businesses don’t need to hire a marketing expert or agency to conduct comprehensive research and come up with a detailed plan. The software does it for you. Platforms like HubSpot handle everything from CRM to website optimization to funnel management. It’s everything a small business needs to thrive in an increasingly automated world.

Most platforms like HubSpot or Eloqua come with different pricing levels or plans that range from $200 a month to $2500 a month. It depends on the size of your business and how intricate you want the service to be.

5. New Payment Methods

Clients always expect the most efficient means to conducting business. That includes payment options. We’ve already seen the introduction of faster payment methods, whether it’s PayPal or Apple Pay, but in 2017, those options will most certainly expand. It is estimated that 11% of customers use their smartphones for in-store purchases. With a majority of the world using smartphones, that number is sure to grow over the next year.

Look into adopting Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and other payment options for your business. The more options you provide, the more sales you’ll generate.

If you need help with any of these technological changes, set up a consultation with an IT partner like Sonoran Integrations.

Let Sonoran Integrations help you grow your business and give you an advantage over all those companies stuck in the past.

Sonoran Integrations will provide you with a full evaluation of your communication and network systems. If you need help with your current telephone systems, whether switching, upgrading or troubleshooting, just give us a call!