The modern workplace increasingly relies on IT Services and the outsourcing of business responsibilities to help them support and grow their organisations. The past 12 months have not been an easy time for businesses of any size, especially SMEs. External pressures have put demands on finances and stretched organisational resources to the maximum.
Questions around efficiency, security and how to add value to the business have taken a priority. In this digital world we must work ever-more strategically and collaboratively to make the most of restrained resources and staffing levels. It is against this backdrop that we ask, what can we expect from the IT Services industry in 2023 and the months and years ahead in terms of new trends?
Cloud Migration: One trend we have seen develop in recent years that shows no signs of slowing is SMEs moving more of their work, services, and processes into the public cloud. Eurostat states that the use of cloud computing amongst European SMEs increased by 5% from 2020 to 2021, with 41% of EU organisations using public cloud services in some form, mostly for hosting their email systems and storing files in electronic form.
This is a trend we shall continue to see steadily rise. For many of our clients this has entailed moving to the Microsoft 365 public cloud, which for the SME business is by far the dominant player in the market.
Remote working growth: The continued shift of workloads, processes, and data to the cloud and on-premises infrastructures has enabled businesses to offer more of a hybrid work environment to their employees.
Hybrid working will continue to be popular as it offers greater flexibility and more control to employees not only in where they work, but also how they fulfil their duties. SMEs need to have first class IT to support the new generation of workers who are more technology savvy and demanding than before. This will be key to hiring and retaining the best staff possible. By having the right technology infrastructure in place, organisations are creating a value proposition, especially for the younger generation entering the workforce.
Security at all costs: As more information than ever is being held in the public cloud, businesses need to think about data protection. This includes protection from the obvious things like antivirus, malware, and other cybersecurity related software, but should also include having a rigorous backup policy in place, as public cloud providers do not always back data up – the onus is on the business to carry this out.
As a result, education around data security and the need for ongoing support will be a vital trend next year.
As costs come under more scrutiny, businesses will be looking to save money in all areas. We are predicting that one area organisations may look to reduce spending is around security. However, this would be a poor choice for any organisation to make. One serious data breach or hack can render a business redundant and shut down. Statistics show that 60% of small businesses are believed to close within six months of a serious cyber-attack.
As with education around the benefits of security, we believe that IT service providers need to better articulate the value of security products to their clients. Only by becoming more sophisticated around how we demonstrate and present back to clients the value of our products and services can we tell a full story. This will become an important trend going forward.
The automation of data: A trend we expect to escalate in 2023 is increased data management, as provided by the Microsoft Power BI platform. This is a business intelligence platform providing nontechnical business users with tools for aggregating, analysing, visualising, and sharing data. Until recently it has been the preserve of enterprises and mid-market organisations, but we are now starting to see smaller businesses taking full advantage. Working either with IT services partners, or potentially doing the work themselves, small businesses are starting to produce management information that is valuable to their business.
The automation of processes within an organisation will also continue to be a trend in 2023. We are seeing a push to increasingly automate processes, not just to streamline laborious tasks, but to add additional efficiencies into the workflow. With the financial pressures being faced by organisations of all sizes, automation can also help reduce running costs.
Voice over IP: IP Telephony is a trend we expect to see a great deal of momentum around in 2023. This is because Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) no longer meet the needs of users in our ever-more digital world. As a result, ISDN will be decommissioned in 2025, creating opportunities for IT service providers to offer Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications solutions and Unified Communications to their clients.
For those who start to think about moving to IP Telephony later, there may well be issues around scarcity of resources, as well as people able to carry out the work. We are already deep in discussions with many organisations looking to make the switch, but for many others there is still a great deal of education to be carried out around the benefits, as well as the necessity, around switching sooner rather than later.
This means working with the right Technology partner to make sure that the strategy is delivered, managed, and maintained in the most cost-effective and beneficial way possible.
If you would like to know more about how Sharp is helping businesses of all sizes enhance business priorities through the use of managed services, please Get in Touch.