Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) continue to drive the technology trends that the business world examines to gain understanding of how the shifting landscape will affect commerce.
As we launch into Q4 and draw closer to beginning 2023, the SMB trends to keep an eye on are:
Despite the fading mandates left over from the pandemic, SMBs must continue to focus on IT solutions that will help manage a workforce that wants to keep remote work a staple in their work-life balance. Hybrid work continues to drive innovation in the IT space, including collaboration tools, security services and VOIP (Voice Over IP) solutions.
Although some SMB employees are returning to the office, many continue to work remotely at least some of the work week. This consequence of the pandemic is not likely to wane any time soon and is forcing SMBs to invest more in the solutions that accommodate this trend in a safe and productive manner. Attracting talent now requires agreement on the remote work policy of the company before a candidate will accept a position. SMBs are forced to ensure their IT setup accommodates these needs to attract & keep talent and remain competitive.
Collaboration tools are becoming a “must have” for SMBs as they increase their reliance on centralized management of files, chat, video meeting and communications. Absent these solutions, employees working remotely can drift into silos that erode team cohesion. As such, the collaboration space is now highly competitive, with all the top vendors working to improve their offerings. SMBs also understand that with people working from home even one day a week, the weak link in security could be that person’s remote setup. SMBs must continue to invest in their network setup and employee remote equipment. Expect to see increased demand for managed networking solutions that support multiple sites and supply IT support for remote employees.
SMBs remain the prime target of cyber criminals, for several reasons SMBs will continue to invest in cybersecurity solutions that help their workforce stay protected, no matter where they work from. To satisfy growing concerns from clients and customers, SMBs must prove their efforts to mitigate risk. This includes the risk of data breaches and ransomware attacks. The hybrid working environment makes this more complex because employee devices are no longer in a central location; they can login to the company network from anywhere, using unsecured routers and internet access points. As a result, the SMB trend to ensure employees work securely will continue as they demand better solutions from their Managed Service Providers (MSP).
Many SMBs are recognizing the importance of employee cybersecurity awareness training to mitigate cybercrime and show clients the serious approach they take to the growing problem. Years ago, formal training was not something SMBs needed, but in today’s environment, many are seeking cost-effective solutions that allow regular and comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training for small teams.
SMBs are also adopting formal business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) solutions to mitigate data security risks and demanding more managed security solutions from their MSPs. Cybersecurity will continue as a top priority for many SMBs in 2023. It’s all about showing clients, customers and state regulators that a business takes cybersecurity seriously.
SMBs continue to explore advanced solutions that were once thought of as only within the grasp of large organizations. These solutions include AI-powered tools. Although many SMBs currently lack understanding of how AI (Artificial Intelligence) can directly affect their business in a practical manner, they are aware that AI-enabled tools are becoming more abundant and whether realized or not, AI is all around.
Every time a customer finds a business through a social media feed, asks Siri for the weather, conducts a Google search, gets a product recommendation from Amazon or sets up travel online, AI is in the background. AI-powered solutions are becoming more affordable and readily available to the SMB community. Right now, most AI solutions for SMBs focus on cybersecurity, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), HR, collaboration and accounting solutions that cut manual processes and boost operational efficiencies.
We expect Imaging and video will start to become mainstream business tools for SMBs in the coming years for sales, marketing and operations functions. SMBs will continue the trend of making their customer experience as frictionless as possible and are starting to adopt AI enabled tools as a part of their strategy.
SMBs are beginning to adopt technology solutions at a faster rate, a trend that started years ago, but is rapidly picking up stream. The reason is rooted in the need for solutions that will allow them to manage their people, security and performance more efficiently. The goals beyond this adoption are focused on deploying IT solutions that enable them to remain resilient and agile as they grow their organizations. With their growth trends, SMBs will start looking more like large enterprises with their IT profiles as sophisticated solutions become more mainstream.
Roark Tech Services keeps a close eye on SMB trends to ensure our clients remain well positioned to take advantage of emerging technology solutions and reach the next level of technology adoption.
Established in 1998, Roark Tech Services is a boutique firm that provides performance-focused, fit-for-purpose solutions to select organizations. We limit the number of clients we take on, carefully selecting only those that guarantee our ability to supply unmatched quality and response time. We take pride in the personal relationships we establish with our clients and consider it an essential part of the service we offer.
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.