Remaining technologically agile is an essential ingredient to the success of any business. And with the rapid convergence of mobile, telco and IT technologies over the past 5 years, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to streamline, maximise and innovate their IT capabilities.
Convergence also places additional demands on technology suppliers as the need for product diversification, increased expertise and innovation accelerates. End-users in the work place and consumers at home – are also having to adapt to this ‘new world’ where mobility (and flexibility) reigns supreme.
CEOs, CIOs and business leaders should look to the key IT trends predicted for 2018 and beyond, in order to prioritise their IT investment. And those of us working within the tech industry must also strive to understand the evolving needs of SMEs, in order to future-proof technology solutions.
One survey conducted by Computer Weekly shows that 2018 is set to be a year of growth for UK IT managers, with only 10% of organisations planning to reduce their IT budget and 56% looking to increase spending. Organisations looking to support SMEs with their ICT infrastructure are in a good position to capitalise on this growth and deliver technology that keeps up with the evolving tech landscape.
KEY TECHNOLOGY TRENDS FOR 2018 AND BEYOND
Experts are united in predicting the following ICT trends – all of which will materially impact the SME market – for the years 2018, 2019, 2020… and beyond.
• Mobility (mobile apps and technology ‘on the go’)
• Cloud services
• Big data
• Social business
• IoT (the ‘internet of things’)
The impact of these trends needs to be strongly considered and anticipated by business leaders and technology suppliers alike, as they will undoubtedly impact on end-users.
BE FLEXIBLE; BE EFFICIENT: BE MOBILE
Mobile devices and mobile technologies are quickly penetrating the market: technology that works ‘on the go’, from anywhere, on any device with an internet connection.
Consumers have long come to expect mobility from their technology solutions and now business users are tapping in to this broad phenomenon by leveraging mobile solutions to enhance efficiency and flexibility in the workplace too.
It is undisputed that access to modern technology (hardware AND software) improves business efficiency. This is evident today in the number of companies offering remote working solutions to their employees. A decade ago, home working seemed reserved for only the most senior executives or ‘on the road’ sales teams. HR departments would bestow them with a company car and a Blackberry, hope they had a printer and a broadband connection at home, and away they went. For everyone else, working from home was unthinkable. Thankfully in recent years, more and more businesses have adopted a flexible and agile approach to mobile working, often built around cloud-based solutions.
However, there is still a disconnect between the basic remote working tools most employers offer their employees – and the more technologically advanced solutions that are available in the market today. Solutions like unified communications with enterprise telephony, cloud-based Office 365 from Microsoft or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are game changers for small businesses and it is the job of CIOs and third party ICT suppliers to demonstrate the benefits of these solutions.
Easier financial access
One barrier to implementing the latest, most efficient mobility solutions is a perception from small businesses that the professional services costs associated with a roll-out – and the capital expenditure for new equipment – would be prohibitive. This is not the case as many devices are now available to lease with services available on subscription – the opex model itself is a key ICT trend we can expect to see more of in 2018 and beyond.
Operating in this way removes the need for capital expenditure for hardware, making it possible for SMEs to implement the latest technology solutions. And in doing so, they can offer their workforce solutions that are truly mobile.
Book a no-obligation 'Discovery Session' with inTec Business Solutions today and let us provide you with a Technology Strategy that makes best use of your existing systems, while ensuring you have a clear plan for development and improvement.
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