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6 Digital Innovations that Startups Need to Watch Out for in 2022

8 min read

2021 was a whirlwind year that forever changed the way we run our businesses. For starters, working remotely is now a widely accepted practice, even among traditional industries like banking, retail, and manufacturing.

It wasn’t that long ago when we all had to wake up early, commute for hours just to get to the office. But today, digital innovations are reimagining the way we work, play, socialize and invest.

In this article, we would like to discuss the 6 digital trends that every start-up company needs to watch out for in 2022. These may seem quite new – or unnecessary, even – but trust us, they are here to stay, and have the potential to completely change how we do things.

Let’s dive into them together, shall we?

1. Remote and Hybrid Are Here to Stay

Moving forward, it wouldn’t surprise me if more and more companies made the shift to a virtual workplace. With Covid-19 still prevalent, this setup will greatly reduce the risk of infections all around. At the same time, businesses can keep overhead costs at a minimum, which includes rent, utilities, and other maintenance expenses.

Of course, working remotely requires its own set of tools, and one of them is a VPN.

A Virtual Private Network provides users with a secure connection to communicate, share files, and pass along sensitive information. It reroutes all one’s activities across multiple proxy servers, so anyone outside your team won’t know who you are.

VPN services, particularly in a corporate setting, have been going on since the mid-90s. This helps increase their security against cyber attacks. Moving within your network – or intranet – ensures key company information is kept away from outsiders.

This has become even more essential because not all your employees are working from their own homes. Some prefer nestling in at a coffee shop or co-working space. Operating through a VPN maintains access to all programs and websites, even when traveling abroad, without compromising any key data. But if you suffer from constant internet speed delays, you can use VPN server location that can solve your problem and save you from constant delays.

If you’re still on the fence,  just do a quick cost-benefit analysis. Purchasing and maintaining a router-to-router setup won’t be too expensive, especially when considering its numerous features.

2. Personalization at Its Finest

Every organization has its own unique set of needs, most notably when maximizing productivity. Being in different places physically has made communication more challenging, not to mention keeping track of everyone’s whereabouts and their respective responsibilities.

Prioritizing task management in your business through specialized software, for instance, allows everyone to get on the same page. It organizes all necessary tasks within a certain timeframe, tracks progress, and even prioritizes them based on urgency. This way, team members can better plot out their days.

Asking for updates has been made easier, too. Most task management tools allow you to tag people, informing them that their input is needed. And if that’s not enough, an in-app chat room is usually included for team discussions. So, you no longer have to send messages over a secondary platform, keeping everything in just one location.

Moreover, recurring tasks like scheduling calls and extracting meeting links can be taxing. Rather than do it yourself, these programs can be calibrated for that purpose. They automatically send out summaries, notify you when deadlines are near, or there’s an upcoming gathering.

These can even be synced to your phone’s calendar or downloaded as a mobile application for increased portability.

But perhaps the best thing about utilizing task management tools is the customizability. Since they offer so many handy features, you may not even need them all. So, customization allows you to select only those functions that will help make your work easier.

You can likewise create templates beforehand, so starting new projects won’t be a hassle. This is, after all, meant to streamline processes and increase your team’s efficiency. Getting everyone together, despite working from different places, is certainly a step in the right direction to achieving those goals.

3. Accelerating Crypto, Blockchain, NFT, and More

Another trend that we’ve noticed is the popularization of investment apps, specifically for cryptocurrency. More and more people have moved their money from traditional stocks and bonds to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and NFTs and they’re also using a crypto heatmap to keep up with changes and updates.

Start-ups would be wise to keep an eye on crypto’s growth. Besides serving as another potential source of passive income, it’s also an opportunity for collaboration. Being in an ever-changing and highly-competitive industry, you’ve always got to be one step ahead of the curve.

One of the best things about investment apps is their low trading fees and simple user interfaces. Plus, AI tools like a robot advisor can provide beginner investors with guidance on where to park their money.

Crypto exchanges can also impart valuable nuggets of information. They share different educational resources, conduct training sessions, and carry out consultation services so everyone can understand how blockchain technology works.

Now more than ever, earning passive income through digital assets has never been easier. Just make sure you conduct due diligence and select the best investment apps for you.

Remember, choosing the best option is no longer just about who has the most features. Ultimately, it boils down to identifying your needs, evaluating what each site can offer, and finding the common ground between those two. Read also: How to Create an NFT Marketplace

4. Privacy Matters More than Ever

While technology has grown dramatically within the last few years, it’s not without its trade-offs. This accelerating growth is also coupled with an ongoing threat to user privacy. Since almost all our personal information is shared online, which includes contact details, search history, and buying trends, it can easily be accessed without us even knowing.

