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Expectations around technology have risen fast these past few years. For small businesses, staying competitive and accessible has meant making strategic choices. As they’ve felt the pinch, they’ve had to ask themselves which demands to prioritize and with how much of their budget.
In 2023, the technology available to small businesses will grow, as will the need to acquire new digital and technological capabilities.
It will continue to be a matter of deciding what’s best for your company’s needs. The most informed choices will come out of:
The most glaring truth about 2023? Small businesses will need to dream big.
Capabilities that only made sense for large enterprises five years ago are now essential to operating a business of nearly any size. According to a Forbes panel, small businesses need to consider big business systems and processes. And all businesses must work to get the most out of today’s technologies, especially those customers use and prefer.
Fortunately, this continuous wave of technology innovation and Cloud-based services has also driven down the upfront cost of “big” tech.
Gartner released a report of top technology trends for 2023 at an enterprise level. If small businesses need to think big, this is a good starting point —but it doesn’t mean all these strategies should go on your list today.
The report segments these trends by the goals they accomplish:
To help you make the best, most practical decisions for your business, we put together a brief analysis of trends businesses are buzzing about right now. If you’d like to discuss your business goals for 2023 and which technologies will help you reach them efficiently and deliver the greatest ROI, we’re here to help.
These are basic must-haves. Small businesses need to make every effort to leverage Cloud services and digital capabilities where possible. The Cloud is the ultimate enabler for all technology trends set to solidify in 2023. And advanced digital capabilities mean you can improve your digital presence and experience for customers and employees— and deliver what they now expect.
For many small businesses, out-of-the-box Cloud services have the right functionality set, and a great partner can help them maximize their investment. However, Gartner forecasts that industry-specific Cloud platforms will become more of a trend in 2023 for enterprises. With these, the services a company might need are “pre-integrated and customizable” to be relevant to their industry. An experienced partner can help you make the right decisions for your business, such as whether an out-of-the-box solution coupled with industry-specific independent software vendor (ISV) solutions would be most effective and cost-efficient.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and automation are now more approachable technologies for small businesses. All three can be used in both physical and digital capacities to improve efficiency in your operations and customer service. They can also be used to enhance the digital experiences you’re already creating with the Cloud and other technologies.
In the 2023 Trends report, Gartner highlights the importance of “AI Trust, Risk and Security Management”, which they convert to the acronym AI TRiSM. Gartner emphasizes that if a business is going to use these intelligent technologies, they must have a model in place that addresses AI-related security management concerns.
“AI TRiSM supports AI model governance, trustworthiness, fairness, reliability, robustness, efficacy and privacy,” the report explains. “It includes solutions, techniques and processes for model interpretability and explainability, AI privacy, model operations and adversarial attack resistance.”
In 2023, small businesses that aren’t already actualizing on their data should make this a priority. And those that are turning their data into actionable insights need to deepen their sophistication.
Analytics can be a driving force for greater efficiency, improved decision-making and more accurate forecasting in practically every area of a company’s operations. It can provide insight into your own processes; your customers’ needs and expectations, and more. Perhaps most importantly, advanced analytics, like predictive analytics, allow you to forecast trends that will be consequential to your bottom line.
In the trends report, Gartner refers to such use of data and analytics as “Applied Observability”. The report defines this as “the applied use of observable data in a highly orchestrated and integrated approach across business functions, applications and infrastructure and operations teams to enable the shortest latency from action to reaction and proactive planning of business decisions.”
Cybersecurity isn’t likely to fall off the list of important trends for years to come. All businesses must take care to match their security measures to their vulnerabilities, especially as those vulnerabilities change when new technology is introduced or there is an infrastructure change.
Gartner touches on this in their discussion of the need to strengthen what they call a “Digital Immune System”. This term simply defines the combination of practices and technologies a business uses to make the infrastructure they use secure and resilient. According to Gartner, a Digital Immune System “provides a model to prepare your organization to mitigate potential risks and uses failures as learning opportunities to create a superior customer and user experience that is resilient to failure.”
The start of 2023 put SMB’s above large enterprises in the overall hacker attacks. This now means that YOU are the #1 next target.
Such initiatives will demand intelligent technologies, such as AI and automation, as well as advanced analytics capabilities.
These growing areas in technology are not fads that will disappear in a year or two. They are trends that have made their mark on business and will continue to grow, developing into standard practices.
Each trend has varied levels of benefits for small businesses, and the degree to which you should follow them depends on your unique business requirements and goals. To back your decisions with confidence, and invest where it counts, it’s critical to work with technology experts who understand your industry and the solutions available to you.
Most leaders (76%) agree that partnering with an industry expert is important when making new tech decisions. (Gartner Peer Insights data)
Reach out to one of our experts to get the conversation started today, so you can put your focus on the technology that will have the greatest impact on your business.
As the Global Microsoft Solutions Evangelist, Robert is responsible for helping our clients with their end-to-end digital transformation journey within the Microsoft solutions and Cloud ecosystems. With over 20 years’ experience in the Microsoft channel – he helps our clients with Hybrid Cloud architectures, strategic and technical road-mapping, DevOps automation, Packaging, and deployment, navigating Microsoft App Source, partner relationships and more.