With the start of a new year, companies are looking at what tech trends they need in order to stay a step ahead of the competition. From big data and smarter design to futuristic 3D printing, there are many impressive technology trends that are hitting the market and forcing businesses to pay attention or get lost in the shuffle. Here are several ways companies need to adjust their practices, policies and software due to top tech trends in 2016.6 tech trends to watch in 2016 to keep your business moving forward via @JTRiptonClick To Tweet
Offering the Experience
With the prevalence of online shopping and browsing, companies are finding it increasingly important to offer a unique experience in-store. Consider, for example, how many bookstores are pairing with coffee shops and offering impressive product displays and reading areas to stay relevant in a digital age. Companies should apply this experience-oriented mentality to their websites and apps, and then allow the online experience to intersect with the store experience. The digital tools of a company must feature a very intuitive design, paired with brand ambiance to give the user a better browsing experience than ever before. Just like the stores must compete to stay relevant, the web design can’t fall below par.
Improving Security
Of course, it wouldn’t even make sense to talk about important tech trends of 2016 without mentioning security. With even major brands like Chase Bank and Target experiencing cybersecurity breaches that affected many, companies are going to be more on edge about security than ever. Hackers are getting smarter, and top-level security is getting harder to offer cohesively on every level. Identity Theft Center reported 783 security fails in U.S. companies in 2014.
Experian noted that employees and negligence are the leading causes of security breaches, and this will likely continue in 2016 if businesses don’t tighten up their policies and management training. A 2014 study by SpectorSoft reported companies within the U.S. suffered $40 billion in losses due to unauthorized employee computer use.
Document Management, Integrating Paper and Digital
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Today, more information is being processed and stored than ever before. That information comes in paper and digital forms, and there are significant benefits to a smart document management strategy that integrates both. When you consider role of information in your organization, the documents that communicate that valuable data should be carefully managed – from content management systems to backup and recovery if emergencies happen.
The more information that is stored and organized in a way that’s accessible to the right people at the right times, the more companies can quickly help customers and maintain a competitive edge.
Simplifying the Payment Process
Customers are browsing and purchasing more online than ever before with their convenient and powerful mobile devices. Companies must continue to simplify their payment processes in 2016 to reduce all snags in their sales funnels. The fewer hoops users have to jump through to make a purchase decision, the higher their conversion rates.
Mega-companies like PayPal, Apple and Google are looking for solutions that make the payment process both effortless and secure. Some companies are even combining their online payment methods with their physical store records. This means customers would be able to browse in the brick and mortar store, then “buy now” via their smart phone with the touch of a button (accessing their stored payment information), and benefit from a purchase made without waiting on shipping or standing in line to check out.
Prepping for 3D
The printing press has layers now, and with its increasing affordability, it won’t be long before 3D printing becomes mainstream. Companies would be smart to start creating plans that allow customers to print their own replacement parts or add-ons to products. Businesses can offer more value at this early stage by getting on top of this up-and-coming trend.
Offering Personal Interaction Options
With so many consumers browsing online through their phones, companies should jump on the idea of including easy-to-access help within their apps. Both apps and mobile-optimized websites should include access to automated help, personal support, and contact information. Users will not want to have to switch applications or browse the full site when they are looking to connect with a company representative.
Let 2016 be the year for your company to connect with consumers like never before. Use these top technology trends and tips to become an industry leader. Above all, look for the specific ways that your company can offer value uniquely important to your target audience.

About the Author
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who has penned articles for The Guardian, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.com among others.
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