Technological advancements don’t stop for anything, including Covid-19. During 2020, innovators kept testing and iterating, pushing technology farther ahead despite the pandemic. Though your business may have scaled back on spending a ton on tech last year, you’ll need an upgrade soon.
What’s the risk of sticking to what works? Quite honestly, most things we use (especially tech) won’t work forever.
Even your legacy software is bound to turn clunky, no matter how well it seems to meet your current needs. That’s why it’s essential to start making changes now before your tech gets too old for a seamless transition.
If you’re not sure where to begin in terms of revitalizing your corporate technology, consider these seven suggestions.
1. Give Your Team the Fastest Internet Possible
Switching Internet providers may not top your list of to-dos. It should be, though. Now is not the time for a snail’s pace online connection. Far too many businesses simply accept that their Internet will be ridiculously slow from time to time. Yet slow Internet has serious repercussions.
Case in point: Everyone’s experienced an arduous Zoom meeting with maddening lag times and freeze-ups. What kind of an impression do those interactions make on prospective clients or talented job candidates? What does a slow connection do to your own employees? And downloads that take forever or ones that stall? They’re cutting into profits.
Consequently, whether your team is remote, in-house, or a mix of the two, your employees, clients and prospects need high speed Internet.
2. Move All Collaboration to the Cloud
Teleworking doesn’t raise eyebrows anymore. But is your company getting it right or still merely getting by? Consider your collaboration efforts for a moment. Is it easy for colleagues to share documents and information? Or do they have to take extra steps to get each other key data?
Minutes matter, especially for sales and customer experience professionals. Forcing a frustrated consumer to wait because your employees can’t find what they need isn’t acceptable. Customer behavior has changed radically, and patience (let alone loyalty) isn’t high on buyers’ priorities.
Migrating all your sharing platforms to a centralized, cloud-based location can take away barriers to wooing and keeping customers.
3. Think Contactless Whenever Possible
People are hesitant to have too much contact with one another, given the cyclical rates of Covid spread. Technology can help your company provide safer interfaces between coworkers and the community members you serve. How? The answer is through contactless and minimal contact touchpoints.
Brainstorm the ways your organization could use technological gadgets or solutions to decrease the need for physical exchanges. For instance, you might embrace contactless payment options, no matter if you’re B2B or B2C.
Could you focus on some type of self-service model? How about installing no-touch scanners that read employees’ and visitors’ body temperatures upon entering the building? Leveraging innovations creatively keeps everyone secure and feeling like your organization is ahead of the curve.
4. Standardize Tech Equipment
You can update all the systems you want, it’s true. However, if your employees are working on older equipment, they won’t necessarily get the benefits. As a result, you may want to go all-in and revamp everyone’s tech “tool chest.”
A tech-type investment levels the playing field in a hurry. No longer will one coworker be forced to deal with an eight-year-old PC while another uses a newer Apple laptop. You should see a bump in productivity rapidly after ensuring everyone has the same tech (plus, employees find new things in the tech and teach each other — bonus training!).
Also, you’ll know that your workers aren’t relying on their personal devices, which can put your proprietary data at risk.
5. Invest in a Strong Cybersecurity System
Right now, cyber thieves are having a field day. Many companies with remote teams haven’t completely figured out how to lock down and protect their systems. Consequently, they’re creating large security gaps that career hackers are exploiting en masse.
A data breach, especially of sensitive customer or employee data, isn’t something to take lightly. In fact, it can quickly become a public relations nightmare that chews up your resources to resolve. Therefore, your tech stack should include the strongest cybersecurity protection you can afford. You don’t have to overspend, of course. Nevertheless, take online security seriously and find a tech partner you can trust to protect your digital assets.
6. Automate with AI
AI has revolutionized what’s possible for businesses, including the reduction of redundant tasks. Thanks to tremendous scaling, AI-powered software is an affordable choice for companies of all sizes, including startups.
Where should you use AI? Start with your customer relations in the form of automated chatbots. Then, move to anything from AI-enhanced social listening to curation and analysis of key customer data. You’ll achieve more without having to overburden your employees, who may already be feeling the prior 12 months’ stress.
7. Use Team Collaboration Tools
When your company moved to virtual working, did you start texting like crazy? Regular texting has its benefits: It’s quick and fairly intuitive. Nonetheless, you’re risking a secure text being inadvertently sent by a worker to a non-employee. Plus, normal texting doesn’t keep all your corporate communications in one place.
To keep communication in one place you’ll use a service like Slack. Though it might seem strange to move everyone to a specialized app — you’ll see the difference rapidly. A solution like Slack allows you to add channels, categorize texts, and do more than you can with basic texting. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked and so will your employees.
If you vow to complete one business-related resolution this year, make sure it’s to revitalize your technology. It’s worth paying a little more each month to stay competitive and wow the world. You’ll want to wow the world in 2021.
Image Credit: gabby k; pexels; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!