For instance, Apple and Google — two of the largest tech enterprises in our world today — have begun the move away from using third-party trackers. If you’ll remember, these are invisible snippets of code present on websites that map out a user’s online journey.

Third-party trackers use cookies to collect and analyze data on your preferences, before sending them to various other websites for marketing purposes. Although its role sounds very innocent, many Internet users have expressed concern over this practice. Gathering personal data without consent can trespass on a person’s privacy. Not to mention, the targeted ads can get very annoying.

To circumvent this issue, market research companies, for instance, have geared towards more natural strategies for collecting information. This also means that hyper-targeted user data will no longer be as accessible as before. As such, start-ups will have to pay big bucks to obtain it.

Another expected innovation we are expecting is the heightened level of security when logging into accounts. Rather than simply asking for one password, numerous websites are beginning to implement two-step authentication requiring one-time pins.

Incidents of hacking and cyber attacks are becoming more common. This measure is designed to protect your security by double, if not triple-checking your identity before granting entry. With this being a truly pressing issue, we are happy to see companies take positive measures towards this.

5. AI Growth and Continuous Rise of Automation

With man’s never-ending search for efficiency, Artificial Intelligence and automation have experienced relentless progress. Rather than spending more on wages and incentives, companies have shown a greater inclination to invest in software that completes menial tasks.

Marketing is one aspect in a business where this is felt, as more and more businesses are using automation to promote their products or services.

This can be seen in areas like managing client inquiries, arranging calls, accumulating customer details, and sending out emails. Through this shift, establishments are enjoying a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% decrease in marketing expenses.

Start-ups will want to take note of that.

With limited manpower and resources, companies are going to keep pushing to maximize efficiency. Implementing AI-related solutions gives your staff more time to focus on other more pressing tasks. At the same time, it helps them keep track of all their jobs, goals, and KPIs, to reach success faster.

At present, companies looking to make this move won’t need to spend thousands of dollars anymore. The demand for marketing automation has resulted in several programs being introduced that offer affordable monthly subscriptions, without missing out on any necessary features.

Most companies start with an all-in-one customer experience platform, which helps them build a stronger relationship with their target market through email campaigns and a sophisticated CRM dashboard. With the help of built-in AI features, they’ll be able to automate outreach, nurturing, and conversion.

6. Focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Strategies

Although this may seem like a foreign idea to some, ESG is pretty simple. It is a method of screening potential investments according to a set of criteria falling under the categories of environmental, social, and governance issues.

In this context, environmental refers to how environmentally friendly a particular business’ operations processes are. On the other hand, the social aspect measures the relationships built, both internally and externally. Finally, governance deals with a company’s culture, philosophies, leadership, and how well they abide by laws and regulations.

Corporations, not only financial institutes, are becoming increasingly mindful of this stand because it has a major effect on its overall value. Doing so will likewise improve the chances of enjoying a capital infusion from investors, or your business is sold.

Given the current landscape of commerce, digital innovations that reflect all these factors are more appealing. And one example we’d like to discuss today is that of banking services, which cater specifically to student bank accounts.

In recent years, banking institutions have devoted more of their attention to teens or young adults who are still in school. The main difference between student bank accounts and traditional bank accounts are the age requirements, low processing fees, and no maintaining balance.

For us, this is an ideal instance that illustrates ESG strategies through digital innovations. This initiative has helped banks develop stronger relationships with their clientele. It helps parents send money to their kids, especially since most offer digital solutions through a mobile app. This is on top of the several ATM locations, availability across several states, and excellent customer service.

That shift to a digital platform reflects caring for the environment, too. This has significantly reduced their reliance on paper products, altogether. Finally, although governance is very difficult to qualify, they generally are transparent when sharing all pertinent information.

Recapping 2022’s Digital Innovations

One reality that every company needs to come to grips with is that the business landscape is always changing. What we thought we knew before won’t necessarily be the case tomorrow. As such, it’s important to continue innovating, adapting, evolving.

Start-ups, in particular, must be mindful of the digital innovations that are trending up. Adopting these new tools will, among other things help your start-up to:

  • Simplify different operational processes
  • Increase credibility among clients
  • Boost communication channels
  • Keep up with and even outperform competitors
  • And most importantly, cut any unnecessary expenses

Since a start-up is a company that is still in its infancy stages, any advantages that you can get should be very much welcome. Finally, taking advantage of these 6 digital innovations can help you navigate through the unique challenges and opportunities of growing a business in this new normal.

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About The Author

Vikas Kalwani manages partnerships at uSERP and actively mentors portfolio companies of 500 Global. He is a product-led growth marketer and B2B marketing specialist skilled in SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing.

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