Is it even possible to predict the future when the present seems as stable as a unicycle? Not reliably. But if you’re a small business owner, then you must do your best to use all the information that’s at your disposal to secure as much competitive advantage as possible.
If there’s one thing that’s as clear today as it was five years ago, it’s the fact that organizations that fail to keep up with the IT curve find it much more difficult to compete than organizations that make smart information technology investments at the right time.
While nothing is set in stone, it’s becoming increasingly clear which IT challenges SMBs in 2022 will have to overcome. The sooner you acquaint yourself with them, the better prepared you’ll be when you eventually encounter them.
Challenge #1: Digital Transformation
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of digitalization for small businesses. Organizations that hadn’t, at least to some extent, embraced it before the pandemic quickly made it one of their top priorities.
In fact, early evidence from business surveys worldwide showed that up to 70 percent of SMBs had intensified their use of digital technologies due to COVID-19.
In 2022, the trend toward digitalization of business-to-consumer and business-to-business interactions will continue and permeate into virtually all areas of business, across all industries.
To successfully achieve their digital transformation objectives, organizations need to take approach their digital transformation journeys mindfully and realize that technology solutions are just one part of the story. Other key success factors include leadership and culture, employee engagement, and execution.
Challenge #2: Remote Work
According to Techaisle’s annual SMB and Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges, and Business Issues infographics remote work enablement has become either the second or third top IT priority for SMBs, depending upon the segment.
Despite social distancing measures gradually relaxing as we move closer and closer to 2022, many employees won’t return to their offices anytime soon. One survey performed by McKinsey & Co. and shared by Andrea Alexander, an associate partner at McKinsey, discovered that more than half of American office workers would like to work in a hybrid fashion, sometimes from their home offices and sometimes from the office.
To support the emerging hybrid work model and make collaboration between geographically dispersed employees possible, organizations should replace their legacy systems with cloud solutions, including software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) products.
Challenge #3: Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has been one of the top challenges for small and medium-sized organizations for years now, and nothing will change about that even in 2022. As a matter of fact, cybersecurity-related issues are likely only going to get worse before they get better.
Since last March, there has been an increase in the volume, severity, and scope of cyberattacks, according to 26 percent of the executives surveyed for the CSO Pandemic Impact Survey. The increase is caused by a combination of factors, including the global embrace of remote work arrangements and rapid migration to the cloud.
However, cyber threats such as phishing attacks, ransomware, and DDoS attacks, are just one part of the story. Organizations also have to deal with a variety of compliance requirements, many of which impose strict penalties for non-compliance.
Challenge #4: Cost Control
In 2017, IT expenditure of small-to-medium-sized businesses worldwide was $574 billion. In 2021, it’s estimated that it will reach $684 billion, and the number will almost certainly be even higher in 2022.
SMBs are actively looking for IT solutions that can help them achieve long-term sustainable growth without stretching their limited IT budgets too thin. But keeping IT costs under control is not an easy task, especially not without compromising cybersecurity in the process.
The good news is that there are several ways to reduce IT costs without making it easier for cybercriminals to get their hands on sensitive data. They include the prioritization of open source software over proprietary alternatives, the embrace of software and hardware inventory management best practices, and outsourcing to a managed services provider (MSP).
Challenge #5: Not Losing Focus
When a lot of change happens all at once, it’s easy for organizations to lose their focus as they desperately attempt to spin multiple plates simultaneously. The problem is made even worse by the ongoing IT talent shortage, which is making it incredibly difficult for SMBs to hire the IT employees they need to successfully complete their digital transformation goals.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative to building or expanding an existing IT department: outsourcing to an MSP. A managed service provider delivers IT services to a client based on a contractual, service-level agreement that states the performance and quality metrics of their relationship.
An organization that partners with a managed services provider can stay up-to-date on technology and enjoy access to expert skills without spending a lot of money to build and manage an in-house IT infrastructure.
At Aligned Technology Solutions, we offer a diverse portfolio of managed IT services and solutions that meet a wide range of needs. Contact us and let us help you overcome all IT challenges you may encounter in 2022.