The strength and flexibility proven by the IT industry over these past three years of dramatic uncertainty is translating into a general sense of renewed optimism among small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Despite inflation, economic uncertainties, geopolitical unrest and fears of a recession, many businesses are looking toward 2023 with a sense of cautious optimism. This means the SMB Community will continue to invest in proven technology solutions with a risk conscious approach.
Here is how we see technology trends unfolding in 2023.
Doubling Down on Cloud Technology
Moving to cloud technology isn’t a new concept for the SMB Community; in fact, it’s been part of the foundational plan for many years, accelerated by the global pandemic and the shift to remote and hybrid work. However, as the business landscape continues to shift, SMB leaders will invest more in cloud solutions. These solutions will accommodate a flexible workforce and serve clients and customers better. Cloud solutions are flexible, scalable, and adaptable. In 2023 many SMB owners will integrate cloud IT into their business operations, doubling down on this proven IT investment rather than spending on unproven emerging technologies.
The SMB community is still the favored target of hackers and cybercriminals because they are less likely to enact safeguards and educate their employees, which makes cybercrime much more difficult.
Increasing members of the SMB Community realize the need to take cybersecurity more seriously in 2023. One poll of small business owners found that half of respondents believe a cybersecurity incident will disrupt their business in the coming year. In anticipation, SMB owners are adopting a zero-trust cybersecurity policy. “Zero trust” is an approach to security based on the idea of never trusting, always verifying.
Technology that enables a zero-trust approach includes multi-factor authentication (or at least two-factor authentication), SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) and SSO (Single Sign On). SAML enables someone to access multiple web applications using one set of login credentials. It works by passing authentication information in a particular format between two parties, usually an identity provider and a web application. SSO is a session and user authentication service that allows someone to use one set of login credentials -- for example, a username and password -- to access multiple applications. SSO is used by enterprises, small and midsize organizations, and individuals to ease the management of multiple credentials.
Creating A Sustainability Posture
Driven by consumer demand, the SMB community is beginning to feel the pressure from clients and customers who are raising awareness about the importance of protecting the planet and sustaining resources for future generations. The growing trend across sustainability efforts helps attract investors, build customer loyalty, improve financial performance and make business operations sustainable. Large organizations have already adopted a sustainability posture and we expect the trend to continue, affecting the SMB Community in increasing ways.
Becoming More Mobile Friendly
With mobile networks getting faster and the benefits of a 5G network expanding, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will increasingly become the personal and professional device of choice for clients and consumers. The SMB Community will see the benefits of integrating “business mobile” into their operations, whether to serve customers, collaborate or communicate more effectively. The SMB Community can harness a broad variety of mobile applications, injecting optimization, communication with customers via text and relaying information in more direct form.
Adopting Software Integrations
As business owners look to reduce costs and increase productivity, they are turning to built-in software integrations and platforms that allow them to automate business workflows and tasks. A growing number of “low-code” tools and applications are making such automation accessible to even the smallest businesses. According to Gartner, spending on low-code application platforms is expected to rise 25% in 2023, and we see those tools used by people outside of IT roles to build applications that automate business processes.
Investing in Digital Collaboration
Now that it’s clear that remote and hybrid work environments aren’t short-term fixes, more small businesses with employees who work remotely some or all the time will invest in more robust technologies that help their teams more effectively collaborate and get the information they need.
Employee experience is becoming a bigger priority as small companies struggle to hire and keep employees. The right solutions can enhance the employee experience by allowing all employees to connect and collaborate more seamlessly. This can include everything from remote employee onboarding and employee intranet platforms to project-management and workflow tools to all-in-one voice, video and text communication platforms. Collaboration tools, well beyond Zoom and Microsoft Teams, will appear in 2023, aimed directly at the SMB Community.
Do you want to maximize and support your company’s growing technology needs? Roark Tech Services offers personalized technology services and support. Roark Tech Services is an expert in fit-for-purpose technology solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses. Always consult with us first. If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.